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The fate of JFK Drive is now in your hands, SF voters

Rasmus Steinrueck delivers boxes of signed petitions regarding JFK Drive to San Francisco City Hall on Monday, July 11, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

You thought the battle over San Francisco’s JFK Drive was over? Think again

This fall, not one or two but three proposals will be on the ballot to decide the future of the street running through Golden Gate Park. 

We’ve broken them down for you.

Access for All Ordinance

An ordinance that qualified for the November ballot today is being funded by San Francisco socialite Dede Wilsey, who has bankrolled many a campaign in the city over a period of decades. 

The measure, submitted by Richard Corriea and Howard Chabner, would reverse a Board of Supervisors decision and bring cars back to JFK Drive except on Sundays, as well as Saturdays during the summer plus other holidays and special events. It would also restore car access to two other roads through Golden Gate Park—Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive and Bernice Rogers Way—plus the Great Highway and its southern extension, which the city had slated to close to cars permanently in 2023. 

In front of a small crowd on Tuesday at City Hall’s Department of Elections, the group handed in the nearly 9,000 signatures it needed to qualify for the ballot.

“How do we make policy in this city? That’s the trouble,” Corriea told The Standard. “The notion of making an emergency action permanent doesn’t resonate with a representative democracy.”

Golden Gate Park Access and Safety Program Ordinance

Already on the ballot for this fall is a competing measure, submitted by Supervisors Rafael Mandelman, Myrna Melgar, Matt Dorsey and Hillary Ronen, to codify the board’s decision earlier this year to keep cars off JFK Drive and make changes to ancillary streets nearby indefinitely. 

If it gets more votes, the supervisors’ measure would overrule any competing measure, including the Access for All Ordinance. It does not propose changes to the Great Highway. 

Golden Gate Park Underground Parking Facility Ordinance

This ordinance, proposed by Mayor London Breed, would change the management structure of the 800-space garage underneath the de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences that serves their visitors and those of other nearby attractions in the park. 

It would get rid of the Golden Gate Park Concourse Authority, which was established in 1998, transferring the management of the garage to the Recreation and Parks Department and allow the city to use public money to make changes like acquiring the garage or making parking, which can be up to $5 per hour, cheaper. 

The garage has become a centerpiece of the JFK Drive debate, as it could provide additional accessible parking to replace spaces that were removed when JFK Drive became a park instead of a car thoroughfare. 

All three measures need more than 50% of the vote to pass.