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Apr-5-2013

“Car-Free Saturdays” begin in Golden Gate park tomorrow; through September

We just saw a post from Rec & Park about the introduction of Car-Free Saturdays in Golden Gate Park, beginning tomorrow, April 6.

Every Saturday through September, JFK Drive from 8th Avenue down to Transverse Drive, will be closed to vehicular traffic.

The usual, year-round Sunday closures to traffic in the park will also be in effect.

Spread the word and get out there to enjoy the open streets on your bike, roller skates and more.

Sarah B.

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1:30 pm | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Traffic | 14 comments
  1. LLCoolJew said:

    Thanks for letting us know, Sarah! In fact, I’m on my way to the park shortly, and you’ve just saved me a lot of hassle, knowing that my usual route is unavailable.

    I use the park over 100 times a year for exercise, and another 100+ times a year a shortcut across town…. point being that I use it equally for recreation and commute.

    That said, I wonder if Saturdays AND Sundays are a little much?? I’m beginning to feel that it is. What does everyone else think?

  2. Rick said:

    Finally!! I honestly feel that we should close JFK to cars entirely. It’s not a commute path: it’s a park. We don’t have a ton of car-free spaces in San Francisco, and I hate that even when I go to our biggest park, I’m still breathing exhaust and hearing the noise. Fulton and Lincoln parallel the whole way (as do every other parallel street north and south…) so it just feels silly to have JFK even be an option for commuters. I’m with NYC on this one and say close them down all the time.

  3. Ben in SF said:

    In return for closing JFK on a more frequent basis, I’d like to see the Museum Concourse/Tea Garden Drive open legally for driving through the park after a certain time (such as after 8 PM or after dark). It’s a hassle always to have to go around as far as Stanyan or 19th Ave. to get to 9th Ave. shops. Of course late at night I sometimes pass through that way, but only when dropping penguins off after an outing. Closing that road to cars was not actually ever mentioned in the GG Park garage ballot measure. Fine during the day that it’s mostly closed. I’ve finally gotten used to it. (No, the 43 doesn’t go by my door, sad to say).

  4. Fred Norris said:

    What I enjoy about this is that former supervisor Jake McGoldrick (Eric Mar’s mentor), brokered a deal to have JFK Drive closed on Saturdays for 6 months out of the year when the voters voted to keep JFK Drive open on Saturdays ALL year long. McGoldrick decided a “compromise” needed to happen because he values his opinion over the will of the voters. Basically, he took away our votes. Your vote doesn’t count to the progressives if you vote against their policies. They just take your vote away. Sounds like communism to me.

    Remember that when you have to deal with Eric Mar. The supervisor that lets Synergy, a construction company, tear up our streets for a sewer pipe replacement project that was supposed to take 6 weeks, drag on for 7 months in one three block area of the Richmond. Again, his office did nothing to the point residents worked through Ed Lee’s office instead to get things done.

    Eric Mar. He’s only about banning Happy Meals. And then admitting he loves to eat at Jack in the Box.

  5. Rick said:

    Fred: It’s fine that you disagree with/hate Jake and Eric, but JFK hasn’t been voted on since 2000, which was 13 years ago, and it was a 45/55 split at the time. Over the past decade, the tone has dramatically shifted in the meetings I’ve attended to a point that it seems much more likely that there’s support from San Franciscans should we vote again.

    I also hate this polarization “progressives” vs “conservatives” bull. Just because you agreed with 55% of the city vs. 45% doesn’t mean you can put yourself on a high horse. California voted for Prop 8 too.

    Also, double check your understanding of communism. I’m curious how you think your vote in 2000 and today’s car-free Saturdays represents a classless and stateless social order built on common ownership of the means of production.

  6. Fred Norris said:

    @Rick I’m not arguing progressives vs. conservatives. I’m arguing progressives vs. Democrats. I see the progressives like the left’s version of the tea party. Both extremes are just that, extreme. 55% is the majority in a democracy. It’s not a compromise. Obama won the most recent election. Does that mean Obama gets to serve 2 years and then Romney the next 2 years as a compromise? Once you start to compromise democracy as Jake McGoldrick did, your vote does not exist.

  7. Fred Norris said:

    @Rick Also in Central Park in NYC, the roads are open all the time through the park. I have no idea where you got the idea the roads are closed in Central Park. I’ll check the definition of communism if you check on the road openings in Central Park, ok?

    Also, there are many many places in Golden Gate Park that are open without noise and traffic. Sounds like you haven’t explored the Park enough. You must have moved here from somewhere and are not a SF native.

