letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Shut Out of Golden Gate Park

Editor,

Here is what I think the process is. Every time the senior and disability community raises legal and disability rights objections to the JFK closure that get broad support throughout the City, the pro-closure forces mobilize to either trumpet the disability access improvements they will be making, or suggest we negotiate a compromise. 

Regarding all access improvements, the operative verb here is “will be.” They aren’t making them now. They don’t even have the funding to do so yet. Meanwhile, many of us are still shut out of the park, and everyone who needs to use a car or other motor vehicle has a terrible time either reaching the park, or going around or through it.

Regarding a proposed compromise, when has any legally protected group ever given up their civil and legal rights in the name of compromise? 

Cities, like citizens, must comply with the law. Compromise is a completely different process. This garage compromise move is nothing more than a diversionary tactic. The garage is out of compliance with Title III of the ADA, period, full stop. Making the legally required improvements to the garage is NOT a concession in the name of compromise.

Furthermore, upgrading the garage to meet legal standards will not address a vast number of barriers to access to the public facilities and programs located along the eastern part of JFK Drive that didn’t exist before, but have been created by the road closure. 

Victoria Bruckner

5 replies »

  1. Ms. Bruckner’s description of what’s going on re JFK is heartbreakingly realistic and the price is being paid by those who can least afford to lose access to Golden Gate Park. All of our roads that were suddenly closed without due process for a now nonexistent Shelter-in-Place order should be reopened and restored to the way they were pre-Pandemic as promised by the officials who closed them. The outreach by agencies such as SFMTA and SF Rec and Park are clearly targeted to a specific audience with choices for answers on surveys that favor permanent street closures. Surveys should be done by independent survey takers, not by RPD or MTA. Numbers of people using the closed streets should be counted by independent agencies, not by Rec and Park employees, interns and Bicycle Coalition volunteers who have an agenda to prove that more people want closed car-free streets than those who want our streets safely shared with drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The compromise should be to share all our roads, and perhaps during the daylight hours on a Sunday to close off a section of a street from cars to hold some kind of event on it. There’s no reason to prohibit night driving. There’s no reason to prohibit driving and free parking throughout Golden Gate Park. More people drive and need to drive than can be or want to be on bicycles. Before closing any street, the public should be able to see the City’s documented evidence over a significant period of time that injuries or deaths on the street were due only to the presence of vehicles using it. No one has produced such proof regarding the streets that were closed during Shelter-in-Place. Be fair, be inclusive. Open and share JFK, the Great Highway and the rest of San Francisco’s closed streets.

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  2. Stop!!!!! There are 1200 miles of roadways in San Francisco. It is reprehensible that for two years some folks have dedicated their lives to obstruction. There is sufficient access for ALL people in Golden Gate Park nearby the Fine Arts Museum. The Entitled have utilized every tactic imaginable. Lobbyists hired by FAMSF. A vexatious lawsuit. Labeling car free advocate as some kind of spoiled minority. It’s absurd. Those who want a park free of cars will prevail.

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  3. Allow me to strike a balance. Is someone telling me that allowing the plethora of cars to enter into the park trying to find a non-existent parking spot was a good idea? Changing the parking spots to allow bicyclists to ride in-between the curb and the parking spots was … a good idea?

    At the same time, having access to the park is a legitamate concern and has nothing to do with the “1200 miles of roadways in San Francisco”. Not all of those 1200 miles even reaches the park. So why even say that?

    Why not consider public transportation options? Or how about parking areas and taking shuttles just like parking areas at Bart? The park can’t handle hundreds of thousands of cars so we need to think beyond the everyone has the right to drive to within 1000 feet of where they want to go mentality. Making that statement does not mean anti-car or anti-disability. It’s just common sense.

    This insistance upon extremes is inhibiting the obvious realization that we need investment in public transportation systems and networks.

    When we have extremes fighting each other, the obvious solutions never get proposed or created, and then everyone suffers. This is a problem that can be solved. Fighting each other in our two camps does nothing at all to solve the problem.

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  4. There are 1200 miles of road for cars in San Francisco. I continue to remind The Entitled that they flat out REFUSE to surrender what they feel is a Birthright to drive anywhere anytime. This a philosophical and political struggle. There must be a Sanctuary beyond the reach of The Entitled and their climate destroying vehicles. JFK Drive and The GreatWalkway are the proverbial “Line in the Sand”.

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  5. Why do you act like a rigid ideologue? Do you not understand that the “1200 miles” you tout include different disconnected parts of the city? Do you not realize that San Francisco has a big mountain in the middle of it which eliminates any diagonal cross travel? And then there is Bernal Heights and Potrero Hill and Knob Hill that creates even more disconnection.

    Hence you cannot act like all 1200 miles are equally accessible to certain parts of the city.

    You like the word entitled I see. I guess because you feel “entitled” to your persistent ideology positions to the point that you cannot at all see that other people have legitimate positions that are founded in the reality of living in the real world.

    But feel free to keep pounding the hammer you love to hold on the table. All it does is make noise after it has been handily refuted. All it does is irritate people when you start blaming people who have no choice but to drive cars as possessing “climate destroying vehicles.”

    Shame on those people for driving 80 miles a day because they have to commute to work, right?

    Come on Lee. Wake up brother.

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