Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pedestrian oasis in the park

Jo Stanley of the SF Examiner is the latest city reporter to muddy the garage/MLK "widening" issue: "That measure[Proposition J] permitted the 800-space underground lot but also envisioned a 'pedestrian oasis' that environmentalists charge has never been fulfilled." ("Voters May Decide Access to Proposed Parking Garage," SF Examiner, July 27, 2005)

From the text of her piece, it's clear that Stanley only talked to John Rizzo---the only Concourse Authority Director to oppose the MLK plan---and Supervisor McGoldrick. If reporters want balance on this issue---not to mention some actual information---they need to talk to Mike Ellzey, who has been Executive Director of the Concourse Authority for five years.

The "pedestrian oasis has never been fulfilled" because the Golden Gate Park project is not done yet. The "pedestrian oasis" concept is not a pie-in-the-sky promise that the city is dragging its feet on. And, as Proposition J makes clear, the concept is in reference only to the Concourse area, where, when the project is done in a few months, 200 parking spaces will in fact have been removed and access to automobiles will indeed be limited. Stanley quotes Rizzo on his fear of "fast-moving traffic" that will result from the widening of MLK. His fears seem completely groundless in the light of Ellzey's lengthy discussion of that issue in an interview I did with him last April.

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