    Also, have you ever been in the Sunday (and now Saturday) gridlock on Lincoln and Fulton? The problem is not the number of parallel streets to JFK but the number of streets that cross JFK from outside the park. Once you block Arguello, 8th Ave, etc. from traffic, Park Presidio and 19th Ave. becomes backed up as well. Your only alternative to crossing Golden Gate Park if you are going towards the Sunset District is now Stanyan and the Great Highway. The top and bottom of Golden Gate Park. That’s a lot of extra blocks if you need to use a car on the weekend in the Richmond. And sorry, not all of us are able bodied to ride a bike everywhere. Some of us need to use a car for kids, grandparents, the handicapped, and moving objects such as multiple bags of groceries.

  8. Rick said:

    From the Central Park website: http://www.centralparknyc.org/visit/general-info/rules-regulations/

    West Drive is only open to cars 8am-10am weekdays — HOV only.
    East Drive is only open to cars 3pm-7pm weekdays.
    Center Drive is only open to cars 7am-7pm weekdays.
    72nd Street is only open to cars 8am-10am weekdays.

    “You must have moved here from somewhere and are not a SF native.”

    Really? That’s where your argument is leading you? You’re correct: I’m not a native. I’ve only been an SF resident since 1989. I guarantee you I’ve explored Golden Gate Park quite thoroughly, however. In fact, I’ve even volunteered there for almost 8 years. But thanks for the red herring attempt to discredit me.

    I understand you need to use a car, and I never said you shouldn’t. I simply am arguing that a park is an inappropriate place to drive a car through, particularly when you’re driving *through* the park to get somewhere, rather than going *to* the park.

    I commute over the bridge from the sunset to Mill Valley every Sunday, mid-day. I’ve certainly encountered traffic, but nothing more than a couple minutes through crossover drive. I head from 7th Avenue. I’m sorry, but an extra minute or two is more than worth having a park more human-friendly.

    The SFCTA studied all corridors through golden gate park, comparing Saturdays and Sundays, the latter of which had JFK closed. The difference in traffic backups varied from a 16% increase in traffic to a 7% decrease. The 16% increase represents a 1.2-minute increase in driving time, on average. Is that really worth getting upset about? Do you regularly commute through Golden Gate Park on something other than Crossover, Stanyan, maybe Chain of Lakes, or Great Highway, and does that save you so much time that your potential inconvenience is worth ensuring safety and human enjoyment comes second?

    GGP saw a 20-45% increase in people after JFK was closed on Sundays, and surrounding businesses reported an increase of almost 50%. Even if you see a decrease that’s *double* what the SFCTA reported from the Richmond to the Sunset (ie., it takes you two minutes longer), IMO that’s more than worth it…

  9. Reed said:

    @Fred

    “Also, there are many many places in Golden Gate Park that are open without noise and traffic. Sounds like you haven’t explored the Park enough.”

    Pop quiz: What’s the farthest you can be away from a road in Golden Gate Park?

    A: 1074 feet, or about 90% of the way between 8th Street and 9th Street in SoMa. (i.e., 1 block.) That’s at the Golden Gate Park Golf Course, just south of the Archery field.

  10. Jeffrey Gray said:

    This shutdown affects a tiny portion of the park and is most welcome in this Richmond residents opinion. I love seeing the roller skaters, the kids learning to ride their bikes, the people strolling down the middle of the street and the lack of cars, parking, etc. It transforms for a brief period, the park, from parking lot into the oasis it was designed to be.

  11. TinyTim said:

    While I do not live in the Richmond or Sunset but understand issues related to parking by visitors in the park’s adjoining neighborhoods, I cannot believe how we can call GGP a park, with all the traffic that is allowed through it. Lincoln and Fulton (and other parallel streets) provide sufficient east-west travel. And to allow diesel tour buses throughout, other than to dispatch visitors at the museums, is an abomination. The park was created as a refuge from the fast pace of urban life and all this traffic, especially from April through October, detracts from a much sought-after quiet interlude. Try to sit on that park bench near South Lake and watch the great blue heron wading while traffic is streaming by and honking at the nearby intersection. Try riding your bike having to watch every car door for that sudden opening into your lane or try dodging all those cars looking for parking spaces. If you have the energy to run, play rugby, frisbee or walk briskly, then you can take a bus and walk into the park or to the polo field. Special permits can be given to disabled who have no options and frequent shuttles, both within the park and from outside, like from Arguello, 9th Ave. and 19th Ave, connecting with MUNI, can provide ample additional transit. We just need to be a little creative. You do not see this kind of auto saturation in European parks or in Central Park–situated in a much more densely-populated city.

  12. Susan said:

    Thanks Sarah for this heads up – seems like something that should have been publicized much more in advance – I didn’t see anything in the Richmond monthly paper, or anything from Mr. Mar’s office….. very frustrating if you’re trying to go North -South on a Saturday!

  13. Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog San Francisco said:

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