A new analysis of SF’s Slow Streets program shows that people are still driving too fast on many of them, but they’ve also enjoyed a nearly 50% reduction in traffic accidents, and there have been no traffic fatalities on any Slow Streets.
San Francisco’s Slow Streets program remains very popular more than three years into its pandemic-era experiment, though the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has been tinkering with the system throughout the process. On Tuesday, the SFMTA board of directors got an update on how things are moving on Slow Streets, and KTVU picks up on how there has been a nearly 50% reduction in car accidents on Slow Streets, and how Slow Streets have had no traffic fatalities since the program’s inception in April 2020.
Moving SF - Streets that are part of the SFMTA’s Slow Streets Program have become measurably safer since the program began in 2020, with the number of traffic crashes falling by almost half.https://t.co/0UnoXNgoTa— SFMTA (@SFMTA_Muni) May 3, 2023
A 38-page Slow Streets Evaluation report is something of a mixed bag. It details that many drivers are still going too fast on Slow Streets, and some of the streets are seeing more traffic than they’re supposed to. But the safety advantages of Slow Streets have been undeniable.
“Streets also became measurably safer following implementation of the Slow Street designation,” SFMTA says in their summary of the report. “On average, Slow Streets have seen a 48% decrease in collisions following designation, compared with a 14% decrease in collisions citywide over the same time period.”
And SFMTA is rightfully tooting their own horn over the above statistic showing not one traffic fatality on a Slow Street during the program’s three-year existence. Vision Zero has actually hit its goal if you only count Slow Streets!
“The streets became measurably safer as a result of the implementation of the slow streets designation,” SFMTA Streets Director Tom Maguire told the board Tuesday, according to the Examiner.
As seen above, there are currently 18 designated Slow Streets in San Francisco, though two of these are not yet implemented. And they do still have their issues.
It’s me!— Luke Bornheimer ([email protected]) (@LukeBornheimer) May 2, 2023
Slow Streets continue to see an increase in car volumes and speeding due to ineffective (or lack of) physical infrastructure in the roadway, like traffic diverters, to eliminate cut-through traffic.
We need diverters now!
See my full remarks at https://t.co/3xUeW9NWt6 https://t.co/nvS32UCRKA
SFMTA assessed whether cars were driving under the desired 15 mile-per-hour goal (they measured this using pneumatic tubes), and they concluded that “most Slow Streets have not met the 15 MPH target set by the Board.” They also concluded that four Slow Streets are exceeding the target of 1,000 or fewer vehicles per day using the Slow Streets, and therefore “will require volume management tools, like traffic diverters and turn restrictions.” The four Slow Streets exceeding their vehicle targets are 20th Street, Minnesota Street, Noe Street, and Page Street.
And there could be a couple more Slow Streets coming, both of which had previously been Slow Streets but were phased out in 2022. At their May 16 meeting, the SFMTA board will consider re-adding Chenery and SOMA Slow Streets, with SOMA Slow Streets including “Lapu-Lapu, Rizal, Tandang Sora, Bonifacio and Mabini streets between Folsom Street and Harrison Street.”
Related: The Haight's Page Street Becomes Permanent Slow Street [SFist]
Image: Joe Kukura, SFist