JFK Drive west of Crossover
After much delay, San Francisco will finally resurface the western end of John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park. Sometime this month a contractor will grind down the badly-worn roadway between Transverse Drive and the Great Highway and replace it with new, smooth asphalt. Rick Thall, Recreation and Parks Department Project Manager, confirmed that the contract has been awarded and the long-awaited work should be completed by the end of November.
Anyone who has walked, biked, or driven this pitted, pocked, cracked, and shredded pavement from Transverse Drive to the Great Highway can appreciate the need for an asphalt makeover. But none of this is news to the city. The 2003 Golden Gate Park Bicycle Improvements Study* recommended repaving the length of JFK Drive "prioritizing the section west of Transverse in the westbound lane." The east end was repaved but not the western segment.
More recently RPD expected to award a contract this past April and begin repaving the rest of JFK Drive in June with funds from Prop 40, the 2.6 billion dollar bond measure passed by California voters in 2002. But then the state budget crisis led to a fiscal freeze and another delay. Now, unless new difficulties appear, the work is about to get underway.**
The JFK Drive contract involves pavement renovation but no replacement of sidewalks. The eastern end of JFK from Crossover to Stanyan Street currently includes a solid stripe outside the parking lane that suggests a biking lane without actually installing one. The new paving further west may include a similar stripe but the narrower lanes won't permit either an adequate biking area or a dedicated bike lane -- unless parking is removed (sometime in the future).
Plan for a huge celebration when the repaving is completed, and bicyclists -- as well as motorists -- can enjoy one vastly smoother and much safer ride the length of the city's premier park. (Actually I intend to gather with friends on JFK when the work begins!)
* The study was prepared for the Golden Gate Park Concourse Authority by Leah Shahum and Joshua Hart of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
** Unfortunately, Martin Luther King Drive -- also in unsatisfactory condition in many areas -- will not be resurfaced at this time.