Great Highway/GG Park Sunday Streets to Become More Regular

The intersection of the Great Highway and Lincoln Way during yesterday's Sunday Streets. Flickr photo: ##

The ever-popular Great Highway and Golden Gate Park route for Sunday Streets drew thousands of San Franciscans of all ages yesterday with more activities than ever before. For next year, organizer Susan King said that the SFMTA is looking to hold a different, more frequent route.

“The route will use some of the quieter streets that are already off limits to cars or are less used,” said King. “That includes Overlook and Middle Drive [in the park] and negotiating a different pathway along Martin Luther King Drive to get out to the Great Highway.”

She explained that the changes would allow the number of Sunday Streets events on the route to increase from the current two per year up to as many as one per month. It would also be “less intense” for city staff who work the event and allow the Recreation and Parks Department to continue reserving revenue-generating picnic spaces, she said.

“This route is so popular and there’s so much opportunity presented with the Great Highway because it is frequently closed for sand anyway, and because there are no major cross streets once you get through that bottleneck at the Lincoln and Great Highway intersection,” said King. “So we’re looking at doing this route on a regular basis in the coming years.”

The section of the Great Highway along the park between Lincoln Way and Fulton Street may be opened to cars to provide another route for drivers, she said. Vehicles would turn off of Great Highway at Lincoln Way, and the activity center that currently exists at the intersection during events would be more focused in the park.

“Given that there aren’t a lot of ways of getting across the park north and south when you take the Great Highway out of the options for vehicle drivers, it creates a bottleneck on both Crossover Drive and Chain of Lakes, which gets really backed up,” said King.

JFK Drive east of Transverse Drive would still be closed to cars as it has been every Sunday since the 1970s, she said, and organizers are looking to keep it connected to the rest of the Sunday Streets route.

“We are looking at creating a sustainable road opening that requires less resources than we currently expend and maintains access for park users, neighbors, and Sunday Streets partcipants,” said King. “That’s the balancing act.”

Flickr photo: ##
  • Anonymous

    Would love to see this become a monthly event.

  • Masonic will be the death….

    Yes, more please. I was absolutely blown away by the shear number of people enjoying a car free Great Highway and JFK yesterday. I make it a priority to at least check out each Sunday Streets event, even if it is only for a quick tour of the route. Yesterday had to have been the largest crowd next to the Mission event. It was awesome to have the western portion of JFK car free. One could actually that stretch of fresh smooth asphalt without the normal dodging of speeders.

    It just seems appropriate to have the park closed to through traffic more often. It is a park after all. There has to be a relatively easy solution to allow for permit holders to get into the park and to their tables, while curbing the through traffic. Without hurried through traffic the park is more enjoyable for all, from walker, to biker, to the family looking for their table and  a parking spot without having to worry about the driver who needs to fly at 40 mph through the park.

    It was a bit disappointing to see and hear a few irate drivers verbally assaulting the crossing guards at Chain of Lakes, but I think that is to be expected. There will always be those few no matter the event.

    It was awesome to hear local families relishing in the ability to enjoy the Great Highway and actually let there kids ride, play, and walk around in what is normally a stressful area to keep kids safe.

    More please.

  • re: the park’s apparent inability to rent picnic spaces when the road is ‘closed’….Is the only way to have a picnic in GG park with a caravan of cars that need parking spaces less than 100 yards from the picnic table?  

  • Anonymous

    When do we start calling for the ‘great highway’ to be relegated to two lanes, and actually connected with the sunset?

  • Masonic will be the death….

    That is the OLD Great Highway. Everyone knows it isn’t really “new” unless it is bigger faster and disconnected from the adjacent community. 🙂

    Of course Old Great Highway is still used. Particularly by those drivers who can’t be bothered with the timed lights that only let them travel at a speed of 30-35, and prefer to run the numerous stop signs as they gamble that there will be no police around, as they never are.

  • James Figone

    Good point, Justin.  How about instead of running the empty Bauer buses up and down JFK, they had an open-topped vehicle with seats and a platform/wagon to load picnic supplies, volleyball nets, etc.  The bus would stop at designated spots where cars could load their supplies onto the vehicle.  Those attending the picnic could also ride the bus to the picnic location in the park.  This way, the picnic sites could still be rented during street closures.  Those at the picnic would not need to hear cars or inhale their fumes.

  • John Murphy

    I hope this doesn’t mean “More on the Great Highway, replacing events that would be held elsewhere” and instead meaning “more events overall”

  • Anonymous

    It would be interesting to see a study of using the northbound lanes for a two lane bidirectional road, and the southbound lanes for a promenade, on a permanent basis.

  • Tombrown4321

    So, Rec & Park supports more Sunday Streets in Golden Gate Park so folks can enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and the natual beauty of the western end of the park, while at the same time they’re planning to convert 7 acres of natural turf to artificial turf soccer fields near the Beach Chalet, and build a huge water treatment factory near Murphy Windmill.   Please, tell City Hall to Save, Don’t Pave,  Golden Gate Park.  See and for more information.

  • Joshua

    Are you all CRAZY!!! This is the worst idea I have ever herd of! Closing down a much traveled highway and most of the park on the bussy weekend is not my idea  of a relaxing and having a good old time. It is bad enough it is 2 times a year and it always causes traffic jams, and now they want it every month? This is INSANE!!!
     All these liberals and homos should go do this in there area not where people try to get away from them. I HATE THIS CITY11111111

  • Susan

    It doesn’t- Sunday Streets will continue to travel around the city on a monthly basis. This would be an additional car-free program to compliment monthly roving events.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps it just means that on those weekends there’s enough room for everybody without the need for reservations. After all, they can hardly close the picnic spaces.

  • Sprague

    What a great way to use public streets in the park and along Ocean Beach – for the public’s enjoyment of these great outdoor spaces!  For kids young and old, this is wonderful news.  My kids will relish the opportunity to safely be able to bike these roads on a more frequent basis.  Way to go SF!

  • Anonymous

    Would love to see this become a *permanent* thing!

  • Masonic will be the death….


    If you really “HATE THIS CITY” maybe it is time to think of relocating.

    I might suggest you avoid NYC, Boston, Seattle, DC, LA, Portland, Miami, San Diego, Sacramento, and even Phoenix to name a few. All are exploring and implementing expanded rolling and permanent road closures in and around their larger parks, and creating pedestrian areas out of poorly designed roadways.

    One driver does not trump the benefits enjoyed by the thousands who came out to walk, play, dance, and bike in our cities public ways.

    You really aren’t as important as you think you are behind the wheel of your car.

    If all you see of San Francisco is liberals, and gays I might suggest moving to rural northern Idaho, otherwise you will just be disappointed.

  • Anonymous

    There is nothing inconsistent about that.  Both moves will allow more people to enjoy the park, whether it’s Sunday Streets or playing soccer.  Remember, the park is 1,013 acres, so the soccer project accounts for only 0.69% of the park’s total land area. 

  • Anonymous

    Would people in the Sunset like that, I wonder?  It would result in more car traffic on streets that don’t get a lot of it currently.


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