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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is preparing a second phase of its Slow Streets program, adding 13 new corridors that provide more space for walking, biking and for the public to practice social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency announced Saturday.

Transit officials announced the program in April and received some criticism from some on the Board of Supervisors and the public for omitting streets from the plan and for not consulting with them. 

SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said last Saturday during a virtual town hall hosted by Sunset District Supervisor Gordon Mar, admitted there was little to no community engagement during the first phase of the program, and said the transit agency had to act fast as Muni service had been cut drastically:

“We needed to respond to the collapse of the Muni system really quickly.”

Tumlin said the time between the start of the first phase and the announcement of second allowed transit officials to receive feedback from the public and from supervisors:

“Now is the time where we’re trying to make a more appropriate engagement response after experimenting with a couple of streets like Page and Kirkham and 41st Avenue.”

Corridors added to the second phase include:

  • 20th Street from Valencia to Potrero streets
  • 23rd Avenue from Lake to Cabrillo streets
  • Chenery Street from Elk Street to Brompton Avenue
  • Excelsior Avenue from London to Prague Streets
  • Golden Gate Avenue, from Masonic Avenue to Divisadero Street
  • Jarboe Avenue from Moultrie Street to Peralta Avenue
  • Lane Street from 3rd Street to Oakdale Avenue
  • Lombard Street from Jones to Stockton street
  • Mariposa Street from Kansas to Texas streets
  • Sanchez Street from 23rd to 30th streets
  • Shotwell Street from 14th to Cesar Chavez streets
  • Somerset Street from Silver Avenue to Woolsey Avenue
  • Stockton Street from Bay to Lombard streets

The agency said they received more than 1,300 suggestions from the public for the second phase of the project. 

The most requested streets included Sanchez and Shotwell in the Mission, Chenery in Glen Park and Golden Gate Avenue in Western Addition.

Ching Wongq A woman stands in the middle of California Street amid the extension of coronavirus shelter orders in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. (Ching Wong/SFBay.ca)

Four street corridors have already been implemented, including on 41st Avenue, Kirkham, Lake and Page streets totaling 11 miles. The remaining streets in the first phase total 9 miles, the agency said on its website.

With Saturday’s announcement of the next phase of the program, the Slow Streets network will eventually total 34 miles. 

The agency said it hopes to implement two to three street corridors per week.

Tumlin said the the transit agency had focused first on closing streets in the Sunset because the district had been hit hardest by Muni service cuts in April, leaving many to walk further to a transit stop or having to walk altogether to essential businesses or to work:

“To compensate for that, we knew that we needed to make some investments in making it safer and more comfortable for people to be able to walk a longer distance to get to Muni or to be able to use a bike in order to make their essential trips.”

Tumlin tweeted Saturday that the program works well on low volume residential streets and not on streets with Muni service or routes for emergency vehicles. 

He added that the agency is prioritizing streets that have the least access to Muni and parks. 

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents District 3, tweeted Saturday that part of his district is included in the next phase.

Officials remind the public to not gather on the streets and that local vehicle traffic is still permitted if the the driver’s final destination is in the vicinity of the street.

The public can read more about the Slow Streets program on the agency’s website. Officials have also put up an online survey where residents can share their thoughts on the program.

City officials are working on a separate plan in the Tenderloin to address street safety issues and tent encampments.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn covers transportation and City Hall in San Francisco for SF Bay. Email: jerold@sfbay.ca. Twitter: @Jerold_Chinn. Instagram: jeroldwashere.

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