The Future of San Francisco Freeways - State and Local Perspectives.

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The Future of San Francisco Freeways - State and Local Perspectives.

Most of us agree that the Central Freeway is an eyesore. But, should it be removed? Join us for a conversation about the implications.

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Manny's 3092 16th Street San Francisco, CA 94103

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About this event

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

As we enter 2023, there are emerging discussions in San Francisco centered on freeway removal. The Central Freeway, in particular, has been highlighted as a good candidate for removal, as many locals view it as a longtime source of urban blight. This overpass carves up several neighborhoods and causes significant local pollution that affects nearby residents. According to recent studies, four of the ten most dangerous intersections in San Francisco are part of or underneath the Central Freeway.

It’s long been City policy to explore alternatives to the Central Freeway, and many people believe the removal would lead to benefits, such as desperately needed new housing, an expansion of public transit, and new parks within an SF neighborhood that is afforded the least amount of green space in the entire city. However, do San Franciscans have the appetite for freeway removal right now? What would the redevelopment plan look like once the freeway is removed? How can we ensure that our most disadvantaged communities are fully supported through any kind of freeway removal and redevelopment process? What happens to the traffic?

Join us at Manny’s for a panel discussion on freeway removal, and what it would mean for San Francisco.

About Our Panel

About Rich Hillis

Rich Hillis is the Planning Director for the City and County of San Francisco. Mr. Hillis is responsible for overseeing long range city planning, development review, and environmental review for most physical development in San Francisco. He served on the San Francisco Planning Commission for eight years before becoming Director of the Planning Department.

Prior to joining San Francisco Planning , Mr. Hillis served as the Executive Director for the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture where he led its reinvigoration, investing over $60 million into the historic campus and providing a stable and vibrant home to dozens of arts organizations and events. Before joining the Fort Mason Center, Mr. Hillis served as Deputy Director of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, where he managed all aspects of the redevelopment of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island into a new 8,000-unit, mixed-use neighborhood, led efforts on priority Port development projects, and oversaw efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for development along Octavia Boulevard. Previously, he was the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Director of Partnerships and Property, managing RPD’s assets and concessions.

Mr. Hillis has an Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s from the State University of New York at Albany.

About Emily Nguyen:

Emily Nguyen is a senior at Lick Wilmerding High School. She is the Chair and District 11 appointee of the San Francisco Youth Commission. On the Youth Commission, Emily authored a resolution highlighting the harmful impacts of freeways, past successful SF freeway removals, why the Central Freeway should come down, and next steps for the City to study the removal of the Central Freeway, which passed unanimously. As a Youth Commissioner, Emily has also advocated for funding Free Muni for all Youth, funding for the Department of Environment's Climate Action Plan, car-free recreational spaces, and more. Outside of the Youth Commission, she is the Executive Director of San Francisco Ignite Leadership in Youth (SFILY), sits on the California State Superintendent's Youth Advisory Council, and on the SFCTA Ocean Avenue Mobility Task Force.

About Senator Scott Weiner

Elected in November 2016, Senator Scott Wiener represents District 11 in the California State Senate. District 11 includes all of San Francisco, Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City, as well as portions of South San Francisco.

In the Senate, Senator Wiener works to make housing more affordable, invest in our transportation systems, increase access to healthcare, support working families, meaningfully address climate change and the impacts of wildfires, reform our criminal justice system, reduce gun violence, reduce California’s high poverty rate, and safeguard and expand the rights of all communities, including immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

Senator Wiener has authored 42 bills that have been signed into law. Among them are SB 35, a landmark law to streamline housing approvals in cities not meeting their housing goals; SB 855, which makes California the national leader in mental health and addiction care access by requiring insurance companies to cover all medically necessary mental health and substance use disorder treatments; SB 822, which enacts the strongest net neutrality protections in the nation; SB 1045 and SB 40, which expand and strengthen California’s conservatorship laws to help individuals who are living on our streets with severe mental health and substance use disorders; SB 700, the largest investment in clean energy storage in California history; SB 923, which modernizes California’s eyewitness identification standards to ensure innocent people are not sent to prison; SB 136, which reduces mass incarceration by repealing California’s most commonly used sentence enhancement; SB 219, which protects LGBTQ seniors in long-term care facilities.

Senator Wiener is the immediate past chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, and serves as the Chair of the Senate Mental Health Caucus. He also serves as Chair of the Senate Housing Committee and the Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics, and is a member of the Public Safety Committee, Judiciary Committee, Governance and Finance Committee, Health Committee and Select Committee on Mental Health. He serves as Vice Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus and as the Senate’s Assistant Majority Whip. He is immediate past Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus.

Before his election to the Senate, Senator Wiener served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, representing the district previously represented by Supervisor Harvey Milk. During his time on the Board of Supervisors, Senator Wiener authored a number of first-in-the-nation laws, including mandating fully paid parental leave for all working parents, requiring water recycling and solar power in new developments, and banning public spending in states with LGBTQ hate laws. He focused extensively on housing and public transportation, authoring laws to streamline approvals of affordable housing, to legalize new in-law units, and to tie public transportation funding to population growth.

Before his election to the Board of Supervisors, Senator Wiener spent 15 years practicing law: as a Deputy City Attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, in private practice at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, and as a law clerk for Justice Alan Handler on the New Jersey Supreme Court. Senator Wiener co-chaired the Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club, BALIF (the Bay Area’s LGBTQ bar association), and the San Francisco LGBTQ Community Center, as well as serving on the national board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

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