Dear city leaders: health care professionals support car-free JFK Drive
A fast-growing group of health care professionals is speaking out in support of car-free JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park as a critical piece of public health infrastructure. The letter below was sent to city leaders on March 3, 2022. If you’re a health professional who wants to sign onto the letter, add your name here.
March 3, 2022
Dear Mayor London Breed, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Board of Directors, SF Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and the SF Recreation and Park Commission:
As health professionals, we tend to people in our emergency rooms, physical therapy centers, hospitals, and clinics who have been in traffic crashes every single day.
Around thirty victims a year in San Francisco are so gravely injured that they do not survive. Then there are the hundreds of people who survive traffic crashes in San Francisco every year. Many suffer fractures, traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding, and other life-altering injuries that often require months if not years of recovery. Survivors also often contend with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. The aftermath of traffic crashes ripples through families and society, and undermines all of our safety and wellbeing.
As health professionals, we work not only to treat the injured, but to prevent people from visiting our trauma centers and rehab hospitals in the first place by advocating for strong public health systems and policies. One way to do this is to support spaces like car-free JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, which has proven to be a powerful public health solution that provides people of all ages and abilities with opportunities for safe recreation and active transportation.
Volumes of medical and public health research establish the connections between time spent outdoors and our mental and physical health. Even ten minutes of activity a day lengthens a person’s life. Walking supports brain health and memory. Physical activity and time outdoors is a behavioral preventative against depression.
But you don’t need to consult a medical journal. Spend an hour or two on JFK Drive. Witness firsthand what happens when a significant amount of street space is designated for people, not vehicle traffic. You can see and feel the necessity of this 1.5-mile stretch. More than 300,000 people now use this space each month, and more continue to discover it. Many more travel now along car-free JFK Drive every day – walking, bicycling, skating, by scooters and by wheelchair – than the number of vehicles that drove on it before the pandemic.
Perhaps if someone wasn’t sent to San Francisco General Hospital every 15 hours on average after being injured in a traffic crash, we wouldn’t need car-free JFK Drive so desperately.
Perhaps if we weren’t in a climate crisis that threatens the health of all of us – but particularly the poorest, most vulnerable people around the planet, car-free JFK Drive wouldn’t be so imperative.
We do need spaces like this as a city. Car-free spaces feel safer and are safer. They encourage people – young, old, and the mobility challenged as well – to try out other ways of getting around. Though it was first put in place as a pandemic response measure, JFK Drive has become a critical piece of public health infrastructure in San Francisco. It also supports shifting more trips to climate-friendly modes of transportation.
Among many lessons this pandemic has taught us is that investing in the health of our communities makes us all better off. While change is always challenging, San Francisco has a proud tradition of leadership in medicine and public health. We as health professionals urge you to keep JFK car-free in perpetuity.
Mark Adams, RN
Andrea Anderson, PT, DPT, Owner and Physical Therapist, Tempo Physical Therapy
Serena Blacklow, UCSF medical student
Carol Blecker, LCSW
Kevin Brandstetter, MD
Sari Bushman, Sari Bushman, RN, ANP
Patrick Callahan, Clinical Research Coordinator
Dylan Carney, MD, MPH
Deborah Cohan, MD MPH, Professor, UCSF
Rebecca Cordes, RN, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Emergency Department
Samantha Costantini, MD
Kathleen Donohue, RN, UCSF Medical Center 13 ICU
Karen G. Duderstadt, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN, Clinical Professor Emerita, University of California San Francisco School of Nursing
Ellen Eisen, ScD
Janice Elzinga, Unit Director, UCSF Health
Peter Emblad, MD, FACEP
Len Finocchio, Dr. P.H.
Julie Fukuda, Program Manager at the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Center
Olivia Gamboa, MD, Hospitalist and Palliative Care Physician
Dr. Stephen Gamboa, MD, MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept of Emergency Medicine, UCSF
Susan George, MD
Annelise Goldberg, MD, SFDPH
Jay Graham, PhD, Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley School of Public Health
John Grant, MD
Sydney Griffith, Asst. Study Coordinator at UCSF
Joanna Hauser, RN NP
Carisa Harris-Adamson, PhD
Eitan Homa, MD
Ellen Hufbauer, MD
Sarah Irvine, RN
Sang-Mo Kang, MD
Jennifer Krasnoff, MD
Kerry Kulstad-Thomas, LCSW
Isabel Lee, MD
Jenna Leta, RN, UCSF
Ruth Malone, RN, PhD, Professor Emerita of Nursing and Health Policy, UCSF
Will McKleroy, MD
Wendy Marussich, RN, PhD, PMHNP(c)
Joanna Mattson, RN, PHN
Hallie Mayo, Private Medical
Catriona Miller, UCSF Neuroscape & UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics Clinical Research Coordinator
Malia Miller, BSN, RN
Maggie Ming, RN, BSN, CCRN
Dr. Heidi Moseson, PhD MPH
Ulrike Muench, RN, MSN, PhD
Erin Muladore, DNP, RN, PMHNP-BC
Jen Nossokoff, PA-C
Elizabeth M. Noth, PhD, MPH
Emilie Osborn, MD, MPH, Retired Family Physician
Julie Ososke, RN, FNP
Elizabeth Ozery, MD
Vishal Patel, MD
David R Pepper, MD
Joshua Pfaff, RN, BScN, CCRN
Shane Poole, UCSF
Rita Redberg, Professor of Medicine
Aaron M Roland, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, UCSF
Adam Sacks, MD
Jessica Schachtner, Clinical Research Coordinator
Monique Schaulis, MD, MPH, Past President San Francisco Marin Medical Society
Dr. Meg Schwarzman, Physician and Researcher, UCSF and UC Berkeley, MPH
Shannon Smith-Bernardin, PhD, RN – Assistant Professor UCSF
Carl Stein, MHS, PAC
Avril Swan, MD
Sara Syer, MS, PA
Vincent Tamariz, MD, Medical Director Pediatric Emergency Department, California Pacific Medical Center
Anne R. Waldrop, MD, Stanford Hospital and Clinics
Justin White, PhD, Associate Professor, UCSF School of Medicine
Anne Wiley, RN, BSN, UCSF Medical Center
Luoping Zhang, Professor of Toxicology at School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
If you’re a health professional who wants to sign onto the letter, add your name here. Questions? Contact Aly at email@example.com.