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50 Years of Car-Free Sundays in Golden Gate Park

It’s “People’s Day in the Park” celebrating the 1967 closing of JFK Drive to traffic.
By - posted 4/1/2017 No Comment

The Sunday closure of Kennedy Drive to automobile traffic has proven to be the most successful program of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. Thousands of San Franciscans and others from throughout the Bay Area and beyond flock to the park on Sundays when there are no cars.

The closed roads become a safe recreational paradise for runners, walkers, skaters, cyclists and others who are looking to escape the pressures of the fast paced city lifestyle and enjoy themselves in a lush, green sylvan environment.

Sunday, April 2, 2017 will be the 50th anniversary of the closure of Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park to car traffic. In 1967, as the hippies were flocking to the Haight Ashbury for the Summer of Love, the name Main Drive in Golden Gate Park was changed to John F. Kennedy Drive. Kennedy Drive has been closed to automobile traffic every Sunday since.

The first Sunday closure began with a small ceremony on Sunday, April 2nd, 1967. It was called the “People’s Day In The Park.”

People’s Day In The Park
Sunday, April 2, 2017 | 2 pm
Skatin’ Place, 6th Ave. & Kennedy Drive, GG Park

  • To commemorate that event, they have planned to present the 2017 version of Peoples Day in the Park. Come walk, run, skate, bike, dance, scooter, jog, segway, skateboard, listen, watch and enjoy the “recreational asphalt” that makes Sunday in Golden Gate Park such a fantastic experience.
  • There will be a Roller Skaters’ Showcase at Skatin’ Place, 6th Ave. and Kennedy Drive beginning at 2 pm. Roller skaters from throughout the Bay Area will roll in to show off their skills on the wheels. There will be single, pairs and group performances. There’s even a segment for the audience to come join in the line dance as part of the “Cupid Shuffle.”

This event will mark the beginning of a new effort to close Kennedy Drive to car traffic all weekend long. That was the intention 50 years ago and they will work towards that goal in 2017. As it stands now, they have half of the Sunday closure on Saturdays for half of the year. They believe it’s time to make the Saturday closure of Kennedy Drive exactly like the Sunday closure.

It has been said that San Francisco is losing its history and its soul. It is and always has been up the people to keep it alive. Come celebrate Peoples Day in the Park. The event is free. There’s no entry fees, no ticket sales, just a funky good time in Golden Gate Park.