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Bicycle Infrastructure

Another Step Towards Making J.F.K. Promenade Permanent

Rally to save ‘Car-Free JFK’ held in February. Photo: Sergio Ruiz

Mayor London Breed introduced legislation Tuesday to lock in the J.F.K. Promenade and finally achieve a safer Golden Gate Park by reducing east-west cut-through traffic in the park. From the Mayor's office:

Mayor London N. Breed today introduced legislation to authorize permanent changes to make 1.5 miles of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park car-free. It would also authorize making certain street segments one-way, creating new bicycle facilities, and making additional policy changes to improve access. This closure was implemented nearly two years ago to provide socially distant recreation during the pandemic. Supervisors Rafael Mandelman, Matt Haney, and Dean Preston co-sponsored this legislation.

The legislation includes a bullet list of policies, addressing concerns from disability and senior rights advocates that came up during the extensive outreach done by city agencies. These include recommendations for:

    • Vastly improved free shuttle program, launched February 26, adding service on weekdays and increasing the frequency of service on weekends.
    • Expanding and improving parking and ADA access with the addition of 28 blue zone spaces near the museums: three on Nancy Pelosi Drive at JFK Drive, five on Martin Luther King Drive south of Music Concourse Drive and 20 new ADA parking spaces in the Golden Gate Bandshell Parking lot, plus re-paving walking surfaces, a new ADA-accessible path to the Japanese Tea Garden, and more ADA improvements such as curb ramps throughout the area. The Bandshell Parking Lot project broke ground Monday, February 28.
    • Expanding programs that connect communities of color to the park as well as offering art installations, programming, and performances that reflect the diversity of San Francisco. Starting Wednesday, March 4, and running through November 2022, the Golden Gate Bandshell will host more than 100 free all-age concerts with culturally diverse music and performers.
    • Building on the success of Rec and Park’s Junior Guides program, the Department is partnering with community-based organizations to provide residents of equity-priority communities free transportation, guided tours, and free access to cultural institutions of Golden Gate Park.
    • Implementing flexible pricing in the Music Concourse Garage and working on expanding the Museums for All program for low-income visitors to include free or reduced parking rates along with museum admission.
    • Removing restrictions on access to the Music Concourse for anyone to use drop-off and pick-up zones in front of the de Young and the California Academy of Sciences.
    • Allowing access at 8th Avenue and Fulton Street for Muni, paratransit, and other authorized vehicles and maintaining emergency vehicle access through the project area.
    • Reliability improvements to Muni 29 Sunset, which directly connects communities to the park.
    • Adding at least six bike-share stations within Golden Gate Park in 2022.
    • Reducing traffic congestion by restoring southbound access from Chain of Lakes to Sunset Boulevard via MLK Drive and restoring access to the Polo Fields parking lot by creating a one-way circulation westbound from Metson Road to Middle Drive.
    • Exploring options to better direct drivers to the more than 5,000 parking spaces that remain in the park and increasing awareness of the free fifteen-minute pick-up/drop-off option in the Music Concourse Garage.
A map of the car-free sections. Image: Rec & Parks
A map of the car-free sections. Image: Rec & Parks
A map of the car-free sections. Image: Rec & Parks

It's promising to have three supervisors' names on this legislation. But it takes six of them to pass it. Going by overt statements and past behavior, it's likely that District 10's Shamann Walton, District 11's Ahsha Safaí, District 1's Connie Chan, and District 4's Gordon Mar will vote to keep cut-through traffic zooming through Golden Gate Park. That means it's still incredibly important for people to call and write their supervisors and make it clear where they stand on the J.F.K. Promenade. As Walk San Francisco wrote: "You gotta tell your Supervisor how you feel."

Here's the link to Walk San Francisco's action page to help readers reach their supervisors.

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