San Francisco is giving up its struggle against the ocean — at least at Ocean Beach. The Ocean Beach Master Plan would close one end of the Great Highway, reroute traffic about a half-mile inland and let the ocean come back, KQED’s Molly Samuel reports.
Engineers who built the Great Highway claimed 200 feet of new land from the ocean. Now the ocean wants its territory back. It has already undermined parts of the road, requiring closure of one lane. And as climate change causes sea levels to rise, it will gradually wash higher and higher, threatening more of the road.
A waste water treatment plant and the beach itself are at risk. That’s where the Master Plan comes in. The brainchild of the San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR), the plan envisions a strategic retreat, moving infrastructure out of harm’s way and leaving the coast an undeveloped area.
Rerouting the Great Highway is perhaps the biggest change contemplated by the plan, as Samuel reported in an earlier interview with Ocean Beach Bulletin Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Tom Prete:
One of the important ideas presented under the draft recommendation for the Ocean Beach master plan would be to reroute that southern extension of the Great Highway that was closed, around the backside of the zoo so that it no longer passes to the west of the water pollution plant, but instead goes around the other side and connects with Sloat Boulevard. So southbound traffic on the Great Highway would no longer go past Sloat and around the water plant to Skyway Blvd around Lake Merced, but instead would turn east on Sloat and meet up with Lake Merced Boulevard to west of the zoo.
Take a look at the plan itself: