In August The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency voted to keep a local Slow Street active beyond the COVID-19 emergency order, starting the process to determine which of the city's streets will permanently remain pedestrian friendly passways.
Multi-block stretches of Golden Gate Avenue in NOPA will continue to welcome cyclists and pedestrians for the long-term. Design work is currently underway for the street to improve safety, according to the SFMTA.
SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin shared the news on Twitter and wrote, "Some #SlowStreets have attracted far more people than we'd expected, representing the full demographics of their neighborhoods, across age, ability, ethnicity, gender, and fitness level."
The city launched the Slow Streets program in April 2020 amid the pandemic, closing 31 streets to through traffic to povide residents safe spaces to walk, bike and socially distance. People living on the streets and emergency vehicles still have access.
The original temporary Slow Street on Golden Gate Avenue was limited to four blocks (between Masonic Avenue and Broderick Street) because of the original design of Slow Streets. Soft diversion (ie, the traffic barricade and signs), which is the main tool that enables temporary Slow Streets to function, cannot be applied at signalized intersections due to operational safety concerns.
Because Golden Gate Avenue has been approved to remain as a Slow Street post-pandemic, the tools in the Slow Street design toolkit can be considered and applied to the Slow Street. Tools like median diverters and left-turn restrictions can be incorporated onto the current extents of the Golden Gate Avenue Slow Street, and their inclusion would solve the operational concerns that prevented it from being a longer Slow Street. See the Slow Street Design Toolkit section for more details on how median diverters and left-turn restrictions work.
If extended, the road to closed to through traffic regulation would apply and soft diversion (traffic barricades) would be added to Golden Gate Avenue between Parker Street and Masonic Avenue, and Golden Gate Avenue between Broderick Street and Divisadero Street. Median diverters and left-turn restrictions are required to be included at the intersection of Golden Gate Avenue and Masonic Avenue and Golden Gate Avenue and Divisadero Street, to make the extension feasible.
This extension would extend the benefits of a Slow Street to a longer portion of Golden Gate Avenue.
As mentioned previously, resident and user surveys were conducted in early Spring of 2021 to evaluate how the Golden Gate Avenue Slow Street was working and to assess the community's thoughts on it. The surveying effort also helped inform the possibility of maintaining the Slow Street past the pandemic. Here are some findings and community feedback from the surveying effort:
Upcoming Outreach Meetings and Events
We want to hear about your experience using the Golden Gate Avenue Slow Street, thoughts on how to improve it and determine your support for extending the lengths of it. The project team is planning a number of events later this fall to conduct community outreach and gather feedback:
Traffic Safety and User Experience Survey:
Take the survey and share your feedback with us regarding your user experience using the Golden Gate Avenue Slow Street. We also want to know your thoughts on potentially adding other design tools from our Slow Streets design toolkit to further improve the Slow Street. The team will be using this feedback to assess the need and to develop a design for the post-pandemic Golden Gate Avenue Slow Street.SFMTA will continue evaluating all Slow Streets "for a post-pandemic future" to develop a network of pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly corridors that lasts beyond the pandemic. The process includes surveying residents who live within a quarter-mile of a slow street and collecting pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle counts.
If you would like for the future safe street networks to include our neighborhood, you must express your support for our neighborhood to be included in the program. Vocal and active support is what is needed to make a North/South safe street possible.
Initially, safe streets were proposed for the Alamo Square neighborhood that would've linked east / west streets like Page (south) and Clay (north) street, to a North /South connection like Scott street. This would've provided a network of streets for residents to walk or bike from Clay street in Pacific Heights, south past Alamo Square to Page Street in Lower Haight which then spans all the way west to the entrance Golden Gate Park.
Our NOPA neighbors to the east came out in strong support of the Safe Streets program and successfully implemented two safe streets: Golden Gate Avenue which runs from Broderick east to Masonic, and Lyon Street that serves as a north/south connector from Golden Gate Ave south to the Panhandle. Pedestrians and cyclists can then proceed one block past the Panhandle to Page Street for a safer stroll into Golden Gate Park.