San Francisco reopens parking at some beaches

Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, Outer Richmond, Outer Sunset, Sea Cliff

Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline

With temperatures set to hit the upper 70s today, San Franciscans searching for opportunities to get outside have a new option.

As of Monday, the parking lots at some of the city's most popular beaches are once again open to cars, as part of the city's phased reopening plan. Ocean Beach, China Beach, and Baker Beach have all reopened their lots.

However, other beaches in the Golden Gate Park National Recreation Area — including Fort Funston, Lands End and the east beach lot at Crissy Field — continue to have limited or no parking due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Visitors to Ocean Beach will also see some amenities missing: fire pits, picnic areas, and the Sloat Boulevard parking lot remain closed for now.

Ocean Beach parking is open, save for the lot at Sloat Boulevard. | Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline

The news will be welcome to residents of San Francisco's beach-adjacent neighborhoods, whose streets have been flooded for weeks with drivers flouting the city's stay-at-home order on a quest for outdoor time. 

In the Presidio, some residential streets remain blockaded to non-residents, who overwhelmed the neighborhood in recent weeks.

The return of Ocean Beach parking should also alleviate congestion in the western end of Golden Gate Park, which parkgoers reported was being overwhelmed by vehicular traffic. Social distancing was also a challenge, as drivers passed cyclists and pedestrians on their trips from their cars to the beach.

All parking lots at Baker Beach (pictured) and China Beach are open. | Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline

However, the return of parking isn't welcome for everyone. Given the continued shelter-in-place orders, some urbanists have called for a reconsideration of the lots for uses other than parking.

In the meantime, Golden Gate Park's JFK Drive remains partially closed to cars, allowing more space for pedestrians and cyclists. Tamara Aparton, spokesperson for SF Rec & Park, said the agency was still encouraging people to walk or ride to the park, rather than drive.