Green light for park road closure

A compromise to close down a stretch of roadway to cars in Golden Gate Park on Saturdays — similar to a road closure on Sundays — was adopted Tuesday but not without criticism.

The decades-old debate about a Saturday road closure in the park was seemingly over after Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office brokered a compromise in April between those for and against the road closure.

The closure had been the subject of two defeated ballot measures as well as legislation that was vetoed by Newsom. Opponents had argued that the Saturday closure would exacerbate traffic and parking problems as well as decrease attendance at the park’s cultural institutions. The closure was supported by such groups as the San Francisco Bike Coalition.

The compromise decreased the amount of roadway to be closed compared with Sunday’s closure and halved the length of time that the closure would last to six months. The parties agreed not to revisit the debate until 2011.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday in an 8-3 vote legislation codifying the compromise. Supervisors Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd and Michela Alioto-Pier opposed it.

Chu said she was “worried about” the effect on traffic once the Academy of Sciences opens next fall, and also how the closure would affect the museum’s revenue.

Elsbernd said he would have preferred to see in the legislation that the closure would end in 2011.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who introduced the bill, said the compromise should be applauded. “We’re doing something to offer recreational and healthy opportunities for all peoples,” he said.

John F. Kennedy Drive will be closed from Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive (near the entrance to the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences) to Transverse Drive. As a result of the deal, Saturday’s closure is about half of the 1.7 miles of the road that is closed on Sundays.

IN OTHER ACTION

BOARD APPROVES MUNICIPAL IDS: In a 10-1 vote, a city program that would issue city identification cards to illegal immigrants and other San Francisco residents was adopted. The cards are meant to ensure access to city services.

PROPOSAL TO LIMIT CHAINS IN

MISSION: Supervisor Tom Ammiano introduced legislation that would prohibit formula retail stores — chain businesses with 11 or more locations — from opening up along Mission, Valencia, 16th and 24th streets. Chain stores are currently prohibited in North Beach and Hayes Valley.

PUBLIC FINANCING AMOUNTS INCREASED: In an 8-3 vote, the amount of public financing available to candidates in Board of Supervisor races was increased from $43,500 to $87,500. The spending cap candidates must adhere to in order to receive public financing was also increased from $86,000 to $140,000. Supervisors Elsbernd, Chu and Alioto-Pier voted in opposition.

WORK PROGRAM PROPOSAL APPROVED: Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi’s legislation centralizing the city’s work force development efforts, implementing performance measures and requiring annual approval of a spending plan was unanimously approved.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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