Car Free JFK Drive imperiled by shrill unfounded Fine Arts Museums opposition

Message to Thomas Campbell, Director and CEO – Fine Arts Museums SF

San Francisco Chronicle 5.12.2021

“Thomas Campbell, director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, said JFK Drive should be reopened to cars ‘as soon as possible’ while the city studies the issue, saying its closure has limited visitors’ and staff’s access to the de Young Museum and hampered its logistical operations.

‘Advocates for closure of JFK have taken advantage of COVID and the temporary Safe Streets closure of JFK to push their agenda for permanent closure in part by creating a false sense of crisis that is based on distorted statistics and unsubstantiated emotional rhetoric,’ Campbell said.”

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Rallying for car free JFK Drive

Attn:  Thomas Campbell – Director and CEO FAMSF

Mr. Campbell,

My wife has been a long time member of the FAMSF. She teaches English to international students.  She introduces a private student to the DeYoung collections when she brings them on public transit to the DeYoung as her guest.  Her student often returns to do a more thorough visit to the DeYoung paying the steep admission price of a non San Francisco resident.

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David Miles – Mayor of Golden Gate Park

I carefully read your comments re Car Free JFK Drive and am all the more shocked after reading the attached article published in Hyperallergic, particularly the following,

As New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Director, “Campbell faced accusations of poor money management. Toward the end of his tenure, the Met faced a steep $40 million deficit that caused retirement buyouts, hiring freezes, and a postponement of the heralded $600 million expansion of its modern and contemporary wing. News of the deficit came on the heels of the Met’s high attendance numbers and its decision to sign an expensive eight-year lease on the Breuer building. (Now, years later, the Frick Collection is said to be taking over the last three years of the lease in 2020, and the Met has begun charging a mandatory ticket fee to non-New Yorker visitors in order to manage its deficit threat.)”

Are you serious?

Are you serious?  How can you, having a dubious history of museum management, speak seriously about a car free JFK Drive and the DeYoung having its logistical operations “hampered?”

It is not a problem.  You know it, too. Your entire statement is misleading. The loading docks just off JFK have been used continuously during the Pandemic. I cycle by them frequently and see large trucks and vehicles parked in the loading docks and on JFK Drive.  “Visitors and staff’s access” has not been “hampered.”

Surfing JFK Drive on two wheels

I agree that the people about whom you speak admittedly have to walk a short distance. It truly isn’t that great a hindrance.

Most importantly you fail to mention the 800 car garage which sits directly underneath the Concourse.  It was before your time in San Francisco that this garage was built at the behest of Dede Wilsey; expressly to accommodate the concerns of those who feel they need easy access to the Museum.

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April 28, 2021 – Celebrating one year car free JFK Drive

As a newcomer to San Francisco you need to support San Francisco’s Transit First program and an environmentally friendly JFK Drive.  Do not use your specious, untrue and ridiculous comments unbefitting a person who is  leading the Fine Arts Muesums into the 21st century.


Liz and Lee Heidhues

Native San Franciscans

Photos on JFK Drive – Liz and Lee Heidhues