Letters: Dialogue necessary in proposed Golden Gate Park road closures

“De Young Museum tries to slam brakes on making Golden Gate Park car-free Saturdays year-round,” The City, Oct. 25
Dialogue necessary in proposed Golden Gate Park road closures

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco is committed to being a welcoming place that is accessible for everyone. This article misrepresented our stance on the proposed road closures in Golden Gate Park. No formal proposal or request of any type has been presented to FAMSF, and we have no plans to “block” said proposal when it is put forth.

We absolutely agree that there are too many incidents impacting bikers, pedestrians and automobiles in Golden Gate Park. Simply put, the current design of traffic flow no longer supports the steady population growth that San Francisco has seen over the past 10 years. Our aim is to partner with key stakeholders to identify a holistic solution that addresses these and other safety concerns in the park. We continue to ask for a forum or process where all parties can come together to have an informed conversation. Some broader needs that should be addressed are:
– An overall reduction in commuter/through traffic within Golden Gate Park.
– More effective traffic calming methods.
– Dedicated protected lanes for bicycles to transverse the Park that do not intersect with those for automobiles.
– Automobile access for those with disabilities, families with small children, and guests from the broader Bay Area.
– More lighting and presence of Park Rangers for pedestrian safety after dark.
– Increased Muni routes to Golden Gate Park, especially during weekends and holidays.
– Dedicated access to loading docks, which are imperative for moving art and overall operations of the de Young.

The negative tone of the article has set a counterproductive forum for resolution. We are concerned about simply adding additional short-term, stop-gap solutions that do not properly address the broader underlying issues. We propose a dialogue with all stakeholders including but not limited to: the California Academy of Sciences, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, San Francisco Recreation and Park and residents of the Richmond and Sunset districts.

The safety of visitors to Golden Gate Park and related traffic flows should to be reconsidered as they are not meeting the needs of all key constituencies. It is evident that a well-thought-out solution is needed. We would like to lead that conversation.

Max Hollein
Director and CEO
Fine Arts Mueseums of San Francisco

“Parents push for student transportation without cars,” The City, Oct. 22
Easy solution to school transportation

The report of Board of Education angst over the number of pupils forced to attend non-neighborhood schools without walking, bicycling or using public transit ignores historical facts created by past and present Board of Education members.

In the Richmond in 1970, a “politically correct” Board of Education (and before the term was even conceived) began forced busing of pupils from the Richmond and certain Sunset schools. The premise was falsely based on prior racial segregation, not by law, but by residence.

At that time, San Francisco’s population was about 740,000. School district attendance was about 92,000, kindergarten to high school. Some of us of different racial and ethnic backgrounds fought such contrived “desegregation.” We followed then-Supervisor John J. Barbagelata with an initiative to elect Board of Education members to replace mayoral appointments ordained by the 1932 San Francisco Charter. We litigated unsuccessfully until the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a U.S. District Court judge who permitted such unjustified destruction of neighborhood school attendance.

Now, San Francisco’s population exceeds 850,000. School district pupils have declined to approximately 56,000. The Board of Education for years trickily evaded Proposition 208, a state constitutional initiative approved strongly by California voters in 1996, which prohibits using race in public education, public employment and public contracts.

After 47 years of social tinkering, why hasn’t the Board of Education effectuated Bayview public schools as educationally desirable as those in Pacific Heights, the Marina, Richmond or Sunset? Board of Education members like the one who wanted to change the name of George Washington High School because its namesake, the first president of the United States, was also an owner of slaves, now want to restore at taxpayer expense transporting pupils by school district buses from one end of The City to the other. Their insouciant slap in the face to remaining San Francisco public school pupils and parents and guardians can be stopped by allowing all public school pupils to attend (and walk or bike) to neighborhood schools.

Quentin Kopp
San Francisco

“Why San Francisco needs to build 5,000 homes annually for 20 years,” In My View, Oct. 5
Housing supply can’t meed demand

Todd David’s op-ed ignores the major factors driving up rents in The City. San Francisco is already the second-densest city in the country. We have no more chance than New York did to build our way to lower rents because the demand to reside in a city like ours is almost infinite. No amount of supply can meet that demand. Furthermore, the Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance doesn’t apply to units built after 1979.

The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition doesn’t invite people to its meetings if they express criticism of a project. David is on the assembly line and has the breathless style of a pitchman and true believer. He is not pursuing the interests of our residents, but only his own gravy train.

Richard Hack
San Francisco

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