FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15, 2022
CONTACT: Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-596-1580(c); Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 617-833-7654(c)
Mayor Breed introduces legislation to make car-free space in Golden Gate Park permanent
Walk San Francisco praises Mayor for her leadership on behalf of pedestrians
San Francisco, Calif. – Today, Mayor London Breed introduced legislation to make car-free space on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park permanent. District Supervisors Mandelman, Haney, and Preston are co-sponsoring the legislation. Read the Mayor’s press release.
Pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco immediately praised the Mayor for her leadership on the lasting importance of car-free space in Golden Gate Park.
“In a city where it can be life-or-death simply crossing the street, I want to thank Mayor Breed for supporting a truly safe space for walking in our city,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “This 1.5 miles of car-free space in our biggest park has proven incredibly important for all ages and abilities.”
Walk San Francisco has been working with senior and disability groups to advocate for improved accessibility.
“The City has made positive, needed changes and commitments to accessibility as part of having car-free space,” said Medeiros. “The City just dramatically improved the free shuttle in the park, with service 7 days a week, reduced wait times, and direct connections to attractions and public transit. The City added new loading zones and replaced ADA parking spots, plus is building a 20-spot, 100% free ADA parking lot in the Music Concourse. This is a strong start, and it’s clear that Mayor Breed wants to keep these kinds of solutions moving forward.”
Mayor Breed’s press release outlines a suite of additional accessibility, mobility, and equity solutions. This includes implementing flexible pricing in the 800-spot Music Concourse Garage that directly connects to the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, plus expanding the Museums for All program for low-income visitors to include free or reduced parking rates along with museum admission.
“Mayor Breed sees how important car-free space in Golden Gate Park is – and wants everyone to be able to use it,” said Medeiros.
A wide range of groups and individuals have come out in support of a permanent car-free JFK Drive. Health professionals who support car-free JFK Drive recently sent a letter to city leaders urging its permanence. Dozens of local businesses, organizations, and preschools have officially urged permanence. Mothers Out Front, SF League of Conservation Voters, and Urban Environmentalists view a permanent car-free JFK as part of the City’s reaching its climate goals.
“Prior to the closure to traffic, JFK Drive was on the city’s list of most dangerous streets due to the number and frequency of traffic crashes,” continued Medeiros. “We shouldn’t have to worry about being hit while walking in our city’s crown jewel park. Turning JFK Drive back into a dangerous cut-through street would be a huge step backwards for Vision Zero and for everyone who uses the park.”
“Now’s the moment to decide what kind of city San Francisco is going to be post-pandemic,” continued Medeiros. “Mayor Breed clearly has a vision for a safer, healthier, more equitable, and resilient city.”
“In a city that should be much safer for pedestrians – and doing much more to encourage and inspire people to walk – car-free JFK is a must,” said Medeiros.
On April 28, 2020, Mayor London Breed officially closed a 1.4-mile segment of JFK Drive on the eastern end of Golden Gate Park from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive 24 hours per day for safe space for exercising with social distancing during the pandemic.
Car-free JFK Drive has since become incredibly popular for recreation as well as commuting on foot, bicycle, and scooter. Before the closure to traffic, when JFK Drive was just closed on Sundays, 150,000 people used it each month. Now 300,000+ do. Some months have had 400,000 and even half a million people use the car-free space.
You can read a FAQ sheet and more information about making car-free JFK highly accessible at walksf.org/carfreejfk.
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Walk San Francisco (‘Walk SF’) advocates for safe streets for everyone who walks, which is everyone. Since our founding in 1998, Walk SF has been leading the way to make San Francisco a pedestrian-first city where people of every age and ability can walk safely. Learn more.