“Nothing we can do long term to hold back the Pacific Ocean.”

Lee Heidhues 1.25.2023

The following article may be about nearby Santa Cruz, the coastal town just 73 miles south of The Great Walkway in San Francisco.

San Francisco City Hall needs to get its proverbial head out of the sand and pay attention.

What is going on in Santa Cruz is equally true for the Great Walkway. It took an overwhelming majority of the electorate last November to maintain a partially free space along the Pacific Ocean.

San Francisco officials must continue to push for a permanently car free oasis along the ocean front. If the bureaucrats don’t do it, Mother Nature will take care of it for them.

In short. It is long past the time when politicians listen to the spoiled entitled motorists.

Excerpted from The San Francisco Standard 1.25.2023

“The storm has reminded us that we can’t just keep putting Band-Aids on things,” said Gary Griggs, a UC Santa Cruz researcher who specializes in climate and coastal science.

“We need to think longer term, and realistically, there’s nothing we can do over the long term to hold back the Pacific Ocean. It’s coming, and it’s coming for us.”

Rallying to Stop the Threat to Ocean Beach – Last November Voters overwhelmingly rejected the ballot measure to bring back cars full time to The Great Walkway

While the January storms may have hastened the damage, climate experts say to expect more of these once-rare weather events. And figuring out how to plan for them, and the rising seas in general, is not a problem unique to Santa Cruz or even California. Coastal cities up and down the state have been grappling with similar challenges, debating the idea of “managed retreat,” which focuses on relocating property and infrastructure and planning for sea level rise instead of fighting it.

“Pretty much all the places we identified [as hazards], there are problems now,” said David Revell, a coastal geomorphologist who consulted on the city’s plan. 

While consulting on the plan, Revell said his group found that prioritizing recreation—particularly access to the city’s world-class surfing—would have the most economic benefit to the city and community, especially compared to the expensive status quo of constant emergency repairs. 

“If we keep armoring, we’re going to lose those surf spots much faster than if we allow erosion to continue or look at ways to add more sand to the beaches,” Revell said. “I think dodging cars is probably not the long-term answer.”

But ultimately, Griggs said, there’s no stopping the inevitable. 

“All protection ends somewhere,” Griggs said. “You can’t build a wall to hold back 10 feet of sea level rise.”


Scene of continuing coastal erosion in Santa Cruz, California – January 2023

Top photo – Coastal erosion in Santa Cruz – just 73 miles south of The Great Walkway in San Francisco