Pedestrians and cyclists maintain social distance on John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, March 22, 2020. (Photo courtesy Patrick Traughber)

SF to close JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to vehicles for safe-distancing exercise space

Shelly Drive in McLaren Park also to close

San Francisco will close John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park and John F. Shelley Drive in John McLaren Park to vehicles make room for people to exercise while maintaining the required physical distancing of at least six feet during the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Monday.

Vehicle access on these roadways will be prohibited 24 hours a day for the duration of the health order that requires people to stay home to slow the spread of the disease. The order allows for essential trips and exercise.

The shelter-in-place order, which went into effect March 17, currently expires on May 3. But health officers said in a statement Monday that they would extend it through next month as diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, continue to increase.

“We know that people need to go outside, whether to get exercise or just clear their head, and closing JFK and Shelley Drive to cars will make it easier for people who chose to leave their home to stay six feet apart from others,” Breed said. “That said, we all need to work together to keep slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Everyone must continue to stay home as much as possible and follow all public health recommendations.”

The Recreation and Park Department will close JFK Drive to vehicular traffic from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive, as is done for the usual Sunday street closure in Golden Gate Park, city officials said. The City will close Shelley Drive in McLaren Park will close to traffic by locking the gates at Cambridge and Mansell Streets, leaving the entire Shelly Drive loop free of vehicles.

City officials noted that people over 60 years of age and people who have underlying health conditions as well as people who are sick should not leave their home.

The announcement of the park street closures to vehicles comes after the Municipal Transportation Agency announced last week the Slow Streets program, which limits vehicles on select residential streets.

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