Home > General Plan > Western Shoreline Area Plan
The conservation of the California coast has always
been of interest and concern to San Francisco. From the early years of
the citys history, the coastal beach and cliff areas have been an
important recreational and natural resource to the people of San Francisco
and the Bay Area. There has always been an intense interest among the
citys citizens in maintaining the area for the use and enjoyment
of the public. This position was underscored by the enthusiastic participation
of the City in establishing the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and
the overwhelming voter support for Proposition 20 in 1972 which led to
the passage of the Coastal Act of 1976. Pursuant to that act San Francisco
prepared a Local Coastal Program adopted by the City Planning Commission,
and the Board of Supervisors, and certified by the California Coastal
Commission on April 26, 1984.
The City Planning Commission is responsible for adopting
and maintaining a comprehensive long-term general plan for future development
of the City and County of San Francisco known as the Master Plan. The
Plan is divided into a number of functional elements, including Urban
Design, Residence, Recreation and Open Space, Commerce and Industry, Environmental
Protection, Transportation, and a number of subarea plans, including the
Civic Center Plan, Northeastern Waterfront Plan and the Central Waterfront
The policies of the Local Coastal Program, together
with the addition of summary objectives to the various section readings
to make it compatible with other area plans, are being incorporated in
the Citys Master Plan, as an area plan under the title Western Shoreline
The San Francisco Coastal Zone extends approximately
6 miles along the western shoreline from the Fort Funston cliff area in
the south to the Point Lobos recreational area in the north. The south
end of the Coastal Zone includes the Lake Merced area, the Zoo, the Olympic
Country Club, and the seashore and bluff area of Fort Funston. The Coastal
Zone spans the Ocean Beach shoreline and includes Golden Gate Park west
of Fortieth Avenue, the Great Highway corridor and the adjacent residential
blocks in the Sunset and Richmond districts. The north end of the seashore
includes the Cliff House and Sutro Baths area, Sutro Heights Park, and
Point Lobos recreational area.
Most of the San Francisco western shoreline is publicly
owned. Golden Gate Park, the Zoo, and Lake Merced contain 60% of the 1,771
acres which comprise the Coastal Zone area. Another 25% of the Coastal
Zone is within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Only
14% of the land is privately owned, and 9% of this land is within the
Olympic Country Club area. The remainder 5% is private residential and
commercial property which fronts or lies in close proximity to the seashore.
The Coastal Zone is the area shown on map 1.
1 - Coastal Zone Area
The area covered by the Western Shoreline Plan is divided
into ten subareas as listed below and shown on Map 2.
2 - Western Shoreline Plan
The Plan consists of transportation policies
for the entire Coastal Zone and of specific policies relating to the ten
IMPROVE PUBLIC TRANSIT ACCESS TO THE COAST.
Improve crosstown public transit connections to the coastal area, specifically
Ocean Beach, the Zoo and the Cliff House.
Provide transit connections amongst the important coastal recreational
Connect local transit routes with regional transit, including BART, Golden
Gate Transit, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Transit.
Provide incentives for transit usage.
Consolidate the Municipal Railway turnaround at the former Playland-at-the-Beach
Provide transit shelters at the beach for transit patrons.
REDESIGN THE GREAT HIGHWAY TO ENHANCE ITS SCENIC QUALITIES AND RECREATIONAL
Develop the Great Highway right-of-way as a four lane straight highway
with recreational trails for bicycle, pedestrian, landscaping, and parking.
Emphasize slow pleasure traffic and safe pedestrian access to beach.
Maintain the landscaped recreational corridor adjacent to the development
at the former Playland-at-the-Beach site to provide a link between Golden
Gate park and Sutro Heights park.
Provide for a continuation of the bicycle trail by an exclusive bicycle
lane on public streets between the Great Highway and Point Lobos.
Improve public access to Ocean Beach from Golden Gate Park by providing
a landscaped bridge over vehicular underpass, if funds are not available
improve public access by providing grade crossings with signals, walkways,
lighting and landscaping.
Locate parking for users of Ocean Beach and other coastal recreational
areas so that the Great Highway need not be crossed. Provide limited parking
east of the highway for park use. Design parking to afford maximum protection
to the dune ecosystem.
Provide permanent parking for normal use required by beach users in the
Great Highway corridor (taking into account the increased accessibility
by transit); provide multiple use areas which could be used for parking
at peak times, but could be used for recreational uses when not needed
improve pedestrian safety by providing clearly marked crossings and installing
Enhance personal safety by lighting parking areas and pedestrian crossings.
Improve public access to Ocean Beach south of Lincoln Way by providing
grade crossing with signals and walkways at every other block.
ENHANCE THE RECREATIONAL CONNECTION BETWEEN GOLDEN GATE PARK AND THE BEACH
Strengthen the visual and physical connection between the park and beach.
Emphasize the naturalistic landscape qualities of the western end of the
park for visitor use. When possible eliminate the Richmond-Sunset sewer
Continue to implement a long-term reforestation program at the western
portion of the park.
Develop and periodically revise a Master Plan for Golden Gate Park to
include specific policies for the maintenance and improvement of recreational
access in the western portion of the park.
Rehabilitate the Beach Chalet for increased visitor use.
IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF THE ZOO AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE COASTAL ZONE
Maintain the landscaped park-like atmosphere of the Zoo.
