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San Francisco voters ensure stretch of JFK Drive remains closed to cars

Voters Decide: Supporters rally in favor of Prop J which would keep SF's JFK Drive carless
Voters Decide: Supporters rally in favor of Prop J which would keep SF's JFK Drive carless 01:13

SAN FRANCISCO – More than 61 percent of San Francisco voters rejected Proposition I -- a measure that would have reopened John F. Kennedy Drive to vehicles -- according to unofficial election results on Tuesday night. 

Prop. I would have made the 1.5-mile stretch of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park accessible to vehicles, except for on Sundays all year, and Saturdays in summer months and during holidays. The Great Highway would have reopened to car traffic as well.

In May, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to keep cars off the road after it initially closed during COVID-19 shutdowns.  

Opponents of the board's resolution, including Supervisor Shamann Walton, argued that the closed roadway made it harder for people dependent on cars and public transit to access the park and museums, especially those with disabilities. 

Joe Arellano, spokesperson for Prop. I, said political leaders should still be mindful of the "swath" of residents who supported the measure and do better to reach compromises in the future. 

"Tonight's results ensure that Golden Gate Park's crown-jewel amenities will remain permanently closed off to people without the physical ability or financial capacity to access the park," the campaign stated. "It is disheartening that voters chose to limit access to JFK Drive and the Great Highway, instead of supporting the shared use of our public roads." 

Also on the ballot was competing Proposition J, made in rebuttal to Prop. I by those who found the roadway and other connector streets closed in Golden Gate Park to be essential open spaces.  

Nearly 60 percent of voters approved the measure, according to preliminary election results, though Prop. I's failure is enough to ensure the roadway remains a promenade. 

Labeled the Safe Parks for All Measure, Prop. J was backed by pedestrian and bicyclist interest groups and supervisors Hillary Ronen, Rafael Mandelman, Myrna Melgar and Matt Dorsey.  

Proponents argued that the stretch of road between Crossover Drive and Stanyan Street needs to be protected after it grew into a bicyclist, runner and walker haven.

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