SF survived demolition of Embarcadero Freeway. Car free Great Highway is next


The following Letter to the Editor was published in the San Francisco Chronicle

Lee Heidhues – San Francisco

Regarding “Traffic puts Great Highway closure at risk” (Nov. 17): I applaud Heather Knight for reporting on the fight by cyclists and pedestrians to gain increased mobility.

The past seven months has seen the Great Highway, astride the Pacific Ocean, turn into a thoroughfare for cyclists, runners and pedestrians of all ages.

It is one of the best things that has happened to San Francisco in this cataclysmic 2020. I am shocked and disappointed that Supervisor Gordon Mar could think of reopening the Great Highway to cars, again. Particularly since he was the one who advocated for this move which sent a clear message to car owners.

Great Highway I 11.15.2020

They don’t rule the world. Let car owners engage in some new behaviors and stop complaining about having to go a bit out of their way.

Late unlamented Embarcadero Freeway.

When the Embarcadero Freeway in the eastern shore of San Francisco was irrevocably damaged in the October 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake it was torn down.

Embarcadero Freeway I 11.19.2020.jpg

Embarcadero Freeway III 11.19.2020.jpg

The Embarcadero – Then and now.


The blight on the beauty of San Francisco was built during the freeway craze of the 1950’s. It ran like a cancer along the waterfront.

When the demolition was proposed the uproar from certain constitutents, car owners and neighborhood groups, was fierce.

The fearsome howls that loss of the freeway would ruin businesses, impact neighborhoods and make the streets more congested was all bloviating rhetoric.

The Embarcadero Freeway was demolished. The San Francisco waterfront is now a beautfiul place. The neighborhoods are doing just fine. Car owners have adapted.

Similiar gloom and doom talk is now being heard from those who are inconvenienced by car owners and nearby neighbors who feel inconveniced. The car free Great Highway has been a marvelous improvement to San Francisco life and needs to be made permanent.

Contact management at the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Supervisor Gordon Mar whose district abuts the Great Highway. Let them know you want an environmentally clean Great Highway for cyclists, runners and pedestrians of all ages.

Great Highway V 11.15.2020

jeffrey.tumlin@sfmta.org Director of Transportation San Francisco MTA

kristen.holland@sfmta.org Acting Media Relations & Customer Communications Manager San Francisco MTA

gordon.mar@sfgov.org Gordon Mar – District 4 Supervisor