Who would have thought that Trump-supporter, heir of wealth generated by chemical warfare, anti-bike, pro-car, sometimes-art-supporter “socialite” Dede Wilsey would go down in historical past as having finished extra to assist the reason for safe-and-livable streets than anybody else within the Bay Space?
In April, advocates celebrated a vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors preserving the japanese half of J.F.Ok. Drive as a car-free house. And why not? Motorists have an 800-space underground parking storage, and MLK, and tunnels to entry the inside of the park. It was the democratic conclusion to a decades-long battle to try to stop crashes and make the park extra of a, effectively, park.
However that wasn’t adequate for Wilsey and others who insist on unfettered car-access in every single place within the metropolis. Wilsey bankrolled a signature-gathering marketing campaign to get the J.F.Ok. Promenade determination overturned by way of plebiscite. Not solely was she gunning for the J.F.Ok. Promenade, however she needed to place vehicles again on the Nice Freeway, 24/7. To hell with the results; vehicles in every single place on a regular basis.
On the time, Streetsblog predicted that Measure “I”, as her poll measure could be named, was an overreach and a horrible misinterpret of the recognition of each of those areas. Nonetheless, if “I” succeeded and “J” failed, the measure placed on the poll by the Board of Supervisors to enshrine the J.F.Ok. Promenade into town constitution, it could have been a catastrophe for safe-and-livable streets advocates.
So advocates returned to the ramparts and re-fought the battle as if their lives trusted it–as a result of they did.
After all, the remaining is historical past. Not solely did “I” fail and “J” reach November, however it wasn’t even shut. Almost each electoral precinct affirmed that they’ve had sufficient of rushing drivers and the noise, air pollution, and hazard they carry to the park and town.
It was, ultimately, the most effective factor that might have occurred.
With out the clear outcomes on this election, would the San Francisco Chronicle and different main gamers within the mainstream media have given any ink to a plan to make the Embarcadero automobile free? Would an entire tear-down of the Central Freeway be getting a lot traction? Now, with such a powerful affirmation of every thing this publication and its allies battle for, something is feasible.
As a area, in fact, we’re nonetheless a long time behind our counterparts in Europe (and we’re falling additional behind) relating to secure streets. Fights proceed to rage for secure streets in Emeryville, Oakland, Marin, the Peninsula, Berkeley, Contra Costa, and elsewhere. There have been vital victories all through the Bay Space.
However sadly, the dying and horror on our streets continues.
As editor of Streetsblog, 2022 has been exhausting and generally painful–as I’m positive it was for all of our pals on the varied advocacy teams.
Streetsblog San Francisco will likely be taking a hiatus for the rest of 2022. My hope is Streetsblog can have extra assets subsequent yr to cowl and spotlight the subsequent huge fights–getting protected bike lanes round the remainder of Lake Merritt in Oakland, Seamless Bay Space will proceed its push to get higher transit companies, the push will proceed towards Caltrans’s fixed excuses for widening roads, and, one hopes, advocates can lastly make San Francisco fulfill its damaged guarantees on Valencia. There are such a lot of fights it’s inconceivable to say all of them right here. However proper now, as 2022 winds down, let’s rejoice the J.F.Ok. Promenade victory as a beacon of hope and accomplishment and a information to what’s potential transferring ahead.
And please contemplate giving to Streetsblog to assist us broaden our skills to cowl these points.
Have an incredible, secure, vacation. All the most effective from Roger Rudick, editor, Streetsblog San Francisco, Melanie Curry, editor, Streetsblog California, Writer Damien Newton, and the remainder of the Streetsblog crew in California and all through the U.S.
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