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Advocates push to reopen John F. Kennedy Drive, Great Highway to vehicles

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Grassroots supporters are handing in petition signatures for a ballot measure to reopen John F. Kennedy Drive and the Great Highway this Monday.

If approved, the November ballot measure would reopen JFK Drive to cars on weekdays, and would be closed for pedestrians only on weekends and holidays for six months of the year. The Great highway would also be restored to vehicles only seven days a week from Lincoln Way to Skyline Boulevard.

JFK Drive closure in Golden Gate Park (SF Rec and Park)

JFK Drive initially closed during the pandemic as a way to encourage residents to enjoy fresh air, go on a walk or ride their bike. In response to its success, the Board of Supervisors voted to permanently shut down the eastern portion of the road to vehicles, turning it into a pedestrian-only street. 

Organizers of Access for All, a group advocating for those with disabilities, older adults and families living around the park, say this closure has significantly reduced parking spots and congested neighborhood streets. They also say it's greatly cut access to the park for those who depend on their car to travel around.

"We must return back to the agreed-upon compromise for Sunday, holiday and partial Saturday closures of JFK Drive -- this allows for equitable access and use of Golden Gate Park for all. The Great Highway must be reopened and returned to its original use as an essential route for nearly 20,000 daily users," reads a press release from Access for All. "We can give access to everyone - seniors, people with disabilities, families, children, bicyclists - all members of the San Francisco community and visitors to our city."

Backed by Board of Supervisors President and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, advocates will submit the signatures to the San Francisco Department of Elections at 2:30 p.m.

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