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City shuts down vehicle traffic on two key park thoroughfares

After weeks of calls from bike and pedestrian advocates, San Francisco officials will finally cut off vehicle traffic on John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park beginning Tuesday morning.

Advocates have said shutting down the thoroughfare inside the park will help people physically distance from others who may be out exercising or walking their dog.

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department will close JFK Drive to vehicular traffic from Kezar to Transverse drives as of 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Aaron Bialick/SF Streets Blog JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park will be closed to through vehicular traffic beginning Tuesday, April 28, 2020 to allow more pedestrian room for physical distancing during the Covid-19 shelter-at-home order in San Francisco, Calif. (Aaron Bialick/SF Streets Blog).

Additionally, the department will shut out vehicular traffic on John F. Shelley Drive in John McLaren Park.

Mayor London Breed said in a statement:

“We know that people need to go outside, whether to get exercise or just clear their head, and closing JFK and Shelley Drive to cars will make it easier for people who choose to leave their home to stay six feet apart from others. That said, we all need to work together to keep slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Everyone must continue to stay home as much as possible and follow all public health recommendations.”

Echoing Breed’s sentiment, Dr. Grant Colfax said:

“We need to continue to do it safely. Springtime weather and our extended Stay Home Order make it tempting to gather outdoors, but to protect each other from the coronavirus we need to keep up San Francisco’s good work: staying 6 feet away from anyone outside our households and covering our faces.”

Barnett, Benjamin/SFMTA The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has mapped out an initial list of streets that will prioritize pedestrians and bicyclists as part of its Slow Streets Program announced on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

Stressing the importance of parks during the stay-at-home order, Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg said:

“Now more than ever, San Franciscans are relying on our parks and urban trails to relieve stress and give a sense of familiarity during this unprecedented time. Parks aren’t a luxury; they are a necessity.”

Last week, The City announced a Slow Streets Program where the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will review possible residential streets to close some vehicle traffic to give residents more space to practice social distancing.

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