San Francisco, CA —Today the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved Mayor Breed’s legislation to ensure John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park remain vehicle-free permanently. The legislation, co-sponsored by Supervisors Matt Haney, Rafael Mandelman, and Dean Preston, greenlights more than 40 improvements to make the park easier to access for seniors, the disability community, and those who live further away.
JFK Drive was closed two years ago to provide socially distant recreation during the pandemic and since become a place for San Franciscans of all ages and abilities to socialize, exercise and travel in the fresh air. The ordinance also strengthens park access for people with disabilities and older adults through new and expanded transportation programs, additional parking, and new drop-off and pick-up areas.
“San Francisco is a city with a rich history of celebrating our parks and open spaces, and making JFK car-free permanently is the next chapter in that story,” said Mayor London Breed. “This will continue to be a place for families, for children, for seniors, and for visitors to gather and have a safe and wonderful experience in Golden Gate Park. City staff has worked to address a number of issues around access and parking to make sure Golden Gate Park and our important cultural institutions are accessible for all, and we are committed to continuing that work to make the future of JFK and the surrounding areas a success.”
The Golden Gate Park Access and Safety Program includes a number of initiatives to improve safety, equity, accessibility and mobility along JFK, including, but not limited to:
- 20 new, free blue zone spaces in the parking lot behind the Music Concourse Bandshell, for a total of 96 blue spaces in the park’s east end. The Music Concourse Bandshell lot will put visitors closer to museum entrances than before the road closure. The lot, which broke ground Feb 28, will include curb ramps and accessible pathways.
- Flexible pricing in the Music Concourse Garage and adds free three-hour parking in the garage for those who use free museum passes like Museums for All and Discover & Go. Free parking will also be reserved for museum visitors with ADA placards.
- Removal of restrictions on vehicle access to the Music Concourse through the Garage, which can be accessed directly by 10th Avenue to allow easy drop-off and pick-up of visitors in front of the museums and expanding the free 15-minute loading time to 30 minutes for loading zones in the Music Concourse garage.
- Improvements to it’s the free Park Shuttle, adding new weekday service, more frequent weekend service, and an expanded route that connects with Muni on Haight Street and stops at Stow Lake. More improvements are planned, including low-floor vehicles, improved comfort at shuttle stops, and working with navigation providers like Google Map to add shuttle route information to their platforms.
- Continued muni buses and paratransit service on JFK, with improved service for the 29 Sunset and the return of the 21 Hayes lines.
- A delineated, signed route for deliveries to the de Young Museum’s loading dock support their programming.
- New roadway delineations to separate faster moving bikes from slower shared street spaces.
- New roadway configuration to ease traffic congestion on Chain of Lake Drive to Sunset Boulevard.
“Today’s vote has been a long time coming,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who serves as chair of the County Transportation Authority. “San Francisco is ready for a permanently car-free, kid-friendly promenade in the heart of Golden Gate Park, and I am grateful to all the community advocates who have championed this vision for many years and the City staff who have worked diligently to ensure we can do this while expanding access to the park for everyone.”
“Today we made history by voting to keep Car Free JFK as a safe place for kids to learn to ride their bikes, pedestrians to safely walk, and people from all corners of San Francisco to gather and build community. Car Free JFK is a critical piece of a robust network of safe streets for walking and biking that will move our city toward a greener, safer future,” said Supervisor Dean Preston.
“I’m excited that car-free JFK is here to stay. The more we reduce our dependence on cars and prioritize safe pedestrian, bike and mass transit friendly spaces, the better and healthier our city will be,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “People of all ages and abilities walking, biking and enjoying the open space, that’s what our park should be about. Thank you to the Mayor for her leadership on this, and congratulations to all the advocates who have been fighting hard to make this day a reality.”
The plan, which was subject of rigorous technical analysis from SFMTA traffic engineers, is designed to make it easier to get to and around Golden Gate Park no matter how visitors choose to travel. Many of the improvements are the direct result of feedback gathered during the unprecedented community outreach conducted by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which engaged more than 10,000 San Franciscans.
Although a robust study involving millions of data points showed visitorship by neighborhood to Golden Gate Park did not meaningfully change during the closure, many of the policy interventions focus on connecting communities that traditionally don’t have access to Golden Gate Park.
Rec and Park will continue to offer culturally relevant programming with events and artists that reflect San Francisco’s diverse communities. It will expand programs like the Community Shuttle and Junior Guides, which provide free transportation, lunch and guided tours for groups from southeastern neighborhoods. Meanwhile, SFMTA is making improvements that directly connect equity priority communities to Golden Gate Park, including launching the 29-Sunset Improvement Project this spring, and restoring 21-Hayes service to Stanyan Street this summer.
The park will retain more than 5,000 parking spaces, or 83 percent of the spaces before the closure. It also retains 80 percent of roadways for driving.