Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Parks & Nature
Published on July 12, 2022
Cars could come back to JFK Drive, campaign has enough signatures for November ballotImage: @printtemps via Twitter

Golden Gate Park’s JFK Drive has been closed to cars since April 2020, and its car-free status was a source of debate and rallying throughout the pandemic. That is, up until this past April, when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to make car-free JFK permanent, and the matter looked settled.


Folks, the matter is not settled. Just six weeks later, a group of disability advocates teamed up with the deYoung Museum, and started petitioning for a ballot measure to bring cars back to JFK Drive. And as the Chronicle reports, those groups submitted enough signatures Monday to get that measure on the November 8 ballot.  


KPIX reports that “Grassroots supporters” introduced the ballot measure to “reopen JFK Drive to cars on weekdays,” but the promenade would remain pedestrian- and cyclist-only on weekends for six months of the year. Additionally, “The Great highway would also be restored to vehicles only seven days a week from Lincoln Way to Skyline Boulevard” if this measure were to pass.


But with all due respect to KPIX, the movement may not be so “grassroots.” As the SF Standard’s Josh Koehn points out above, and as you can confirm in filings with the SF Ethics department, the entire $200,000 campaign was funded by one person — former deYoung Museum/Fine Arts Museums of SF chairperson Dede Wilsey. (The deYoung Museum is along JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. 

"We must return back to the agreed-upon compromise for Sunday, holiday and partial Saturday closures of JFK Drive — this allows for equitable access and use of Golden Gate Park for all. The Great Highway must be reopened and returned to its original use as an essential route for nearly 20,000 daily users," Access for All said in a statement. "We can give access to everyone — seniors, people with disabilities, families, children, bicyclists — all members of the San Francisco community and visitors to our city."


That campaign got 17,581 signatures, nearly twice as many as needed. But there will also be a competing measure on the November ballot to keep JFK Drive car-free. That seems confusing, but take comfort bike-lovers. If both measures pass, the car-free JFK Drive measure will supersede the other measure and prevail.