letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Why Play on a Public Street?


Why do some people say it is fun, even necessary, to play on a public street? 

My parents warned over and over not to play in the street, so I played on lawns, and playgrounds, and wooded areas. Golden Gate Park has plenty of these areas, yet we have a small group of activists that insist that we need to close JFK Drive, the street most badly needed by museum goers. 

There are at least two better alternatives that would not impact other people, but they insist it has to be JFK. This is equivalent to the “slow street” people insisting that Lake and Cabrillo streets are not enough, that they need to close down a few blocks of Park Presidio or Geary boulevards. Or, how about Fulton? 

My choice for closure, if needed, would be Middle Drive, just south of the Polo Field. The surface is smooth and clean, perfect for roller skating. And no one needs to park there. Or, how about the whole park west of 43rd Avenue? I used to skate in the park every Sunday and one day was enough, so why all week, all day? I used to bike to the park and ride all the way to the Polo Field and never had to ride along a public road. We really don’t need a dirty car-free street to play on. 

As for safety, just closing the far east end of JFK would eliminate speeding drivers. They would have to take Fulton instead, where everyone speeds anyway, so they would fit right in. If JFK were dangerous, what about all the folks who have to walk across Fulton now just to get into the park, putting their lives in danger? And who thinks it is safe to walk or skate with speeding bicyclists sharing the same space? 

Closing JFK also blocks the easy route from the Inner Richmond to the Inner Sunset. And it pushes all the street parking over to MLK, where you can’t park anywhere near the museums unless you get there before 10 a.m. Closing JFK is a bad idea. 

Chad Krimmel, 40-year SF resident 

Categories: letter to the editor

3 replies »

  1. Thank you for a voice of reason. I say give the bikers Middle Drive to play on and continue to allow ALL residents and visitors the convenience and safety of parking on JFK to visit the nearby attractions, especially for the seniors and disabled, many who will be unable to visit the park attractions again because of the permanent closure,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up in SF and often used the short JFK drive to get to Sunset and to Oak. Totally agree with not closing JFK and using the Middle Drive as a car-free zone. The car jams on Stanyan are terrible and add to pollution. Opening the eastern end of JFK (maybe with more stop signs to slow speeders) makes alternate access to Oak and Lincoln available again.


  3. Hear hear! And why not turn the Panhandle into an eight lane highway, and Octavia Blvd! And convert the Embarcadero into one too, to ease the cross-town traffic trying to get to the Golden Gate Bridge! All those pedestrians crossing Van Ness and Lombard (aka “the 101”) are taking their lives into their hands by crossing that busy surface level street! Make it all a highway! What? What’d I say? Where’s everybody going?


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