In a unanimous vote, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors decided Tuesday that Shotwell Street and three other city streets will remain “Slow Streets,” a pandemic-inspired idea that intends to make 31 San Francisco streets more welcoming to pedestrians than cars.
The vote makes permanent the “slow streets” on Shotwell Street from Cesar Chavez to 14th streets; Lake Street from 28th to 2nd avenues; Golden Gate Avenue from Masonic Avenue to Broderick Street; and Sanchez Street from 23rd to 30th streets.
This means the installed signage and barriers that have gone up since April, 2020, on the four streets will remain. In addition, the designs of each street will be updated and those changes will be voted on at a meeting as early as this month.
The vote followed more than 50 public comments, with some 40 commenters supporting the extension of one or several Slow Streets beyond the pandemic and around 15 opposing the extension of one or several.
The vast majority of commenters who spoke about Shotwell supported keeping it a slow street. That was expected, given survey results that showed that 94 percent of 114 residents living along the corridor favored it. Around nine commenters spoke in favor of the Shotwell Street proposal, and around two opposed it.
Those opposed to making Slow Streets permanent generally cited traffic in the surrounding streets, litter, noise, and confrontations between drivers and visitors.
One commentator who said she lived on Shotwell Street added that parking in front of her home had become difficult, while another who said she lived on the street, Chelsea, added that people are not using the roadway as intended because it’s still dangerous.
“It doesn’t matter how permanent you make it — cars are still going to blast down Shotwell,” Chelsea said. “So, anybody who thinks that you can bike, run, walk in the middle of Shotwell is literally crazy — they’re gonna get hit by a car.”
Two commenters after her disagreed.
“I personally observed it being used in its intended format, seeing just an increase in family activity, kids wanting to ride bikes, people getting to know their neighbors,” said Andy, who said he’s been a Shotwell resident for more than 20 years.
Another commenter, Andrea, who said she’s also lived on Shotwell for more than 20 years, agreed that pedestrians were using the roadway.
“For the entirety of the pandemic till now we’ve been using them daily,” she said. “I have friends who live on Capp Street, which isn’t a slow street, who come and use it with me every single day with their kids, able to bike, skateboard.”
The other slow streets not voted on today will continue until the pandemic ends.