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A new ballot measure seeks to take away car-free JFK and more

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It feels like we were just standing out on car-free JFK – now known as JFK Promenade – celebrating what we’d won together. A car-free JFK forever. And JFK Promenade keeps getting better: the free, 100% ADA parking lot just opened on the Music Concourse, the shuttle service has dramatically improved, and a suite of additional initiatives are in the works.

But despite the incredible popularity of car-free space on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park – and city leaders voting in April to make this space permanent – the JFK Promenade is now at risk.

A ballot measure filed last week with the City would take away the 1.5-miles of car-free space on JFK Drive, plus put traffic back on the car-free sections of MLK Drive and Bernice Rogers that together create a safe corridor through the entire park. The measure would also end car-free space on the Great Highway on weekends, plus transfer control of the Great Highway from SF Recreation & Parks to the SF Department of Public Works.

If the opposition collects 9,000 signatures by July 11 in support of their measure, it will qualify for the November 8 ballot.

But we need these safe, healthy, climate-friendly spaces – and they are loved by so many people. That’s why we won in April – and why we’ll win again if this ballot measure happens.

It won’t be easy given how well-resourced the opposition is. A political action committee was just set up in support of the ballot measure and is sponsored by the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums (the parent organization for the de Young Museum) and the Open the Great Highway Alliance.

Yet I know firsthand how many of you stepped up in countless ways during our car-free JFK campaign last fall and this spring. 10,000+ of you sent postcards to your Supervisors. Thousands sent emails, gave public comments, and showed up at rallies. Hundreds of you volunteered thousands of hours. Climate leaders, health care professionals, and moms visited every single Supervisor’s office in person before the final vote. The list goes on. It was simply incredible.

So while I had hoped (very much!) the car-free JFK campaign was over, I know that with all of you, we’ll come out victorious once again.

So stay tuned, and I’ll see you on JFK Promenade.

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Banner image by Sergio Ruiz