Enhance visitor interest in the Zoo by pursuing a specific Zoo Master
Plan for modernization and improvement of Zoo facilities and enhancement
of the animal collection.
Allow location of a sewage treatment plant and a pump station to serve
the western area of San Francisco on Zoo property. Locate and design the
facilities to maximize their joint use by the Zoo.
Expand the existing Zoo area west toward the Great Highway and south toward
Provide a wind berm along the Great Highway for protection and public
viewing of Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
Enhance the entrance to the Zoo by providing visitor amenities at the
Provide parking near the entrance to the Zoo for those visitors who cannot
reasonably use public transportation.
Provide for the reasonable expansion of the Recreation Center for the
Handicapped for recreation purposes. Accommodate that expansion in a way
that will not inhibit the development of either the Zoo or the treatment
PRESERVE THE RECREATIONAL AND NATURAL HABITAT OF LAKE MERCED.
Preserve in a safe, attractive and usable condition the recreational facilities,
passive activities, playgrounds and vistas of Lake Merced area for the
enjoyment of citizens and visitors to the city.
Maintain a recreational pathway around the lake designed for multiple
Allow only those activities in Lake Merced area which will not threaten
the quality of the water as a standby reservoir for emergency use.
As it becomes obsolete, replace the police pistol range on the southerly
side of South Lake with recreational facilities.
MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE THE RECREATIONAL USE OF SAN FRANCISCOS OCEAN
Continue Ocean Beach as a natural beach area for public recreation.
Improve and stabilize the sand dunes where necessary with natural materials
to control erosion.
Keep the natural appearance of the beach and maximize its usefulness by
maintaining the beach in a state free of litter and debris.
Maintain and improve the physical condition and appearance of the Esplanade
between Lincoln Way and the Cliff House.
Enhance the enjoyment of visitors to Ocean Beach by providing convenient
visitor-oriented services, including take-out food facilities.
Extend the seawall promenade south to Sloat Boulevard as funds become
PRESERVE AND RESTORE SUTRO HEIGHTS PARK.
Continue the use of Sutro Heights Park as a park, preserve its natural
features, and retain its quiet neighborhood orientation.
Restore elements of the historic garden and landscaping and include minor
interpretive displays and seating areas.
Improve access between Golden Gate Park and Sutro Heights Park by providing
a new trail system up the south slope of Sutro Heights Park within the
La Playa Street right-of-way for equestrians, pedestrians and joggers.
Protect the natural bluffs below Sutro Heights Park. Keep the hillside
undeveloped in order to protect the hilltop landform, and maintain views
to and from the park. Acquire the former Playland-at-the-Beach site north
of Balboa if funds become available.
MAINTAIN THE VISITOR ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE CLIFF HOUSE AND SUTRO BATH
Develop the Cliff House/Sutro Bath area as a nature-oriented shoreline
park. Permit limited commercial-recreation uses if public ownership is
retained and if development is carefully controlled to preserve the natural
characteristics of the site.
Restore the Cliff House to its 1909 appearance or, if financially feasible,
to an accurate replica of the original 1890 structure.
Insure hiker safety by providing a clearly marked and well maintained
Redesign parking and vehicular circulation in the area to relieve congestion
and provide for the safety of pedestrians crossing Point Lobos.
To increase visitor enjoyment, mitigate the noise and air pollution caused
by tour buses by relocating bus waiting areas.
CONSERVE THE NATURAL CLIFF ENVIRONMENT ALONG FORT FUNSTON.
Maximize the natural qualities of Fort Funston. Conserve the ecology of
entire Fort and develop recreational uses which will have only minimal
effect on the natural environment.
Permit hanggliding but regulate it so that it does not significantly conflict
with other recreational and more passive uses and does not impact the
natural quality of the area.
RETAIN THE OPEN SPACE QUALITY OF THE OLYMPIC COUNTRY CLUB AREA.
If the private golf course use is discontinued, acquire the area for public
recreation and open space, if feasible.
Maintain the existing public easement along the beach. Encourage the granting
of an additional easement by the Olympic Country Club to the National
Park Service for public use and maintenance of the sensitive bluff area
west of Skyline Boulevard as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation
Protect the stability of the westerly bluffs by consolidating the informal
trails along the bluff area into a formal trail system which would be
clearly marked. Coordinate the lateral trail system along the bluff with
the San Mateo trail system south of the San Francisco boundary.
PRESERVE THE SCALE OF RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE
COASTAL ZONE AREA.
Preserve the scale and character of existing residential neighborhoods
by setting allowable densities at the density generally prevailing in
the area and regulating new development so its appearance is compatible
with adjacent buildings.
Develop the former Playland-at-the-Beach site as a moderate density residential
apartment development with neighborhood commercial uses to serve the residential
community and, to a limited extent, visitors to the Golden Gate National
Continue the enforcement of citywide housing policies, ordinances and
standards regarding the provision of safe and convenient housing to residents
of all income levels, especially low- and moderate-income people.
Strive to increase the amount of housing units citywide, especially units
for low- and moderate-income people.
Work with federal and state funding agencies to acquire subsidy assistance
for private developers for the provision of low- and moderate-income units.
Protect the neighborhood environment of the Richmond and Sunset residential
areas from the traffic and visitor impacts from the public using adjacent
recreation and open space areas.
Maintain a community business district along Sloat Boulevard within the
Coastal Zone to provide goods and services to residents of the outer Sunset
and visitors to the Zoo and Ocean Beach.