Our streets are getting slower and greener. What’s next?

What a historical month for people-centered streets and green transportation! On Election day, San Franciscans voted yes on renewing the half-cent sales tax for transportation and to make JFK Promenade permanent. Continuing that momentum, last Tuesday the Board of Supervisors approved a three-year pilot to keep Great Highway car-free on the weekends while the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors unanimously made Slow Streets a permanent part of our city by adopting elements of the People’s Slow Streets plan. 

On December 6, the SFMTA Board of Directors made Slow Streets a permanent program, adopted 16 existing corridors into the program committed to a complete network by the end of quarter one in 2023, and gave staff the authority to use diverters without the approval of the board. Additionally, the board set ambitious targets of 15 mph average speed and vehicle volume less than 1000 per day. This adoption of first in class metrics represents a transformative program that prioritizes streets for people.

It was a great discussion and a great first step in the right direction towards a safer and more sustainable San Francisco. Beyond a network for bikes, Slow Streets are a catalyst for community building. Director Cajina said it best, “In the Excelsior and Outer Mission, they can create safe spaces for neighborhoods that have a lot of seniors and youth to be able to walk their streets safely and get us to our Vision Zero goals.”

 In neighborhoods that don’t have Slow Streets like the Tenderloin, our partners from St.Anthony’s shared how “the daily street closure of the 100 block of Golden Gate during free meal service has revealed to us how a thoughtful adjustment to traffic volume can create safer and more connected neighborhoods.” That is why we are excited to work with SFMTA to create a community centered citywide network because we believe equity-priority communities deserve the opportunity to benefit from Slow Streets.

Additionally, December 6 was a historic win for the Great Highway. The Board of Supervisors approved a three-year pilot of the Great Highway closures, and most importantly, preserved the existing start time of 12pm on Fridays. This pilot project will allow the agencies to determine the long-term future of the Great Highway and work out solutions for traffic diversion. We hope to see it turn into a world class ocean-front park.

From Prop L to JFK, Slow Streets and Great Highway, each of these represent tremendous strides towards a greener, people-first, San Francisco. We’ve got more work to do, and we can’t do it without you. Donate to our year end campaign to help us create a connected, equitable network of car-free and car-lite spaces.

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