June 16, 2006

A daily report on the happening in Golden Gate Park(ing lot)


Yesterday morning Park Patrol issued 26 citations to commuters crossing the Concourse. The fine is $103, or $2,678 to the General Fund. The paradox in all this is Warren Hellman is paying to have his fellow drivers cited.

WAH? As part of the promise of Warren Hellman’s Prop J, $1.5 million was “donated” for traffic and transit improvements (actually mostly for consultants to thank about traffic calming and funding the Free Park Shuttle which will end in October without other funding). When the Board of Sups approved the “Traffic Calming Plan” for the Concourse last August, which put all the roadways back in the Concourse, it also made it a violation to use these roadways for anything but accessing the museum(s). AND, the Board also voted to revisit the “Plan” in a year and see it really was working. Geee, guess what? 90% plus of the traffic currently in the Concourse is unrelated to the museum. Surprise, Surprise. As a result, the Concourse Authority is implementing and funding enforcement with what little is left of Warren’s money. The city Police and Park Patrol have more important business, but are randomly staffing enforcement for a fee.


A Golden Gate Park Music Concourse Traffic Advisory, ‘Aviso de Trafico,’ mailed and handed out by the Concourse Authority, clearly states in three languages that on June 19th, 2006 citation for $103 will be issued to drivers ignoring the black and white signs posted high up at the entrances to the Concourse.

On the afternoon of the 19th I did a little count and e-mailed this note to the Concourse Authority.

Rec and Park is sitting on a Gold Mine!
On this first Monday of enforcement of “No Thru Traffic” in the Concourse (deYoung CLOSED) how are we doing?

With stopwatch, dog, and ball in hand I sat at the foot of Francis Scott Key, through the ball and counted cars in 15 minutes chunks.

No enforcement was in place, by the way. (The Park Patrol have a very long list of facilities that must be locked up every afternoon.)

In the Concourse, north and south, at 5:00pm the rate was 268 cars/hr. At 5:20pm it raised to 348 cars/hr.

By contrast, I walked through the empty garage and did a count on the “legal” cross park route, Middle Drive East. At 5:30pm there were 336 cars/hr.

As a comparison, I did a count on Middle Drive April 2,2004, just after the Concourse was closed. Middle Drive East 5:00pm 464 cars/hr. Before the closure, Wilbur Smith counted Middle Drive East, weekday peak at 152 cars/hr and the Concourse at 1,012 cars/hr.

Assuming these numbers are accurate for average weekday peak, what does this mean Class? Though traffic in the eastern end of the Park is increased with the Concourse reopened, it is down 41% from 2004. Commute traffic in the Concourse has returned. Can they be trained to not use the Concourse with $103 fines? Certainly at $55/hr, the going rate for park staff, today in one hour they could have made $35,844. A veritable gold mine!!!

If we staffed Tea Garden and Concourse Drives with sufficient officers on a 24 hr. basis we could expect annual revenue in excess of $100,000,000 taking into account that at least 1/3 of the cars would be passing through for the first (and last) time.”

Soo, Tuesday afternoon at 4:15, I again approached the Concourse, stopwatch in hand, and at the southern entrance, from MLK, I found a city Police, lights flashing, turning cars around and sending them back out of the Concourse. At the northern entrance from JFK, Marilyn Duffey, consultant to the Authority, was stopping every car, handing the flyers through the windows but giving then one last “pass” to drive through the Concourse. At 6pm when I skated back through, no active enforcement was present.

What’s this all mean? The current signage is not discouraging many from using the Concourse to cut through the Park. Certainly, overall traffic is way down from 2004. Writing tickets randomly for violations will certainly ruining some peoples day and create an uproar, but will it really discourage everyone? Could proper signage work? Drivers see black and white signs as "informational." IF baring all but muni and drop off from the Concourse is legal, which is a big question, serious DO NOT ENTER signs are respected the world over:

It is obvious that the current effort to forbide all but museum related traffic in the Concourse is a failure. Sadly, when the roadways were replaced as before the die was cast.



June 16, Pavin' the Park

June 6th, The Polo - Field of Screams

June 1, Inner Sunset Community Meeting on Homeless

May 31, The Public/Private Partnership in Public Parks

May 28, Art coming to a meadow near you.

May 25 LOST IN THE FOG or Homeless in Golden Gate Park

May 23, Those That Ignore History...

May 22, Faces of the Bay to Breakers 2006

May 20, An Open Letter to the Mayor: How can we take back our Park?


May 18, DEDE to allow some of her Oscars to be viewed by visitors to her museum.









































Remember it's not a Park it's a Parking Lot.