Monday, August 25, 2014

Stand Up And Say No - Monument In San Francisco

While walking the baby today, we passed this little monument in front of a house. A monument to people standing up and fighting the plans the experts had created to build freeways all through San Francisco.

From a Wired post on plans that didn't get carried out:

1948 San Francisco Highway Plan

San Francisco is one of the few American cities that was not completely carved up by the postwar highway building frenzy, but that doesn’t mean no one tried to do so. This 1948 plan details a projected network of elevated freeways throughout the city. Parts of the Central and Embarcadero freeways were constructed, but angry citizens of the city successfully rallied for the cancellation of further roads. This “Highway Revolt” was not limited to San Francisco. Many other cities fought back against plans to raze whole neighborhoods for elevated roads, and today many urban highways are being cut back or demolished entirely. The dismantling of the Embarcadero freeway following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake helped usher in a rebirth of the San Francisco waterfront and the SoMa district.
So people in Anchorage - and anywhere else that has highway and other project planners set on streets and highways and bridges that the people don't want - take hope.  It can be stopped.  Bragaw doesn't have to split the University land.  And the Knik Arm Bridge doesn't have to be built. 

I suspect for Bragaw we could find a list of contractors who are hoping to get a piece of the $20 million allocated and who supported Dan Sullivan (the mayor) who asked Rep. Stoltz to put the money into the budget.  And a list of large Pt. McKenzie landowners might help us identify whose pushing the Knik Arm bridge. 

This is also a monument to little monuments (these are like big action figures) that remind us when we stumble onto them,  that people got out and fought for what they believed.  And won.


  1. This post brings me back to one of my first organising efforts on a public policy issue at East Anchorage HS back in the 1970s.

    A small group of us 'bad kid', not-doing-well-in-subjects students were able to get a school-wide debate set up on AMATS (Dan Sullivan, the mayor, will know this well since his father was behind it). We were teenagers who were questioning Anchroage building a massive freeway system that would have put in a crazy-quilt network of freeways. One that was to border the military lands out in Muldoon connecting south Anchorage and get this -- a tidewater freeway exactly where the coastal trail is today (and it was elevated -- there must have been some tick list for road engineers those days).

    I still remember the amazed news crews who covered the event as they replied to our on-air comments against the plan. That students had stood up and said they wouldn't drive at all if it came to this. It was something like "you're teenage boys and you're against roads?"

    Yes, we were. But we did have one member who was a girl who used to ride her horse to school. The rest of us walked, thumbed rides and rode bikes.

    And I like to think we were a small part of what slowed down the adoption of that truly mad plan (and it's perhaps why I raised my observation with planning). Planning isn't always a cure, but an illness when laid on the wrong set of circumstances.

  2. So, we should make a small monument for your group to keep that memory alive. In front of East High maybe.

  3. Nah, we were semi-functional nihilists who called ourselves Commie-pinko-fags (before someone else did). When I think how miserable I was in HS, the five of us and a couple of great teachers sheltered the bit of sanity I held on to. Statues are for heroes; we were anti-heroes.


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