(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Three Slow Streets could become permanent

Page, Sanchez and Shotwell streets among first roadways to be considered for closure

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors will soon consider a proposal to make three Slow Streets permanent, closed to thru-traffic even beyond the current health emergency.

Of the 25 temporary Slow Streets implemented since last April, staff plans to propose that Page Street, Shotwell Street and Sanchez Street start down the path to permanence.

“These are corridors where our resident and user surveys have shown strong community support for Slow Streets. The positive feedback from these surveys has shown that residents and users of these Slow Streets overwhelmingly support making them permanent,” according to an SFMTA blog post.

SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin told the board at its Jan. 19 meeting that the agency had unofficially established a 75 percent threshold for how much support it wanted to see from neighbors regarding whether to make a corridor permanent.

While other roadways, such as Lake Street, were clearly very popular with users, they had yet to meet that target, albeit a fungible one as the permanence process evolves, he said.

Tumlin said the SFMTA board can expect to vote on legislation to make the partial closure of Page, Shotwell and Sanchez streets permanent later this spring.

Ahead of the hearing, the agency will continue to survey residents living along the Slow Streets and work with them to develop potential treatments ranging from street engineering changes such as turn restrictions to more physical changes such as installing more durable barricades.

The proposal for the board to consider will include a new Slow Streets permanent design, also vetted by the community, and a full public hearing and review process, according to the SFMTA blog post.

Potential permanence won’t stop with these three streets.

San Francisco’s transit agency said it’s surveying users and neighbors of all existing Slow Streets to gauge the desire to make partial closure permanent, an ongoing process expected to be completed by May.

SFMTA launched the Slow Streets program in April, part of its widespread efforts to temporarily modify the face of The City in order to provide mobility options that filled the gaps left behind by massive Muni service cuts and create more space for socially-distanced, outdoor recreation.

Since then, the network has continued to expand, even providing an almost entirely car-free route from Ocean Beach to the Embarcadero for the first time ever.

Most recently, the transit agency has identified 13 additional temporary corridors it hopes to turn into temporary Slow Streets, most of which will fall in neighborhoods that have been more neglected by the program, including the Bayview-Hunters Point and SoMa regions.

SFMTA’s board will vote on whether to approve these proposals at its March 2 meeting.

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