Return of Healthy Saturdays

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By Steven T. Jones
The city's long-awaited study of road closures in Golden Gate Park was released yesterday, offering clear evidence that closing JFK Drive to cars on weekends is extremely popular and has no significant negative impacts to attendance at the park's museums, access by those with disabilities, or traffic congestion in the intersections around the park. Mayor Gavin Newsom last summer vetoed the Healthy Saturdays six-month trial closure after a deceptive opposition campaign that was waged by De Young Museum directors and advocates of unfettered automobile access to the park. At the time, Newsom pledged to study the issue and support it if there was empirical evidence supporting closure, which there now seems to be. Asked about the report today by the Guardian, Newsom said "I haven't seen that" and ignored further questions on that and other topics. Newsom communications director Peter Ragone told us, "We're in the process of digesting it and deciding how to move forward."
Sup. Jake McGoldrick, who sponsored the legislation last spring, said he will reintroduce it at the board meeting this Tuesday and was confident that we'll see Golden Gate Park partially closed to cars this summer. "It spells out a very positive picture," McGoldrick told us. "Anecdotally, we knew all this, but now we have the empirical data laid out."