Should JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park stay car-free? Public opinion requested

Bay Area

Bicyclists ride in Golden Gate Park during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco, Thursday, May 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — You can help determine what happens to several pedestrian, bike and car routes around San Francisco as officials discuss changes to the pandemic street closures.

San Francisco recreation and transit officials closed off streets throughout the city when the COVID-19 pandemic started, such as John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park.

It allowed some areas to remain car-free so more people could safely spend time outdoors when health officials were recommending staying home or away from crowded indoor spaces.

Officials want to know if these street closures should stay permanent, be modified in some way, or just go back to how it was before the pandemic.

“Public feedback is critical to determining the post-pandemic future of JFK Drive and we are eager to hear your thoughts and experiences,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Golden Gate Park belongs to everyone, so neither safety nor access can be an afterthought.”

Anyone is welcome to give their input through scheduled online office hours, in-park tours, and the program’s Online Open House and survey.

The Golden Gate Park Access and Safety Program will submit its recommendations to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in late winter after sifting through public feedback and discussing the best path forward.

Program officials reported that 36% more people used JFK Drive to walk, bike or skate than before the pandemic. In numbers, it nearly 7 million people took advantage of the car-free street.

Recently, San Francisco decided to reopen the Great Highway to car traffic after it was closed off during the pandemic. However, car usage is limited to Monday-Friday, with a weekend closure for pedestrian and bike access only.

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