Back in April, Mayor London Breed and the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced Slow Streets, a new program to help people socially distance on our roadways and create spaces for people of all ages to play. As the City continues to expand Slow Streets, your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition needs your help to make sure the program lives up to its promise and delivers for all San Franciscans.
Four months into the pandemic, we continue to grapple with changes in every aspect of our lives. San Franciscans have found incredible ways to adapt and, likewise, City leaders have explored creative ways to keep residents safe.
Slow Streets is one of those new tools, allowing the City to close streets to through-traffic and permitting only local, neighborhood traffic, which opens up our streets for so much more. People are now biking on Slow Streets for essential commutes. Children and families are playing and safely riding scooters, skateboards or bicycles on these streets. Pedestrians are using one of the newest corridors on Ortega Street as a thoroughfare to the new Outer Sunset farmers market on Sundays.
While these positives are undeniable, the City has not made Slow Streets accessible and available to all San Franciscans in every neighborhood. When the program was announced, we wrote a letter to the Mayor and the SFMTA demanding first that this program prioritize the Tenderloin, where narrow, fast-moving streets cut through one of our city’s densest neighborhoods and many sidewalks are homes for our city’s unhoused population. We know that the Tenderloin is home to many people of color and that this neighborhood has consistently been neglected with the resources and infrastructure that it deserves. And as our demands to prioritize the Tenderloin remain largely unmet, we need your support to push the Slow Streets program forward.
If you’ve been able to enjoy Slow Streets, write a letter today about your experiences as we push for this program to become permanent. But most importantly, push on the SFMTA Board and City leaders to expand Slow Streets to the Tenderloin and other neighborhoods that would benefit from additional space on our streets to move about safely. This program will only be a success if it’s designed with all neighborhoods and all San Franciscans in mind.