During the April 26 Joint Special Transportation Authority Board meeting with the Board of Supervisors, board members unanimously approved the Golden Gate Park - John F. Kennedy Drive Access Equity Study. The study explored barriers that exist to access the park, particularly for people living in Equity Priority Communities furthest from the park in Districts 3, 10, and 11.
In early 2021, the Transportation Authority convened the Golden Gate Park Stakeholder Working Group to determine shared values and priorities to inform park access planning and long-term operations of John F. Kennedy Drive. The Working Group developed an Action Framework to aid in the ongoing planning process and identified a need to improve access to Golden Gate Park for communities of color, especially in the city’s southeastern neighborhoods.
District 10 Transportation Authority Board Member Shamann Walton requested an equity study to better understand the use of JFK Drive to access the eastern portion of the park. The Transportation Authority's Neighborhood Program provided $200,000 in half-cent sales tax funds to support the Golden Gate Park - John F. Kennedy Drive Access Equity Study.
Through phone and email surveys, focus groups, and an intercept survey, the equity assessment found pre-pandemic access equity to the park was mixed for people traveling from Equity Priority Communities in Districts 3, 10, and 11, and that all JFK alternatives have the potential to reduce transportation barriers. The final report includes an equity assessment of three alternatives for the future of JFK Drive proposed by the SFMTA and SF Rec Park:
- Restoring vehicle access to JFK Drive
- Maintaining the car-free closure of JFK Drive
- Restoring partial vehicle access to JFK Drive
The findings from the study do not recommend a JFK alternative but indicated that all alternatives improve access to varying degrees, based on complementary programming such as parking provision, shuttle operations, and affordability programs.
During the meeting, SFMTA and San Francisco Recreation and Parks staff also presented the Golden Gate Park Access and Safety Program, which featured numerous strategies to improve access, equity, and mobility in the park as well as Mayor London Breed's proposal to retain the current car-free configuration for JFK Drive, while Supervisor Chan presented her modified one-way vehicle circulation option. The one-way JFK Drive option was referred to Land Use Committee pending environmental analysis.
After a lengthy public hearing, the Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 to approve the car-free configuration for JFK Drive.