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Supervisor Chan says my way or the highway on future of JFK Drive

Board of Supervisors member Connie Chan, who represents the Richmond District, has a plan for JFK Drive. But she’s not happy that the public is being asked to weigh in on three other options, none of which exactly mimics hers.

In an email to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD) and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) on Wednesday morning, Chan told the departments that she “will not be supporting any of the options presented by your agencies unless it is the Beach to Bay Car Free option called for by the resolution.”

The email was obtained by Here/Say Media through a public records request.

Chan’s proposal for JFK Drive was approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. It calls for the roadway to remain car-free permanently—music to the ears of many activists—though it urges SFMTA and RPD to consider allowing some cars access at Eighth Avenue and Fulton Street, including for vehicles transporting seniors, people with disabilities and visitors with limited mobility.

But the resolution is not legally binding. SFMTA and RPD announced Wednesday that they have begun a public comment period with three proposed options for JFK Drive.

The first is to make the roadway permanently car-free, the second is to allow cars back on weekdays (a return to pre-pandemic traffic patterns) and the third would allow cars to enter JFK Drive on Eighth Avenue to Transverse Drive, westbound only.

The agencies will gather feedback this fall with the goal of securing a vote at the Board of Supervisors towards the end of 2021.

Chan’s proposal differs from SFMTA and RPD’s third option in that it urges the agencies to “develop options for considering managed access” to some motorists but not others. SFMTA and RPD have called the plan “difficult to implement.”

“We believe we can improve access without allowing private vehicle traffic to cut across JFK and onto the Music Concourse, which would pose significant safety and congestion issues,” said RPD in an emailed statement.

“We are at the beginning of our public outreach process which is designed to garner feedback on the options and includes a managed access option as requested in the Resolution. It is important not to circumvent that process.”

Chan did not provide Here/Say with a statement, but said her “email speaks for itself.”

However, in an email to a constituent, Chan said that the three options “should have been announced as part of the outreach but instead it was a Heather Knight article which just robbed all of us the good faith efforts that we have been putting forth,” and called the situation “very disappointing.”

Chan was referring to an SFChronicle column published Wednesday morning that announced the new options for the roadway and the opportunity for the public to weigh in.

The future of JFK Drive has been hotly contested, with critics saying a car-free JFK will limit accessibility for disabled people and supporters arguing it’s past time to make the park safe for families and cyclists by removing vehicles.

“After this [resolution], there's still a process that is going to have to be coordinated by Rec and Park and SFMTA, a public process with community outreach,” Chan said on Tuesday. “The hard work is actually still ahead of us,” she added.

Sophie Bearman can be reached at