This 150-foot Ferris wheel is a whirring, blinking, spinning tangle of LED lights.
If you live in San Francisco, you can’t have missed the enormous SkyStar Observation Wheel in Golden Gate Park.
The wheel, which took 2 years to build, was installed to honor the park’s 150-year anniversary. It started running back in October at 25% capacity, but due to the pandemic, was quickly closed to passengers after just 5 weeks.
SF Recreation and Parks proposed an extension of the SkyStar contract until 2025, although its original contract was for only 1 year. The Historic Preservation Commission postponed the vote Wednesday, citing unresolved issues.
On one hand, keeping the wheel around could stimulate SF’s economy and drive traffic to local businesses. General admission tickets cost $18 and a portion of proceeds goes to the SF Parks Alliance.
However, several groups are pushing back against the SkyStar Wheel, including the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter. They point out environmental repercussions, as the wheel contributes to the city’s light pollution and disturbs the park’s birds and other wildlife.
We asked SF residents what they thought about the debate in an Instagram poll Thursday. Here’s what they said:
- “It was supposed to be temporary. Move on!”
- “I bought tickets and wasn’t able to go because of COVID, so I hope they stay!!!”
- “KEEP IT!”
- “Yeah let the animals sleep…”
- “It is the best thing to happen to SF since legal cannabis!”
- “Unnecessary, one more summer then out.”
- “Make the tickets cheaper and I’ll allow it”
- “We live in a city, you don’t get to argue about light pollution…”
- “The City needs tax revenue. If this ride helps attract ppl. I say give them 2 yr extension.”
- “Turn down the lights..?”
- “Do it!! Great attraction for SF.”
- “Keep it!’
- “It’s bad for wildlife = bad for us.”
- “It’s gorgeous and we should keep it.”
The vote was postponed until at least March 3rd. Only time will tell whether or not the SkyStar Observation Wheel will stick around.
What do you think?
[Featured Image: @skystarwheel via Instagram]