The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department has just released a plan for improved shuttle service along JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park.
This, presumably, is in anticipation of the continued road closure of JFK Drive to cars. The shuttle improvements should be made anyway, but they do not provide equal access to the disability and elder communities.
First, they will supposedly run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every 15 minutes on weekends. On weekdays, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. every 20-25 minutes and on holidays until 8 p.m.
Second, according to the Rec. and Park press release, persons with disabilities can park at nearby blue zones.
The reality is, persons with disabilities will have to make their way to a shuttle stop, then stand 25 minutes waiting for a shuttle – with no shelter and no seating – to laboriously load into the shuttle, which could take as long as 20 minutes.
Then laboriously disembark, return, to then wait again at an unsheltered stop with no seating for another 25 minutes. Then they will need to embark, laboriously disembark to return to their starting point and make their way back to their cars.
That is just physically impossible.
Third, the shuttle buses are inhospitable to the various kinds of disabilities many of us endure.
Rec. and Park seems determined to continue the road closure with callous disregard for the suffering it creates. Thousands of people with disabilities continue to be excluded from accessing Golden Gate Park as long as the road closure continues.
Our time is just as valuable as everyone else’s. These shuttles are only useful to those who are fit enough to stand in all kinds of weather, which most of us are not able to do. There is no concern for the pain we are in and of the impossibility for us to meet the requirements to use the shuttle.
The road closure is excluding elders, the fragile, those with disabilities, as well as all of the multi-generational families from neighborhoods far from the park from having access to everything along JFK Drive. The park belongs to everyone, not just the able-bodied, entitled, elite who live near the park.
There is no equal access without reopening JFK Drive to cars. The 24/7 road closure was promised to be temporary, until the City reopened.
The City has reopened. Reopen JFK Drive now.
Categories: letter to the editor