Planners Seek Public Comment On Plan To Restore SF Ocean Beach

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Ocean Beach is a shoreline under attack. Erosion damage is apparent at the end of Sloat Boulevard.

Pounding waves have chipped away at the parking lot here, leaving vehicles little room to move.

“We can see it every year when a storm comes by, that it definitely gets a bit steeper and a bit closer to the road,” observed surfer Ashlin Wilhelm.

Even to an untrained eye it’s clear Ocean Beach is eroding. Public pressure is building for a long-term fix.

Benjamin Grant is drafting what could be the solution: the Ocean Beach Master Plan (read online).

“Erosion is going to get worse and not better,” Grant warns.

It’s a big, multi-decade project for the southern stretch of Ocean Beach.

To stop erosion the plan calls for removing temporary fixes — like the use of piled-up boulders. The plan would widen the beach and contour the land more gently so it works with — not against — rising sea levels.

“We are trying to use what has become a crisis in terms of the erosion here at Ocean Beach and use that as an opportunity to really rethink this end of the beach,” Grant says.

The $300 million project has plenty of critics and many people are not pleased that the Great Highway south of Sloat Blvd. would, in time, be replaced with a pedestrian and bicycle path.

Surfer Brandon Sanft worries the project will result in a surf haven overrun with tourists.

“This isn’t the most beautiful beach in the world so I don’t understand why that would be the need. It would just add to the congestion over here.”

Designers say Ocean Beach won’t become the next Crissy Field or Embarcadero anytime soon. But rising water and erosion are here today and are likley to stay.

“We think it’s prudent to use this as an opportunity to be more thoughtful, think more long-term about what kind of place this is going to be. And plan accordingly.”

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