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Ballot measure would take away car-free JFK – but we won’t let it win

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Opponents have likely succeeded in putting a measure on the November ballot to take away car-free JFK (now known as JFK Promenade).

The ballot measure would remove the 1.5-miles of car-free space on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, 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, prevent the planned Great Highway Extension closure to address coastal erosion and sea level rise, plus transfer control of the Great Highway from SF Recreation & Parks to the SF Department of Public Works.

Opponents still don’t see how essential these car-free spaces are for our health, safety, and climate – nor how popular they are. More than 300,000 people use the JFK Promenade each month!

And the City has been working quickly to get a suite of improvements in place to improve mobility in and around Golden Gate Park, including the free 100% ADA parking lot in the Music Concourse, new taxi stands near the de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences, improved transit service to the park, and expanded free shuttle service between key park destinations and transit. More solutions are in the works, too, like low-floor shuttle buses and more affordable rates at the 800-spot Music Concourse parking garage for those who need to drive.

But here’s what we know from our car-free JFK campaign last fall and spring. Not only do huge numbers of people love these safe spaces, many of you will do everything possible to keep them. And you know that Walk SF will, too.

So while this isn’t going to be easy, together we will prevail in keeping JFK Promenade forever. Let’s hit the ground running, shall we?

With just 16 weeks until Election Day, Walk SF is already gearing up. There’s no time to waste in organizing to defeat the opposition’s measure and pass the countermeasure to enshrine JFK Promenade’s permanence.

Especially because we know the opposition is very well-resourced. A political action committee was set up in support of the anti-car-free 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. The Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums has an annual budget of more than $50,000,000.

Walk SF has believed in these car-free spaces from the very beginning for one reason: safety. In a city where an average of three people are hit every day while walking, we need significant safe spaces for pedestrians. It’s that simple. This campaign is about our safety, and these spaces are critical in making San Francisco a city that prioritizes people on our streets.

Banner image: Sergio Ruiz