The SFMTA will conduct community outreach in seven neighborhoods to determine if there is interest and support for Slow Streets corridors. (Courtesy SFMTA)

The SFMTA will conduct community outreach in seven neighborhoods to determine if there is interest and support for Slow Streets corridors. (Courtesy SFMTA)

SFMTA to focus next wave of Slow Streets on ‘historically underserved’ neighborhoods

Agency conducting targeted outreach through December 10

The Slow Streets program has a an equity problem, one that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says it will spend the next month trying to rectify.

To date, nearly 25 corridors citywide have been temporarily closed to vehicular thru-traffic in order to create space for socially distant foot and bike travel to essential destinations as well as a safe outdoor environment.

Though the now-popular program started in April, a number of neighborhoods are conspicuously still lacking a robust network of Slow Streets, including those that are home to some of The City’s highest concentrations of essential workers and low-income residents and where crowded housing and transportation conditions persist during the pandemic.

Seven of these neighborhoods will receive targeted community outreach between November 10 and December 10: South of Market, Bayview, Visitacion Valley, Outer Mission, Oceanview/Parkside, Inner Sunset and the Western Addition.

Currently, all of these focus areas include large swaths without any Slow Streets, and neighbors have to travel quite far, in some cases, to reach the nearest vehicle-free roadway.

Now, as the program enters its fourth phase, SFMTA will be “headed directly to historically under-served neighborhoods” that “don’t yet have Slow Streets.”

An SFMTA blog post published in early November said the agency will “take to the streets and engage residents on a neighborhood planning level” through online questionnaires, community meetings, socially distanced on-the-ground outreach and online office hours.

The supervisors who oversee the districts that include these neighborhoods will play a key role in connecting the transit agency to the right community stakeholders.

Preston Kilgore, legislative aide to Supervisor Dean Preston, whose district includes the Inner Sunset and Western Addition as well as the well-trafficked Slow Street on Page Street, said their office is coordinating with the SFMTA to gage interest.

“What we have seen is that there has been overwhelming support for the current slow streets on Page and Golden Gate in District Five,” he said, adding the supervisor’s office did “major community outreach with merchant and neighborhood groups” that it plans to replicate in the Inner Sunset and Western Addition to chart a path forward.

Much of the Slow Streets implementation has been guided by direct feedback from survey respondents, SFMTA says, but it acknowledges this approach has ended in a lopsided result that favors the neighborhoods where many residents have spoken out in favor of the program and suggested potential corridors to be considered for partial closure.

Through the end of September, 6,208 people had provided feedback on Slow Streets through the agency’s survey. Nearly 60 percent of them are concentrated in just five zip codes, largely located in the center of The City.

Neighborhoods towards the fringes — most of which will be the focus of this next round of outreach — have provided the least input, and, consequently, have the fewest Slow Streets.

SFMTA will use this month-long period to find out if there is “interest and support” from these residents and to solicit comments on roads within each neighborhood that it has internally identified as preliminary options for future Slow Streets.

Agency staff will use its findings to inform the proposals for this fourth wave of Slow Streets, and it will present those plans to the SFMTA Board of Directors for approval in early 2021.

Bay Area NewsCoronavirussan francisco newstransportation

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read