Golden_Gate_Park_1906.jpgIn an attempt to tackle the violence and vandalism that happens overnight in Golden Gate Park, city officials are working on legislation that would close the park between the hours of 1 and 5 AM. As it stands, people can visit the park at any hour provided they don’t sleep there. Police often cite homeless people that set up there at night, but tell the Ex that that does little to stop the transients from coming back. The new legislation would allow the police to arrest the campers and late night loiterers on trespassing charging.

Lena Emmery, President of the Cole Valley Improvement Association, says that the association agrees, “nothing good happens in the park at night.”

It is true that Golden Gate Park has had some rough summer nights this year. Various acts of nature vandalism from severed trees to cut down rose gardens all happened overnight.

Earlier this month, vandals caused $100,000 of damage to the golf course by ripping it up with a small vehicle, presumably in the overnight hours.

Most tragically, two men were killed on separate occasions at night in the park. In early July, a 25 year old man was stabbed after a fight, and in late August a homeless man was beaten to death near Kezar Stadium.

The Ex says that Mayor Newsom, along with city attorney Dennis Hererra, DA Kamala Harris, police and the Recreation and Park Department are working together on the closure legislation, which could include night closings at other problem parks like John McLaren Park. Once complete, the proposed legislation will be reviewed publicly and must be approved by Recreation and Park Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

The Richmond SF Blog opened a discussion about this issue when it was first reported that officials were toying with the idea of closing the park at night.

Concerns were raised about the enforceability of such a law, and how it would affect people just passing through. What do you think, Appeal readers – is closing the park at night a good idea or an unnecessary law?

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  • dd

    This is another unnecessary law. The park should be open to the public for all hours. Some people work night shifts and sleep during the day, so saying that nothing good goes on overnight in the park is false and stereotyping. I live on the corner of Cole and Haight and regularly take my dog for late night and early morning walks through Golden Gate Park. So now I will be arrested for this?

    Similar to sit/lie, this is just a bandage for a much larger problem. If we spent more time and money on education, arts and community service initiatives, we could then change the behavior patterns of young children before it turns to violence and aggression. Giving the police more power only breeds more contempt and in turn more violence.

  • dd

    This is another unnecessary law. The park should be open to the public for all hours. Some people work night shifts and sleep during the day, so saying that nothing good goes on overnight in the park is false and stereotyping. I live on the corner of Cole and Haight and regularly take my dog for late night and early morning walks through Golden Gate Park. So now I will be arrested for this?

    Similar to sit/lie, this is just a bandage for a much larger problem. If we spent more time and money on education, arts and community service initiatives, we could then change the behavior patterns of young children before it turns to violence and aggression. Giving the police more power only breeds more contempt and in turn more violence.