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Posted on: September 18, 2020

Golden Gate Park ‘Slow Streets’ Creates Virtually Car-Free Route from Ferry Building to Ocean

GGP Car-Free Days

SAN FRANCISCO, CA  Starting today, walkers, bikers, runners and skaters will enjoy a virtually car free route from the east end of Golden Gate Park to the ocean, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today.

Golden Gate Park Slow Streets will also provide the last link in a protected path for cyclists stretching from the Ferry Building to the ocean by connecting to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s network of low-stress bikeways, Slow Streets, and streets previously closed during the health emergency.

“Slow Streets has been a great program for San Franciscans during COVID, and this expansion will provide more room for our residents to get out, exercise, and safely explore Golden Gate Park from one end to the other,” said Mayor London N. Breed. “We know the past six months have been really challenging for everyone, but having these new open spaces in our parks and on our streets has helped keep people happy and healthy.”

The closure will be in effect throughout San Francisco’s Covid-19 response to provide more space for people to enjoy socially distant recreation in nature.

“Exercising and playing outdoors lift our spirits and keep our bodies healthy during these challenging times,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We are delighted to open even more space in our park so people can safely get out and play.”

Golden Gate Park Slow Streets will begin at Stanyan Street and John F. Kennedy Drive East on the park’s eastern tip, connecting with the stretch of JFK from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive that has been closed since April 28. The route will then continue onto Overlook Drive, then Middle Drive and  Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to Ocean Beach, where it will connect with the Great Highway, which has also been closed due to the pandemic, creating a continuous, family-friendly path from the Panhandle to the San Francisco Zoo.

While the street closure is intended to increase space for people to get outside, park users must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing. People feeling sick should stay home. While the new route is nearly car-free, there are a few spots where people strolling, running and rolling will need to look out for vehicles.

  • A 200-foot portion of the route on Transverse Drive, between JFK Drive and Overlook Drive
  • An approximately half-mile portion of the Metson/Middle Drive/MLK Drive loop near the south end of the Polo Field
  • The intersection at MLK Drive and Chain of Lakes Drive/41st Avenue
  • A 500-foot stretch of MLK Drive near Lincoln Way

In addition, authorized vehicles intended for park maintenance and ranger patrols will use the roads along the route when necessary.

Motorists can still drive through the park from north to south using Transverse Drive, Chain of Lakes Drive, and 25th Ave/Crossover Drive/19th Ave/Park Presidio, as usual.

Drivers will be rerouted from some east and westbound roads during Golden Gate Park Slow Streets, including:

  • The west portion of MLK Drive west of Sunset Boulevard, specifically from the Middle Drive/MLK loop to Lincoln Way, is closed to regular traffic. This includes Bernice Rodgers Way, between MLK Drive and JFK Drive.
  • Overlook Drive and Middle Drive, between Transverse Drive and the Metson/Middle Drive/MLK loop, will be closed to traffic. However, Middle Drive between Transverse and Overlook will remain open and available for street parking.
  • JFK Drive, between Kezar Drive and Transverse Drive, will remain closed to traffic. This portion of the road had previously been closed during the City’s initial COVID-19 response.

Golden Gate Park Slow Streets takes inspiration from the SFMTA Slow Streets initiative, which makes San Francisco more welcoming and accessible for people who want to travel on foot, bicycle, wheelchair, scooter, skateboard or other forms of micromobility. Slow Streets are critical infrastructure that attracts users of the full array of neighborhood demographics—including children, older adults, people with disabilities and people of color.

More than 30 corridors have been planned or implemented as a Slow Street throughout San Francisco.

“With so many playgrounds still closed, families need safe places to exercise,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “And with Muni service suffering, we need more cross-town routes where regular San Franciscans can feel safe making their essential trips by foot, bike, scooter, wheelchair or other micromobility device. During COVID, Golden Gate Park and its institutions are critical refuges, and we’re working to make them more accessible to all San Franciscans.”

More information on Golden Gate Park Slow Streets, including a route map and how to access park attractions, can be found here.

More information on citywide Slow Streets program can be found here.

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