Acting on a priority to keep San Francisco streets more narrow in the name of pedestrian safety, Supervisor Scott Wiener on Tuesday called for a hearing and other measures to study the proper width of city streets.
The request comes as Wiener and the Fire Department have engaged in a long-running debate about the need to have wider streets. A point of contention for the supervisor has been the Fire Department’s and Department of Public Works’ requests that the largest new developments in The City, those in Hunters Point and Candlestick Point, include streets 6 feet wider than the 20-foot legal requirement.
“Our streets have to be designed in a safe way to prevent accidents from happening,” Wiener said. “One of the most important things we can do is to make sure that our neighborhood streets are not overly wide.”
Wiener has requested a hearing on the need to have streets widened. He also has requested the budget analyst complete a report on the size of the fire trucks and what size would best serve The City.
“I understand they have gotten bigger over time,” Wiener said.
Wiener said he also requested the City Attorney’s Office to draft legislation that would make it explicitly clear how wide San Francisco streets should be and require board approval if they are proposed to be wider.
The effort has the support of pedestrian-safety advocates including Tom Radulovich, executive director of Livable City who said in a statement that “narrower roadways are safer for walking and cycling, inviting neighbors to meet, and making neighborhoods livable. Wider, faster, suburban-style roads erode safety and community cohesion.”
Wiener and others have had prior debates with the Fire Department regarding pedestrian-safety measures, such as street bulbouts. The department has argued that bulbouts make it difficult for its large fire trucks to navigate streets that aren’t very wide.