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Car-free space on JFK Drive and Shelley Drive during shelter-in-place starts today

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It’s happening. JFK Drive is now closed from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive 24 hours per day during shelter-in-place for safe space for exercising with social distancing.

The entire two-mile loop of John F. Shelley Drive in McLaren Park has also been made car-free during this time. As shelter-in-place orders are now extended through May, this is especially welcome news.

Walk SF began calling for a car-free JFK Drive early on in shelter-in-place. When we asked others to join us in this call back in March, nearly 1,500 people sent emails to city leaders within just 72 hours!  

This didn’t lead to an overnight victory, obviously. But our collective call for a car-free JFK Drive clearly resonated as a win-win for health and safety. And we continued to ask city leaders to support safe space for walking with social distancing during shelter-in-place. Creating this space is necessary both for exercise – and to reach essential destinations. This is especially urgent in the Tenderloin and Chinatown neighborhoods. 

Then finally last week, safe space for walking got momentum. San Francisco launched Slow Streets: closing some initial city streets to traffic except for delivery vehicles and residents (and all of Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin was closed!) The Presidio Trust created a 4.5-mile car-free loop. And today, our two biggest parks now have significant car-free space. 

I want to thank all our Walk SF members and activists for voicing your support for safe, people-first streets. 

And I want to thank our city leaders, who we know are dealing with so much right now. Take a moment to share your gratitude for car-free space in Golden Gate Park and McLaren Park.

We must push the city to protect the safety of people walking once things return to “normal,” too. Now’s the time for the city to implement strategic traffic enforcement, install proven ways to make crosswalks safer, and fix the most dangerous streets with the highest numbers of people walking.

Step by step, let’s keep winning the changes needed to create the healthy, safe, and resilient city we need San Francisco to be.

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