ACCESS FOR ALL
Disappointed with the Judge's ruling
regarding the Preliminary Injunction
Six plaintiffs have sued Rec and Park general manager Philip A. Ginsburg and the Recreation and Parks Commission for illegal street closures that have created hardship for tens of thousands of San Franciscans.
The Open the Great Highway Alliance calls for safe and fair usage of reopened streets; plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction
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Open The Great Highway Alliance (OTGHA) is dissatisfied with the recent denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction demanding an immediate and complete reopening of San Francisco’s Great Highway and JFK/MLK in Golden Gate Park. OTGHA, along with five other plaintiffs, has sued Rec and Parks Manager Philip A. Ginsburg for illegal street closures that have created hardships for tens of thousands of San Franciscans.
“I am disappointed with the judge's ruling,” says plaintiff Steven Hill. “Respectfully, the judge misapplied the law and based his decision on unsupported and provably false data. In this very short ruling, the judge did not analyze critical issues such as whether the two-year-long street closures qualify as a "temporary event," and ignored key precedent on road closures, including a critical State Supreme Court case. Moreover, the judge accepted the City's flawed evidence without even considering the plaintiffs’ objections to the admission of that evidence as hearsay and irrelevant to the legal issues at hand. In short, the judge issued a “law-free” decision that is vulnerable to being reversed on appeal.”
OTGHA member Charles Perkins says “the judge accepted the City's flawed evidence without even considering the plaintiffs’ objections to admissibility, and without considering the irreparable harm the road closures cause to the innumerous individuals who cannot access these roads and the attractions surrounding them, to the fight against climate change as additional greenhouse gasses are released by detoured drivers, and to the extreme dangers to life, limb, and property in streets in San Francisco's Westside that are created when drivers are forced into residential neighborhoods and onto high injury network routes, among other harms."
Gautam Dutta, an attorney for OTGHA says, “A lot of the disabled and senior community cannot use, as a practical reality, Golden Gate Park right now because of the closures,” Dutta said. “If you need a wheelchair, it’s not workable. They’re effectively frozen out. … And we’re not even talking about the day-to-day errands we do,” and “the Great Highway closures alone affect 750,000 cars a month.”
While OTGHA continues to pursue its legal options, the organization is actively challenging the undemocratic processes by which the Great Highway has been closed and fighting disinformation campaigns by city officials. “A growing number of San Franciscans are tired of city officials using the bogeyman of Covid-19 to advance pet projects that appeal to special interests but that are, in reality, inequitable and unjust to the broader public.” Says Peter Pirolli, another member of the OTGHA. “San Franciscans are also tired of City departments who repeatedly demonstrate a lack of transparency and a lack of integrity in producing valid, independently verifiable information about the effects of the Great Highway closure.”