SFTR Letter of Support for Car-Free JFK and Transit Investments

The following letter was intially submitted to Mayor Breed, the Board of Supervisors, SFMTA and Rec and Park on January 20, 2022. This letter & post has since been updated to reflect the upcoming vote on Car-Free JFK at the joint Board of Supervisors, SFCTA Board meeting happening on 4/26 at 9am.

Dear San Francisco Board of Supervisors,

April 25, 2022

Dear San Francisco Board of Supervisors,

As the voice of riders throughout the city, San Francisco Transit Riders urges you to keep JFK Drive car-free and make significant investments to improve transit access to and within the park, particularly for equity priority communities.

By coupling a car-free JFK Drive with continued investments in transit, San Francisco can live up to its transit-first policy and promote a more equitable, livable, and sustainable city for all. Car-free JFK increases the amount of safe open-space accessible to all San Franciscans. It directly benefits transit by increasing speed and reliability of the 44 O’Shaughnessy as well as encouraging the nearly 16,000 daily pre-pandemic car trips through the park to shift to more sustainable modes of transportation such as public transit.

However, while we support the permanent closure of JFK Drive to cars, it must be coupled with significant investments in transit to ensure all people — especially those living in isolated areas far from the park or with disabilities — have equitable access to the park and its amenities, and that people who previously drove through the park have adequate transit alternatives. According to the SFCTA John F. Kennedy Drive Access Equity Study Report, respondents stated that slow, indirect, and unreliable transit presented a major barrier to accessing the park.

At minimum, quick-build and transit-priority improvements that improve transit speed and reliability along the nine Muni routes that serve the park must be implemented as soon as possible with full support from the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, SFMTA and SFCTA. As operator availability allows, these improvements should be coupled with increased transit service — especially on weekends — to the park, including increased frequency on the 43 Masonic and 44 O’Shaughnessy, as well as the creation of a 29 Rapid bus to better connect residents in equity priority communities to Golden Gate Park and other destinations throughout the city. These improvements would help address the desire of respondents in the aforementioned Equity Study, who said they would take public transit to the park if there was a faster, more direct service.

While it is better than completely allowing cars back into the park, we do not recommend Supervisors Chan’s proposal or the One-Way Private Vehicle Access Loop for JFK Drive. We are concerned that these proposals will create significant delays along 44 O’Shaughnessy and, as a result, would decrease access to the park for riders that live in the Excelsior, Outer Mission, Bayview and Hunters Point. There are also concerns that these proposals would slow down the 5 Fulton and 5R, which has carried over 10,000 people per day throughout the pandemic.

Finally, we encourage the city to follow through on well-maintained paved paths and ramps to all shuttle and Muni stops, clear signage and benches at all stops within and around the park, ensure shuttle and transit wait times are less than 15 minutes and allow paratransit on all closed sections of roads within the park. Ensuring access for all people, including those with disabilities, is paramount to ensuring equitable access to Golden Gate Park.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Want to weigh in?

Write an email to your Supervisor or call in tomorrow to give public comment on how Car-Free JFK supports transit and why additional transit investment are needed to compliment access to Car-Free JFK for all.

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A rider-based organization working for excellent, affordable, and growing transit in San Francisco. Join us! http://sftransitriders.org/join

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San Francisco Transit Riders

San Francisco Transit Riders

A rider-based organization working for excellent, affordable, and growing transit in San Francisco. Join us! http://sftransitriders.org/join

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