Thursday, May 21, 2015

Golden Gate Park(ing) - Refuge for the Weary Motorist

Don't let all the green fool you.  Golden Gate was built for cars, not stupid pedestrians & bikers.
Have you ever been in San Francisco and found yourself tired of pedestrians having the right of way with clearly marked crosswalks?  Have you thought to yourself, "why can't there be a place for me and my car without all those stupid bike lanes?"  Well boy do I have a place you will love.  It's called Golden Gate Park and once you step wheel into it you'll immediately realize it's built on a cartopian dream that takes nature and collides it with the convenience of vehicles.  It was meticulously designed to make anyone who walks or bikes in it feel like a Grade A loser. Here are a few highlights:

#1 - Pedestrians Don't Matter!

Secret pedestrian crossings are everywhere in GG Park. They may be in the form of faded paint, obstructed signs, or simply unmarked crossings with none in sight! 
Sure, there are some trails through Golden Gate Parking, but you'll notice bipetal movement of any kind simply does not matter and is often shunned by the street design.  Golden Gate Park has gone to great lengths to hide pedestrian crossings to the point where you could walk thousands of yards and wonder where you should cross!  It's just another way of saying, "get in a car, dummy."

Other pedestrian crossing areas are nestled in between lush obstructed landscapes around cars going at least 25 miles per hour.  What better way to say "why aren't you in a car like a normal person?"
#2 - Bikes Have Plenty of Places to Not Belong

Don't let Google fool you dear motorist, I highlighted the areas where there are bike lanes. Google foolishly assumes you can bike on some of the trails but you'll see the park signeage says otherwise. 
There was so much frustration and pushback on any kind of bike lanes on even a small amount of the stroads in an the urban park, that bikers will be hard pressed to find any coherent bike path of any kind.
 Don't worry about bike lanes.  They are either wedged between parked cars or near speeding traffic!  Yay Cars!
And if it's not amazing enough that there are barely any noteable bike lanes in Golden Gate Park my dear motorists, it gets even better!  There are literally dozens of places that bikes DON'T belong in Golden Gate Park! You were wrong about those bike paths, Google, so very wrong.

Golden Gate Park knows that, for some stupid reason, some people actually want to bike in a park.  Fear not!  They know enough to ban bikers, but not build bike lanes. 
A few idiot bikers trying to get through glorious cross park motor traffic.  
Anyone who bikes around Golden Gate Park will soon understand they are not welcomed.  Every now and then you'll see a pesky faded bike sharrow or two, but don't let that dissuade you my friends. As you motor your way thru you'll understand that you're the king of this urban park.  When street lanes get wide enough you'll be able to store your car on them, I guarantee.

Every now and then you'll see a faded bike sharrow between a speeding & parked car.  
#3 - You can Park Virtually Anywhere!

There are so many places to park your car!  You may find a little gem of a parking lot here and there, but rest assured if there's a side of  something, you're allowed to park there, even if it's in the middle of two crosswalks!
In the magical motor land of Golden Gate Park, asphalt is practically begging you to stop on it.  All throughout the park you'll find varying species of parking, from the marked signs, unmarked areas, down to little nooks and crannies stuffed with hordes of cars.  And the best part about it is that you'll never have to pay a dime to park there.  Unlike other urban parks, the streets are free to store your car on for hours on end.

The best part is unlike most urban parks, you don't have to pay a thing to park!  You're apparently limited to 4 hours of parking in the same location, but do you think anyone checks?  Doubtful!
Even though it's a park that's heavy with pedestrians and some foolish bikers, you're still more than welcome to go the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour (but who really goes that slow?)  There are tons of thru-fares and even a freeway like Highway 1 in this very park.  Despite the fact that people with children and elderly people stroll through this park, you'll never be forced to drive elderly center & school zone speeds. 

Doesn't matter where you're going in Golden Gate Park.  Rest assured that no matter how many pedestrians and bikers are around you're well within your rights to go 25 miles per hour.  Save the slow driving for elderly centers & schools, where you're legally obligated to restrain yourself. 
#4 Golden Gate Park has an Underutilized Underground Parking Shrine

Underneath the Science Academy lies a testament to parking.  There you can drive all around to your heart's content and look for just the right spot.  Keep in mind, though, you would actually have to pay for parking down there, and then use your legs like a sucker to get to other parts of the park.  You might want to just drive thru this glorious parking jewel and take some pictures of the hundreds of unused spaces like I did.

There is a huge underground parking structure below the Science Acadamy but don't worry you'll never have to park down there.  Since parking is ~everywhere~ in Golden Gate Park and it's free, why bother?
So if you're looking to leave the trappings of city life in your car, enjoy nature, but never use your legs like a sucker" Golden Gate Park is just the place for you.  It's truly a majestic park designed for the almighty vehicle.  Enjoy!


  1. Great piece, Bob. Makes me really want to drive on over for a visit. Unfortunately for me, I live in Brooklyn where I can only drive in Prospect Park for a couple hours each week day. I know, can you fuckin' believe it? Don't worry too much though. there's still a really nice (brand spanking new) parking lot by the new recreation facilities. And, get this, the whole park is configured around my driving convenience during the limited access hours. It really helps keep the walking/cycling weirdos from getting too uppity.

    1. Sorry to hear that you don't have unfettered access to the park every single minute of the day, but it does sound a lovely place. You can just pave parking lots and put up a paradise!

  2. I frequently cycle through GG Park, and this article does not reflect a true analysis about cycling there. The only road through the park that I think is difficult for cyclists is MLK Dr between 19th Ave and 41st Ave; and this can easily be avoided for most people.

    1. I often bike through the park to work in the Richmond District and I sure feel like I'm in the way of motorists zipping down JFK Drive. I often like to take it a bit slow but since it's a park/short-cut for thousands of motorists every day, I am compelled to share the street and the car-crowded intersections with impatient motorists. As I wait my turn at the intersections, behind the exhaust pipes, there's no way to enjoy the outdoors. I'd be better suited to be inside, with the windows up and the AC running, enjoying this green splendor on 4 wheels instead of two. It's a (car) park after all. It sure is a gem, if you drive.

  3. Yes by the looks of it it's defintely the kind of park you can take your children on to enjoy the outdoors. Maybe the tag line should be "Come bike GG Park but be careful of MLK Dr between 19th Ave and 41st Ave or just avoid it entirely"?