Hayes Valley Wins Car-Free Space

Last Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Board of Directors voted to permanently keep cars off of the north end of Patricia’s Green. This project will dedicate what were formerly fast-moving vehicle lanes into a gathering place for people living in and visiting Hayes Valley.

Since the Central Freeway was torn down in the early 90’s, Hayes Valley has changed to accommodate the large influx of fast-moving street traffic, making it unsafe for people walking and biking. With the approval of the Octavia Open Street Project, the SFMTA took a big step forward toward making Hayes Valley streets calm and comfortable for people again.

This project has been led and championed by neighbors since 2015, including the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, because of its positive impacts for those walking and biking. “Since being established 20 years ago, Patricia’s Green has become the heart of the Hayes Valley neighborhood — it’s where you meet neighbors, walk your dog, play with your kids, or just hang out with friends,” said District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown. “These commonsense enhancements will improve the livability of the neighborhood — with less honking, less congestion, and more protected walking and bicycling space.”

The SFMTA board directors were so encouraged by the support for this project that they urged the SFMTA to think bigger and explore not only extending the car-free space to Fell Street, but also bringing car-free spaces to even more neighborhoods around the city.

Director Amanda Eaken urged the SFMTA to think at a larger scale, stating “I want to see more proposals for pedestrianization city-wide.” Director Cristina Rubke echoed that ask, saying, “I would really support us taking it further and treating it as phase one as other directors have mentioned and looking at closing down more streets to cars.”

This is a big win, but our work doesn’t end here. The Octavia Open Street Project is only one of many long-awaited safety projects in Hayes Valley focused on addressing traffic impacts in the neighborhood. We support the extension of the street closure to Fell Street and are pushing forward other projects, like traffic calming on Page Street.

In order to get there, we’re going to need your help. Sign up to stay connected on this project and others in Hayes Valley.

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