Car-free Saturdays near

Golden Gate Park kicks off its second summer of car-free Saturdays on April 5, and organizers are hoping for a quieter season compared with the controversy that surrounded the plan’s inception in 2007.

Through Sept. 27, John F. Kennedy Drive will be closed to cars between 10th Avenue and Transverse Drive, as will Middle Drive West from Transverse to Metson Road and Stow Lake Drive between Stow Lake Drive East and JFK. The park is already closed to motor vehicles on Sundays.

Efforts to launch the car-free Saturday plan last year, dubbed Healthy Saturdays, caused major battles between the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. A compromise led to the season kicking off a little later, in mid-May 2007.

Those involved also agreed not to debate the issue again for five years, according to Andrew Thornley, program manager with the bicycle coalition.

Newsom’s spokesman said he expected the second year of car-free Saturdays to go smoothly.

“Healthy Saturdays is intended to stimulate park usage, increase recreational opportunities and attract visitors,” said Nathan Ballard, spokesman for Newsom.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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