The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
September - October 2007
Is San Francisco mayor flouting traffic law in Golden Gate Park?
San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department has stopped enforcing a 2005 law restricting auto traffic in Golden Gate Park's Music Concourse.
As a result, on a typical Saturday the Concourse, declared a "pedestrian oasis" by voters, now has over 400 cars per hour traveling through it, just as before the ordinance. Until this past June, park rangers had been preventing cars from entering except for dropping off visitors at the De Young Museum.
The mayor's office denied knowledge of the problem. "To my knowledge, the Recreation and Parks Department has not stopped traffic enforcement in the Concourse," said a spokesperson for Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Recreation and Parks Department staff, however, told Sierra Club advocates that the mayor's office ordered the department to stop enforcement. The mayor's office does not have the authority to order that the city ignore a law.
The Golden Gate Park Concourse Traffic Circulation Ordinance of 2005 bans north-south traffic through the Concourse, permitting only museum drop-off traffic. The ordinance was the result of a year of negotiations between parks advocates and the De Young Museum, which fronts on the Concourse. The 2005 compromise relaxed the previous ban on traffic in the Concourse mandated by 1998's Proposition J. Prop J was written to authorize the construction of a parking garage in Golden Gate Park, and the Sierra Club agreed not to oppose J largely because of the promised traffic ban.
Sources say that in June the De Young lobbied the mayor's office to open up the Concourse to all traffic. The museum claims that the recently enacted partial closure of John F. Kennedy Boulevard negatively impacts access to the De Young, and that the 2005 Traffic Circulation Ordinance was making things even worse.
The De Young Museum did not return our phone calls.
The 2005 Traffic Circulation Ordinance was negotiated in good faith to implement a pedestrian-oriented space mandated by the voters. The lack of enforcement has created traffic congestion and pollution to the detriment of all visitors.
Contact Mayor Gavin Newsom's office at (415) 554-6131 or email gavin.newsom -at- sfgov.org
Tell him to enforce the law and respect the 2005 compromise limiting traffic in the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse.
© 2007 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
|EXPLORE, ENJOY AND PROTECT THE PLANET|