Coronavirus: Calls mount for San Francisco to close streets for cars in 'social distancing' era

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Coronavirus: Calls are mounting for San Francisco to close streets for cars in 'social distancing' era
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After recent images of crowded California parks and beaches were shared nationwide, calls are mounting for San Francisco to close streets for cars in 'social distancing' era.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Given the unprecedented shelter-in-place order for the Bay Area, a growing number of people in San Francisco want to see the city take steps to socially distance even further. On Monday, Mayor London Breed said she was keeping the parks open for now but was growing frustrated with the number of people not keeping their six feet of space in outside areas.

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"This is really about public health and public safety, and so we really don't want to get to a point where we have to close down everything in order for people to comply," Mayor Breed told ABC7 in an interview. "We know people need fresh air, they need to get out with their families that they live with, that is most appropriate, but when you start adding friends, you're having meet-ups, you're playing volleyball and you're crowding the beaches, and you're not doing what we've asked you to do by social distancing from other people who are not a part of your household, you are putting lives at danger."

With walking being an acceptable activity under the shelter-in-place order, many Twitter users have asked city leaders to close off most San Francisco streets to car traffic, arguing the sidewalks are especially narrow to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Users were quick to post a few examples of possible streets to shut down, including Divisadero, Marina Blvd., parts of the Embarcadero, and JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park.

RELATED: 'Go home!' Bolinas residents plead with visitors to turn around as crowds flock to beach towns during shelter order

Online images and videos went viral of cars and people, seen lining up to go hit the Stinson Beach area in Marin County over the weekend, as well as other parks around the Bay Area.

It forced California Governor Gavin Newsom to close parking lots at state parks. Marin County parks also closed on Sunday.

On Saturday, SF Rec and Park decided to keep JFK Drive open, citing health officials who were concerned the move would encourage gathering.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has not commented on possible street closures.

"As long as people work with us to follow the order, we will allow the spaces to remain open. But if we notice that it's problematic and people continue to gather at Ocean Beach or at Dolores Park or Crissy Fields in large numbers, we will take action," Mayor Breed said.

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