San Francisco’s cyclists cheer a road less traveled. Museums mourn it.

San Francisco’s cyclists cheer a road less traveled. Museums mourn it.

From the top of the Hamon Observation Tower at the de Young Museum, with its sweeping views of San Francisco, John F. Kennedy Drive cuts a gentle curve through Golden Gate Park below. It is, these days, a road without cars, set aside for pedestrians and bicyclists since the beginning of the pandemic, which forced the museum to shut down for nearly a year. But as the de Young comes slowly back to life, this six-lane road has become a flashpoint, pitting two historically influential constituencies — cultural institutions and park enthusiasts — against each other in a divisive debate about public space, the arts and the priorities of a city rethinking its future after the pandemic. For parkgoers, closing the road to cars has shown what can be and should be: A broad boulevard that cuts through the city’s premier park, transformed into a safe, quiet refuge for people to enjoy
From the top of the Hamon Observation Tower at the de Young Museum, with its sweeping views of San Francisco, John F. Kennedy Drive cuts a gentle curve through Golden Gate Park below. It is, these days, a road without cars, set aside for pedestrians and bicyclists since the beginning of the pandemic, which forced the museum to shut down for nearly a year. But as the de Young comes slowly back to life, this six-lane road has become a flashpoint, pitting two historically influential constituencies — cultural institutions and park enthusiasts — against each other in a divisive debate about public space, the arts and the priorities of a city rethinking its future after the pandemic. For parkgoers, closing the road to cars has shown what can be and should be: A broad boulevard that cuts through the city’s premier park, transformed into a safe, quiet refuge for people to enjoy