San Francisco to cut off car traffic on 13 miles of city streets

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San Francisco on Tuesday became the latest city to close a chunk of its streets to through traffic in the name of social distancing.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced that it had identified streets totaling about 13 miles that it will block off to all but pedestrians, bicyclists and local traffic. The city will begin to close two to three corridors per week in Phase 1 of San Francisco’s “Slow Streets” program.

The name is a nod to the initiative taken on the other side of the Bay Bridge that inspired city leaders.

“With so much Muni service cut, SF’s essential workers need safer bike corridors and last-mile connections to transit,” SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin said on Twitter Tuesday morning. “Thanks, Oakland, for your inspiration!”

“I want to recognize Mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland for leading the way on this,” Mayor London Breed added. “This pandemic is effecting the way that all of us live our lives and we’ll continue working with our regional partners to adjust as we continue to respond.”

In Oakland, traffic cones and street signs have begun to pop up on some of the 74 miles of roads identified where vehicle traffic was already minimal. The initial streets selected in San Francisco “were chosen to supplement reduced or suspended Muni routes, while providing bicycle and pedestrian access to essential services,” SFMTA said in a release.

San Francisco will also use cones and signage to enforce its car ban, which it says will be in effect 24 hours a day because of the staffing required to remove and replace the signs each day. There will be no changes to parking or driveway access, and cars will still have the right-of-way in the streets.

“The goal is to take advantage of low vehicle numbers on certain travel corridors and allow people to maximize our resources while maintaining social distancing,” the release said.

The program will be rolled out about eight blocks at a time. The city hopes to add two or three streets each week. For what it is calling Phase 1, officials identified 12 corridors that total about 13.3 miles, or about 1% of the 1,200-plus miles of roads managed by the city.

In comparison, the 74 miles of streets Oakland plans to close comprise about 10% of the city’s streets. So far, it has rolled out the closures in increments of four or five miles a week.

Officials in San Francisco haven’t said which streets will close first in the Phase 1 rollout. Here is a complete list, with approximate distance:

17th Street from Noe to Valencia — 0.6 miles

20th Avenue from Lincoln to Ortega — 0.9 miles

22nd Street from Valencia to Chattanooga — 0.3 miles

41st Avenue from Lincoln to Vicente — 1.8 miles

Ellis from Polk to Leavenworth — 0.3 miles

Holloway from J Serra to Harold — 1.1 miles

Kirkham from Great Highway to 7th Avenue — 2.5 miles

Phelps from Oakdale to Evans — 0.5 miles

Ortega from Great Highway to 14th Avenue — 2.2 miles

Page from Stanyan to Octavia — 1.8 miles

Quesada from Lane to Fitch — 0.7 miles

Scott from Eddy to Page — 0.6 miles

Click here for an interactive map of the San Francisco Slow Streets and here for Oakland’s Slow Streets.

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