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Golden Gate Park should be car-free during shelter-in-place orders

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To meet the demand for safe park space during shelter-in-place order

Golden Gate Park
MLK Drive in Golden Gate Park.
Photo by Getty Images

As San Francisco lives under shelter-in-place orders, mandated by city officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, cooped-up residents are looking for places to stroll while also practicing social distancing.

Like in Golden Gate Park.

Which is why pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF has launched a petition to make JFK Drive a car-free zone seven days a week (only a small section of the street is closed to traffic every Sunday and on certain Saturdays), which would help turn Golden Gate Park into an area for respite during this trying time.

“People are flocking to Golden Gate Park as one of the few places in San Francisco where walking, biking, running, and playing outdoors is possible while maintaining social distancing of at least six feet,” reads the petition. “In light of San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order due to COVID-19, I urge you to immediately create car-free space for people on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive every day of the week for the duration of shelter-in-place.”

As Streetsblog SF points out, “With the shelter-in-place order, there’s no need for so many cars to be speeding through the park on what is essentially a ground-level freeway.”

The petition also requests that the city consider additional street closures in Golden Gate Park, like MLK Drive.

The famed park, flanked on both sides by Richmond and Sunset districts, offer ample space for denizens to walk, far better than city sidewalks that break the six-foot buffer rule. If the city barred vehicles on these streets, the park would still remain banned to all events (like 4/20) and any non-essential gatherings of any size.

San Franciscans must quarantine themselves from other people at home until April 7, but can take the occasional stroll (like walking your pet) or run an errand to get essentials.