Today the Board of Supervisors will consider an amendment to the Parks Code for uniform closing hours for all City parks. (The BOS vote was held on November 5. With a long debate, some amendments and by a narrow margin, it passed. Link to Examiner report here.)
Dolores for example has posted hours of 10 pm to 6 am. Golden Gate Park is posted midnight to 5 am. Some City parks are not posted at all. The new code will make all San Francisco parks subject to a midnight to 5 pm curfew.
This adjustment will make it easier for San Francisco Police and the Rec and Park Patrol officers to protect our parks. Vandalism has been a big problem in Dolores Park as it has been across the city. Graffiti remains a constant problem. Trees and plants have been cut, damaged and stolen. The new playground has been attacked more then once. “It helps us, it gives us a tool to talk to somebody — reasonable suspicion, if you will, which is the threshold that we need to just go up and have a conversation to find out what somebody’s about,” Police Chief Greg Suhr said.
It will not affect the prohibition against overnight camping in the parks, which is now and will still be outlawed. Nor is it an attack on the homeless or the poor. The parks are a common good and are here for all. They need to be protected for all.
The new code will not prohibit us from crossing through Dolores at night. The legislation includes exemptions for highly traveled plazas like Union Square as well as streets, bike paths, and sidewalks that go through some parks, such as Golden Gate Park, the Panhandle and Dolores.
What it will do is enable law enforcement to help park personnel safeguard the parks from vandalism, theft and trash dumping. I support this reasonable measure to protect our common property. The change is being carried by District 8 supervisor Scott Wiener and is supported by the San Francisco Parks Alliance, Chief Suhr and Recreation and Park Department head Phil Ginsburg.
This measure to protect property is sensible and prudent. Anything less is foolish and misguided.