|He said city officials should also look
at closing other streets on the western end of the park, such as Martin Luther King Jr.
Drive, running east-west, and several access roads on both the north and south sides.
proposal, Yaki said, buys time for de Young officials to move forward with a bond measure
to repair or rebuild the quake-damaged museum, and it buys time for The City to work with
environmentalists on alternate transit in the park to make visitors less dependent on
cars. He also said his plan would allow for enough street parking in the park to eliminate
the need to build a garage for museum-goers - a hot-button issue with environmentalists
that sank a 1996 ballot measure to rebuild the museum at its present location.
"This is the only chance we have, I believe, to keep the de Young in Golden Gate
Park," Yaki said.
The move comes as a grassroots campaign to retain the museum's park site gains momentum
and has put The City's elected leaders in a politically prickly position. Leading the
charge to keep the status quo are children's advocates and those who cite the museum's
historic ties to the park. .
"Children have lots of options in an urban area to play on concrete, and painfully
few to play on grass, especially in an area that also has cultural opportunities like
Golden Gate Park," said Joe Wilson of Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth.
"I don't think people in this city want to lose that."
Under Yaki's proposal, John F. Kennedy Drive, the main east-west road in Golden Gate
Park, would be reopened to cars from Kezar Drive near Stanyan Street to the Boat House
Drive entrance at Stow Lake on Sundays.
The section has been closed to automobiles on Sundays for more than three decades. In
exchange, JFK Drive would be off limits to cars on Sundays - and possibly Saturdays - from
Stow Lake to the ocean. .
Harry Parker, director of The City's Fine Arts Museums, which includes the de Young,
looks favorably at the proposal."It has a real beauty in its simplicity," Parker
said. "I think the proposal is very much worth looking at. If it could be achieved,
it really could solve the access problems for us on the weekends."
Since the failure of the bond measure last year, the de Young's board of trustees has
voted to move the museum out of the park and is eyeing a downtown location. The two sites
on the table are the Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets and an open-space
parcel near the Embarcadero Center between Clay and Washington streets.
Brown weighs in
Mayor Brown, who has been pushing for the museum to move to the Transbay Terminal site,
believes Yaki's proposal merits study, according to his spokesman P.J. Johnston.
Parker has said that moving from the park could nearly double the number of visitors,
to more than 1 million a year. If Yaki's plan to allow motorists direct access to the de
Young on weekends is approved, Parker said the museum likely could survive in Golden Gate
Park, which he prefers because of its physical beauty. But, he added, the proposal is
going to be a hard sell. He said The City may place another bond measure on the ballot
When told of Yaki's scheme, David Miles, president of the Golden Gate Skate Patrol,
said he loves the idea of expanding the ban on cars to Saturdays. But give up the one-mile
stretch of JFK Drive that's now auto-free on Sundays? .
"No way in hell. We would fight tooth and nail to stop that from happening said
Miles, who's one of hundr;ds of skaters who twirl, jump and strut on an asphalt stretch of
JFK centered near Sixth Avenue on Sundays.
Paul Dorn, chair of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's task force on Golden Gate
Park - one of the main backers of Saturday park closures - called the proposal;
interesting, but stopped far.short of endorsing it. He said he's skeptical that it will
generate enough support to become reality.
Something for everyone
Joel Robinson, acting general manager of The City's Recreation and Park Department,
said he believes the plan could meet everyone's needs. "You're opening up twice as
much space as you already have for the skateboarders and bicyclists, while opening up
accessibility to the cultural institutions," he said.
Robinson said he will present Yaki's proposal to the Recreation and Park Commission
next month. If the plan doesn't win backing from the commission and his colleagues at City
Hall, Yaki said he will move forward with an earlier proposal to put the Board of
Supervisors on record in support of a downtown home for the deYoung.
The downtown proposal was scheduled for consideration later this month, but now with
the new plans looming, the hearing has been postponed until October to gauge public's
opinionand political support.