|Some city residents who have been working for years to close a
portion of John F. Kennedy Drive n Golden Gate Park to Saturday car traffic, have been
revisiting the idea. Although Propositions F and G were similar proposals that voters
defeated in November 2000, Supervisor Matt Gonzalez has been sponsoring an ordinance that
would make 'a portion of the Golden Gate Park free of motor vehicles on Saturdays.
argues that his proposed ordinance differs from Prop. F and Prop. G because it proposes a
closure of a shorter span of JFK Drive from Kezar Drive to 8th Street and includes the
some side streets as well: Arguello Boulevard; Conservatory Drive East and West; and
Bowling Green Drive from JFK Drive to Middle Drive East. Prop. F and Prop. G proposed the
closure of JFK Drive from Kezar Drive to Tranverse Drive. The proposed ordinance is
receiving a similar response to opinions voiced con cerning Prop. F and Prop. G. While
many park users who currently enjoy the partial closure of the park on Sundays support the
proposal, the park institutions are opposed to the idea because of the potential negative
,impacts on traffic and parking to the institutions and the surrounding Richmond and
The park institutions, such as the deYoung Museum, Conservatory of Flowers; and
California Academy of Sciences, are concerned that patrons may find it difficult to access
their facilities, said Carolyn Mcmillan, sopkesperson for the Fine Arts Museum of San
Although the de Young Museum would be closed for renovations until mid-2005, the museum
officials would not support a closure until more progress is made with the underground
Music Concourse garage, Macmillan said.
Once the Environmental Impact Report concerning the concourse garage is completed and
certified - scheduled for August or September - then the museum officials would not be
opposed to the Saturday closure ordinance, Macmillan said.
Ron Miguel, who owns property in the Richmond neighborhood, said the Saturday closure
proposal should be held off until the EIR for the Concourse garage is completed, since
that EIR would provide the Saturday closure proponents with a great deal of information
that may be redundant in an impact report ,compiled for the Saturday closure.
"The Saturday closure is mistimed," said Miguel, the president of the
Planning Association for the Richmond. Pat Kociolek, executive director of California
Academy of Sciences, said Gonzalez's sponsored proposal does not adequately address the
needs of all park users and those who live in close proximity to the park.
During a hearing on the proposed ordinance January 24 in the Board of Supervisors'
Housing, Transportation and Land Use Committee, Gonzalez said every time the proponents of
the ordinance try to meet the institutions' needs, the institutions create more
requirements or needs. "They keep moving the goal posts," Gonzalez said.
Supporters of the measure agree.
David Miles, A Resident who has been working. to close the park on Saturdays since
1985, said it has been difficult trying to appease the institutions. "Every time we
compromise, it seems like they want us to compromise even more," Miles said. Miles
said the last time the ordinance supporters met with the de Young officials about a month
ago, the muse um officials were saying that the closure should be temporary - while the de
Young, Museum is closed - and should be rescinded .once the museum is opened to study the
possible traffic and parking impacts on its patrons.
While Miles was initially opposed to the idea, he later agreed to it, he said. But by
that time, the de Young representatives were opposed to the idea, Miles said. Macmillan
said it would be more difficult to stop the Saturday closure once it is implemented.
"We are not for it because we believe there needs to be a comprehensive
plan," Macmillan said.
Supporters of Saturday closures have been meeting with park institutions, Recreation
and Park Department officials, and community members to discuss the issue since January
2000, said Leah Shahum, a Saturday closure supporter and a member of the Bicycle
Coalition. Shahum said the Bicycle Coalition strongly supports the legislation.
"It's important to create more car-free space so people, especially families could
have a safe outdoor space to use without the threat of cars," Shahum said.
Miles said the Saturday closures should be' implemented for people who work or are busy
on Sundays and do not have a chance to enjoy the car-free portion of the park. "The
closure fulfills a mission of the park: to give people a place to enjoy themselves and get
away from the hustle and bustle of life",Miles said.
Paul Maltzer, a planner of the city's' Planning Department, said an EIR needs to be
conducted to study the traffic and parking impact the proposal would have on the
neighborhood. Gonzalez said the area for the closure should allow for plenty of cross
traffic between the neighbors of the park and sufficient access to the institutions.
However, an EIR should be completed to ensure that the proposal would not bring about
significant negative impacts, Maltzer said. The report should be completed in a few
months, Maltzer said.