Statement regarding a prolonged closure of John F Kennedy Drive
de Young Museum, "California Spring," Albert Bierstadt
The temporary closure of JFK Drive East for the duration of the shelter-in-place period has provided an important respite and recreation opportunity for people who live near Golden Gate Park. We welcome a partnership with SFMTA and SF Recreation and Parks to develop a long-term solution for safe and efficient access to the park and its museums and other attractions and facilities for people who arrive on foot, by bike, or by car. The Slow Streets Program was designed in a vacuum; park institutions and other key community stakeholders were not consulted.
The Slow Streets Program is a great imagining for the current moment. However, should the closure of JFK Drive East be prolonged post–shelter in place, it would deny vulnerable populations—such as families with young kids, the disabled, the elderly, and the economically disadvantaged—access to the City-owned de Young museum, the California Academy of Sciences, and other park institutions when they reopen. In addition, transport options are limited, and the privately held parking garage in the park is not an economic option for many visitors. Members of vulnerable populations who park on JFK Drive to experience the City’s art collections at the de Young would face a great hurdle if JFK Drive were to remain closed. Residents of the Inner Richmond district would also be affected if visitor parking pushes out into their neighborhood.
We need to work together to ensure access to the City-owned art collections at the de Young museum and to other organizations in the park for every person in every neighborhood, not just those fortunate enough to be located in the vicinity and able to access it on foot or by bike. We ask for an open planning process, informed by objective data about how community members access the park and its institutions, to best determine the most beneficial long-term use of JFK Drive.