Aug 11, 2022 - News

Slow Streets' future could find clarity in September

Street signs being installed on Page Street

Road crew installs reflective posts for Page's Slow Street. Photo: Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The future of the city's Slow Streets program — which closed some 30 roads to traffic early in the COVID-19 pandemic — is murky, but may clear up in the weeks to come.

Driving the news: San Francisco Mayor London Breed wrote late last month the city should "evolve" its approach to Slow Streets — moving beyond "temporary interventions" and making decisions to last "for years to come."

  • "Some streets that were included in the pandemic response make sense and others do not," Breed wrote. "And other streets that were left off the table should be considered."
  • Breed suggested imagining Slow Streets as a "connected network" for walkers and bikers, rather than considering streets for the program on a one-off basis.

Yes, but: Last summer, the SFMTA board approved four corridors along Golden Gate Avenue, Lake, Sanchez and Shotwell streets to become permanent Slow Streets beyond the pandemic. Page Street was expected to remain closed to through traffic for the long term as well.

  • Now, with the mayor taking no clear stance on the issue publicly, some groups are raising safety and traffic concerns, and advocates worry the status of their streets could be subject to change.

What they're saying: "It's really unfortunate … and frankly, a demoralizing state of affairs, especially when you're faced with a climate crisis, a pedestrian safety crisis [and] a public health crisis," Luke Bornheimer, a member of Friends of Slow Lake, told us of his concerns for scaling back the program.

What's next: The SFMTA board plans to provide guidance on the program at a meeting in September, spokesperson Erica Kato told us.

  • The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, reported that the public gathering could include a vote to determine which streets are added or removed.

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