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Accessibility and Golden Gate Park: everything you need to know

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Like many of us, Carol loves San Francisco but doesn’t feel safe on many of its streets as a pedestrian. Aggressive driving and dangerous intersections are commonplace. Because she now uses a mobility scooter, Carol is lower to the ground and less visible to drivers. Just getting around her neighborhood can feel risky.

Carol’s fears are not unfounded, especially as an 81-year-old. Seniors are much more likely to be hit and killed in traffic crashes in San Francisco. People over 65 typically make up about half of pedestrian deaths each year.

But Carol has a refuge where she can enjoy our city and be truly safe. Carol goes to what’s now called ‘JFK Promenade’ in Golden Gate Park. Carol goes to this 1.5-mile portion of car-free space every chance she gets. And Carol loves all the recent accessibility improvements that the SF Recreation and Park Department and SFMTA have made.

We wanted to share an update on the many accessibility improvements in Golden Gate Park, especially with voters determining the fate of JFK Promenade on the November 8 ballot (learn more about Yes on J and N). Here’s what to know:

More ADA parking spaces in Golden Gate Park than ever.

  • A new lot with 20 free ADA spaces in the Music Concourse – right between the De Young Museum, Japanese Tea Garden, and California Academy of Sciences.
  • Five new free on-street ADA spaces along Martin Luther King Drive near the Music Concourse and Shakespeare Garden, as well as three new free ADA spaces near the Tennis Center and Conservatory of Flowers on Nancy Pelosi Drive.
  • There also continues to be 33 ADA spots in the underground Music Concourse secure parking garage.

New loading zones for pick-up and drop-off in the Music Concourse.

  • These new zones give curbside access to the De Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and Japanese Tea Garden.
  • And don’t forget: anyone is allowed to do curbside drop-offs/pick-ups for the De Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences in the underground Music Concourse parking garage; if you enter and exit either side within 15 minutes, it’s free!

Dramatically expanded free shuttle service.

  • The Golden Gate Park Shuttle now runs 7 days/week, connects to 5 different public transit lines, and has marked stops with benches. Get the details on the Golden Gate Park shuttle service. Low-floor shuttle buses that make boarding easier are coming in 2023.

Paratransit access on JFK Promenade.

  • Paratransit is allowed on JFK Promenade. Marked Paratransit van vehicles (SF Access Program) are allowed to drive on the JFK Drive where vehicles are restricted, as well as any other roadways with restricted vehicle access. Paratransit can access attractions on the Music Concourse from JFK Drive using the 8th Avenue Muni and de Young delivery entrance. As always, any type of vehicle can enter the Music Concourse from MLK Drive.

Vehicle access and parking near the Conservatory of Flowers.

  • Conservatory Drive West now allows traffic from Fulton Street, and has 18 free on-street parking spaces along it, directly behind the Conservatory of Flowers and near Dahlia Dell. There are also ADA spots nearby at McLaren Lodge and on Nancy Pelosi Drive abutting JFK Drive, which are right next to shuttle stops.

And more improvements are on the way, especially if voters pass Measure N!

There are even more improvements in the works from the SF Recreation and Park Department and SFMTA, from wayfinding to renovated curbs. Read the details. You can also view maps of accessible parking and the free shuttle route.

And if passed on November 8 by voters, Measure N would transfer ownership of the 800-space underground garage between the California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum to the SF Recreation and Park Department. This would allow SF Rec and Park to lower the garage parking rates for San Franciscans with limited incomes, seniors, and people with disabilities. Learn more about Measure N.

Learn more about the Measure J campaign to keep the safe space for people in Golden Gate Park.

Banner image by Emily Huston. Copyright Emily Huston.

Paid for by Walk San Francisco Foundation Committee to Support Props L and J (510(c)(3))

Financial disclosures are available at