SAN FRANCISCO—During the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Francisco Municipality Transportation Agency initiated a Slow Street program. The Slow Street program was designed to allow residents to remain 6 feet of distance while walking or riding their bicycles along the street. Maintaining 6 feet of distance became difficult so pedestrians resorted to walking in the streets, exposing themselves to oncoming traffic.

The SFMTA implemented Slow Streets to limit through traffic on certain residential streets and allow them to be used more for foot and bicycle traffic. Since April 2020, the SFMTA  adopted 25 temporary Slow Streets and they are working on adding 13 more pending approval from its board during a March meeting.

Currently, the SFMTA Board of Directors are considering a proposal to make Page Street, Shotwell Street, and Sanchez Street permanent Slow Streets. The agency selected these  streets based on a strong support from user and resident surveys. There will be a hearing in March and the Board is expected to vote on legislation to make the partial closure of Page, Shotwell, and Sanchez streets permanent this spring.

In the summer and fall, the SFMTA surveyed over 2,850 residents. Eighty-six percent of residents support the program, 92 percent of visitors report a positive experience along a Slow Street, and 86 percent want the Slow Street program to become permanent. Before the hearing, the agency will continue to survey residents living along the Slow Streets.

The SFMTA wants to work with the residents to develop potential treatments ranging from street engineering changes such as turning restrictions to more physical changes such as installing barricades.