JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park celebrates 4 years car-free as SF looks to do more

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Monday, April 29, 2024
JFK Promenade at SF's Golden Gate Park celebrates 4 years car-free
JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park celebrated four years car-free on Sunday as the city says it's looking for more ways to prevent traffic injuries.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Four years ago, JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park was shut down to cars.

JFK Promenade -- as it's now known -- is now a car-free space 24/7.

It was an effort that started during the pandemic and has become a permanent fixture.

Many say it is an example of making streets safer for pedestrians.

And while keeping JFK Drive clear of cars was cause for celebration Sunday, some say much more needs to be done to prevent serious injuries on San Francisco city streets.

RELATED: Residents rally to keep JFK Drive in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park car-free

For many, it was another beautiful Sunday at Golden Gate Park.

But on this day -- with bikers, strollers, runners, even a pedal powered VW Bug -- hundreds of people came out to celebrate another year that JFK Drive has been car-free.

"We're really excited to have a car-free space in San Francisco. This was a dangerous street. Now all it does is park joy," said Jodie Medeiros with Walk SF.

Parents like Tammy Tu are grateful for the safe space.

"It's really awesome. You get to ride and feel safe with your little ones," Tu said.

MORE: Vision Zero: San Francisco recommits efforts to eliminate traffic deaths a decade later

Mayor London Breed first made JFK Drive car-free during the pandemic so people could have a place to come and be socially distant.

It became permanently car free thanks to measures that passed at the polls last November.

Rollerblader Michael Kashian-Morin is ecstatic about that.

"Opportunities in the city to have everyone come to gather in a community environment is something to really nurture as a city. I'm all for keeping this the way it is," said Kashian-Morin.

Since the West Portal fatal accident a few weeks ago, there's been a big push to recommit to Vision Zero, the policy to end fatal traffic crashes.

"We are not trying to get rid of cars," said Mayor London Breed. "We want to make sure we balance that with the right infrastructure that leads to safety and efficiency."

Just this week, SFPD released this 32-page plan to help slow drivers down.

As part of a 6-month pilot project, police will step up enforcement in 10 of the most dangerous intersections in the city of San Francisco.

A map showing the traffic injury hot spots in San Francisco is pictured.
A map showing the traffic injury hot spots in San Francisco is pictured.

SFPD says enforcement will come in waves.

This new crackdown on speeders comes at a time when data shows that the number of traffic tickets given by SFPD has dramatically dropped due to staffing or regulations.

A graphic listing the totals for traffic citations in San Francisco since 2014.
A graphic listing the totals for traffic citations in San Francisco since 2014.

"We're encouraging the police to do this, to make sure people know that our laws are going to be enforced. They are going to be focusing on speeding, which is the number one cause of crashes and fatalities," Medieros said.

Walk SF says there's a multi-pronged approach to make San Francisco streets safer.

Besides the added enforcement at intersections, the city is adding dozens of new speed cameras.

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