oceanbeach_cliffs.jpgSan Francisco’s Ocean Beach could be transformed as part of a 40-year master plan announced by city officials today.

The Ocean Beach Master Plan, developed by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association in collaboration with various city departments and community partners, lays out a series of recommendations to improve the 3.5-mile stretch on the western end of town.

Mayor Ed Lee said the area is “a remarkable part of how beautiful our city is.”
However, the area has been affected in recent years by stormy weather that led to erosion of beachside bluffs, resulting in partial closures of the adjacent Great Highway for nearly a year. There have also been ongoing closures caused by excess sand blowing onto the roadway.

Supervisor Carmen Chu, whose district includes much of Ocean Beach, said the master plan lays out “a long and ambitious road ahead of us.”

The plan recommends some major changes in the area, including reducing the width of the Great Highway between Sloat Boulevard and Lincoln Way, restoring the native dune habitat in that area, and improving the connection between Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach with increased visitor amenities.

Some changes will already be under way this year.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission general manager Ed Harrington said the city is partnering with the National Park Service next month to move about 100,000 cubic yards of sand from the northern part of the beach down to the southern end where it is needed.

Removing the excess sand will decrease the amount of closures on the Great Highway, which closes because of the sand about 70 times each year, Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru said.

This winter, DPW crews will also be adding medians to the Great Highway north of Lincoln Way to improve pedestrian access and safety and improve the aesthetics of the area.

Lee said the city has “learned you cannot fight nature, you’ve got to respect it,” and that the master plan addresses environmental concerns, as well as those of nearby residents and business owners.

The total cost of implementing the various recommendations is estimated at $350 million over 40 years, and would be funded by a wide variety of sources.

The master plan document is available at www.spur.org/oceanbeach.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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