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Park Detours People with Disabilities – Streetsblog San Francisco


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Street safety advocates are calling out the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks for blocking handicap ramps and an access road in Golden Gate Park that connects Music Concourse Drive and Bowl Drive.

As explained in this Twitter post, the culprit is the generator that powers the park’s Ferris wheel:

“Looking at Google Maps, the way they placed it, it looks like they haven’t really thought about it,” Pi Ra, director of Transit Justice at Senior and Disability Action, said in an interview with Streetsblog. As seen in the satellite view below, the generator, placed between the two zebra-striped crosswalks, completely blocks a pedestrian route from the JFK promenade to the Music Concourse and museums:

A birds-eye view of the generator, the white box near the top, just left of center, blocking crosswalk and ADA access between Music Concourse Drive and Bowl Drive. Picture: Google Maps

Technically, blocking these ramps is legal because, as shown in the main image and below, there is a detour. “There is another crosswalk accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approximately 200 feet south of the closed crosswalk, just at Bowl and Music Concourse drives,” wrote Daniel Montes, manager. of Rec and Park communications, in an email to Streetsblog. “The placement was ultimately chosen because it met specific criteria, including maintaining the minimum distance of 20 feet between the generator and all structures, as required by the San Francisco Fire Department. In addition, the location reduces the impact on the landscaping and its visibility since placing the generator on the lawn would block the irrigation.

Montes also provided a photo of the alternate route:

The alternative route around the Ferris wheel.  Photo: Park and Rec
The alternative route around the Ferris wheel. Photo: Park and Rec

“The site has been reviewed and approved by the Mayor’s Office of Disability,” he added.

It may be, but disability advocates describe it as ticking the ADA box instead of truly considering the needs of the park’s most vulnerable visitors.

“I know that when I worked on the ‘Get to the Sidewalk’ report with Walk SF, we recommended that the City provide ramps along curbside bike lanes (with float parking) at least every 100 feet. So having to travel 200 feet feels like a pain to me,” wrote Cathy DeLuca, transportation consultant and advocate for seniors and people with disabilities.

Note that it’s 200 feet to the alternate crosswalk and 200 feet back.

In Streetsblog’s opinion, there’s a reason the ramp and route are there. For an able-bodied person, a potentially 400-foot round-trip diversion might not be a big deal, but for someone with mobility issues, every extra foot can be a burden. Streetsblog also poked fun at one of the reasons given for placing the generator there: “The location helps reduce people crossing at Bowl Drive, eliminating congestion and vehicular traffic issues,” a Montes writes.

So basically the city approved the diversion of people in wheelchairs to reduce delays for motorists. Forcing people in wheelchairs to take a detour to save weed or to avoid a slight inconvenience to drivers seems inappropriate and callous.

If they didn’t want to kill weed, it’s perfectly possible to put the generator on Bowl or another of the roadways, diverting motorists instead of people in wheelchairs. Motorists also have the option of using the tunnels under the Music Concourse at Fulton and MLK to access the area.

Instead, the park has put all the burden on people who need wheelchair ramps to get around. “At the end of the day, it’s accessible, but it’s not practical,” Pi Ra said. “Too much of the city goes through the ADA law, which is a minimum. We can do better than that. »