In what is becoming a pattern in the debate over a car-free JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan has introduced a rival plan to the plan around which consensus is otherwise forming.
One of the odder subplots to the quest to make JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park car-free (a debate which goes back years, but has picked up steam during the pandemic), is District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan’s offended-seeming antagonism toward whatever plan seems to be taking shape. Last September, when Rec and Parks was considering three different plans for JFK Drive, Chan proposed a breakaway, separate compromise.
This led to an unfortunate sound bite for the supervisor; her own emailed phrase “Don’t sell the people out for a Heather Knight article” (which leaked), and a terse exchange with Breed in January on the topic.
My column has been updated to note an email sent today from Supervisor Chan to several officials in Rec Park and the SFMTA. She is refusing to support any of the three options and will only back her own which transit experts have said is unsafe. Literally “my way or the highway.” pic.twitter.com/pBg0dXNhBQ— Heather Knight (@hknightsf) September 22, 2021
Well now Mayor Breed has a new car-free JFK plan she introduced last month, and it has the support of supervisors Dean Preston, Rafael Mandelman, and Matt Haney. You will rarely see these four officials agree on anything! Though notably, no other supes have signed on publicly. Plus one supervisor is against that plan, and you’ll never guess who.
The Chronicle reports that Chan introduced another dueling JFK Drive measure at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “Under Chan’s proposed ordinance, motorists would be able to drive one way on JFK Drive between 8th Avenue and Transverse Drive, as well as on the east and west portions of Conservatory Drive behind the Conservatory of Flowers,” the Chronicle reports. “The mayor’s plan would prohibit cars on most of those road stretches.
“I’m still bringing people together to evaluate this proposal, and it is open to discussion,” Chan added in a statement to the Chron.
Activists noted this was significantly different from Chan’s plan she unveiled last September.
“Supervisor Chan says she wants a compromise, but the only thing that her plan does is compromise our safety, our parks, and our values,” KidSafe SF volunteer Robin Pam said in a statement to the Chronicle (zing!). “We’re hopeful that the full board of supervisors will use their common sense and side with the mayor and 70% of San Franciscans who support a fully car-free JFK Promenade.”
What’s odd about Chan’s JFK Drive proposals is that they are not really consistent (the previous one called “for the creation of a ‘Beach to Bay’ car-free connection,” the current one allows for a fair amount of car traffic). She seems mostly committed to opposing whatever there’s a consensus forming around, rather than helping to get that proposal over the top.
The park is in her district, so certainly she is keenly interested in the outcome of this matter, and maybe her constituents’ feelings are in flux too. But Chan’s new proposal probably means continued disagreements and arguments at the board level. And if you care what happens with cars on JFK, this will keep driving you nuts.
Image: @nevergreem via Twitter