Retracing San Francisco’s Freeway Revolt

///Retracing San Francisco’s Freeway Revolt
Retracing San Francisco’s Freeway Revolt 2017-12-01T04:24:06+00:00

May 2013

Walk Leader: HiMY SYeD
Text by: HiMY SYeD
Photographs by: HiMY SYeD

Rincon Park was created after the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway. Where the freeway once cut San Francisco off from its waterfront, today there is a wonderful pedestrian boulevard, connecting to multiple modes of public transit. On this Saturday, the Farmers’ Market just outside the San Francisco Ferry Terminal Building was bustling. In the middle of Ferry Plaza, among the shoppers, stood a statue of Gandhi, another famous person also known for long walks. After the Embarcadero Freeway cut off the waterfront, the Ferry Terminal Building fell to neglect, and much detail was lost. It has since been restored, as you can see here.

We stopped at the future site of the Central T Subway station in Chinatown. It has been argued that business lost since the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway will be recovered with the opening of this public transit line into the Chinatown business district. Others argue that business has not suffered at all, and that consequently there is little need for this extension of the MUNI public transit line, with its ever-increasing costs.

Our walk concluded at The Freeway Revolt monument, in front of historic Belden-Buck House on Gough Street. The three figures represent citizen activists. Octavia Boulevard today is a wide open, complete street, where the Central Freeway once bisected the neighbourhood.

The plaque reads: The Freeway Revolt

“This map shows the vast network of freeways that was proposed for San Francisco in 1956. By standing up to say “No!”, by speaking out in public, by circulating petitions, ordinary citizens turned back this assault on the fabric of our dear city. We will always be grateful to them.”