Another COVID-era slow street is vying for permanence — this one, with a lofty vision and a good chunk of funding.
The Golden Gate Greenway, a slice of Golden Gate Avenue between Jones and Leavenworth, is on the precipice of extending its closure to cars from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. by another three hours.
The Golden Gate Greenway project aims to build a “green oasis” in the Tenderloin to house parklets and event space along a street that also boasts a school, soup kitchen and a range of community organizations.
The Tenderloin neighborhood, with 30,000 residents and 3,500 children is “one of the densest, with heavy traffic congestion and little in the way of green, open space,” the project website explains. “We want to change that,” it goes on.
The project was awarded $200,000 by Mayor London Breed in December as a part of the $3.5 million Tenderloin Community Action Plan, meant to support the neighborhood at the center of San Francisco’s addiction and homelessness crises. Supervisor Dean Preston, whose district includes the Tenderloin, as well as State Senator Scott Wiener, have also expressed support of the project.
According to St. Anthony’s, the Tenderloin nonprofit leading the 20-strong coalition of community organizations involved in the project, the three parklets that the money will support are just phase one. Also wrapped up in phase one is permanent street closure of the entire block.
“Kids in the Tenderloin deserve safe, open, green spaces to play just as much as kids anywhere else in the city,” Preston said in a February press release.
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“We will continue to advocate to move this project forward by extending the street closure times and insisting on full implementation without further delay,” he said.
And on March 23, a motion to extend the street closure times -- to span 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from April 1 through November 4, 2023 -- will be on the agenda of the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation.
The committee is chaired by the SFMTA and includes the Municipal Transportation Agency, Public Works, Police, Fire, Entertainment Commission, Public Health and Planning and generally acts as the public hearing for special event street closure requests.
The proposal will then be sent to the SFMTA Board for approval. On March 17, Preston tweeted that the "SFMTA and SFFD have reached an agreement on the Golden Gate Greenway," that would allow closure during the specified hours.
Almost all streets in the Tenderloin are a part of San Francisco’s High Injury Network, a grouping of streets that The City has found to have a higher incidence of severe and fatal collisions, according to the SF County Transportation Authority. Despite that, the neighborhood does not currently host any of The City’s 17 permanent slow streets.
The project envisions the Golden Gate Greenway’s pedestrian paradise as a space for community activities, a means to combat the “‘urban heat island’ phenomenon” and an opportunity to bring more public art to the neighborhood.