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Slow Streets Program

SFMTA.com/SlowStreets
Project Introduction

The Slow Streets Program was approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors on December 6, 2022. Read more about the program here. Our How To Use Slow Streets fact sheet provides further information about how to use Slow Streets safely and respectfully. 

Changes to Slow Streets signs

Now that the SFMTA Board approved an ongoing Slow Streets Program for San Francisco, we will be evolving our corridor signs to better reflect program goals. In the near future, you’ll begin to notice some changes to signs on Slow Streets, including:

  • Moving away from “Local Traffic Only” signs: We’ll be swapping out the “Local Traffic Only” signs for additional purple Slow Streets signs as we consider other sign concepts. While the weather delays the installation of new signs, we will cover legacy messaging with waterproof tape.
  • New sidewalk-pole-mounted Slow Streets signs: On Slow Streets and on streets that intersect with Slow Streets, we’ll be adding sidewalk-pole-mounted purple signs to create more awareness of the program.
  • Bike wayfinding signs: We’ll be adding wayfinding signs on and near Slow Streets to indicate how they connect to San Francisco’s bike network and to provide directions to popular destinations.

Our goal for Slow Streets is that everyone who uses them—whether they bike, walk, roll, or drive— understands expectations for traveling along Slow Streets. Having clear signs is an important step toward this goal, and we look forward to sharing more about these material updates soon.

Slow Streets are safe, comfortable, low-vehicle-traffic routes that prioritize active transportation and community-building. These shared streets are thoughtfully designed and implemented on residential streets to provide safe, comfortable alternatives for to driving. They are open to all forms of transportation, including vehicles accessing properties along the corridor, and emphasize slow and safe speeds to support a diverse mix of uses.  

Slow Streets support San Francisco’s goals to create a connected, citywide Active Transportation Network, eliminate deaths and severe injuries related to transportation, and encourage more people to choose low-carbon ways to travel for their daily trips. They are part of a growing, connected network of streets that are safe and welcoming places to walk, bike and roll for people of all ages and abilities. On Slow Streets, kids can bike safely to school, families can run errands, and people with disabilities can find safe, accessible space to move through their communities.  

The SFMTA Slow Streets program includes two complementary initiatives: 

Street design: The SFMTA will implement design treatments on San Francisco streets that meet the Program’s eligibility criteria to create low-stress, shared corridors that prioritize active transportation. Slow Streets use a suite of durable design treatments to create these streets, including:  

  • Traffic diversion elements, including planters  
  • Turn restrictions  
  • Traffic calming elements I.e. speed humps   
  • STOP Signs  
  • Roadway narrowing/chicanes  
  • Wayfinding signs  
  • Pavement markings    

Community building: The SFMTA will be incorporating Play Streets into the Slow Streets program. Play Streets offers a streamlined permitting process for full block closures, so communities can activate the street and host events and gatherings. Through Play Streets, neighbors can set up regular block closures on a schedule that works for their community. Play Streets are offered as a complement to existing Slow Streets, and to any communities interested in organizing regular street activations. More updates to come on this soon.

San Francisco’s Slow Streets program was authorized by the SFMTA Board of Directors on December 6, 2022. Sixteen initial corridors were also approved for inclusion in the program.  

People on Page Slow Street: A man in a motorized scooter crosses the street, and a jogger, a cyclist, and a person pushing a stroller are in the background

Where to find Slow Streets in San Francisco 

A map showing the 16 corridors approved for inclusion in the Slow Streets program.

The Slow Streets concept works best on primarily residential streets that are relatively flat, straight, and have mostly stop-controlled intersections instead of traffic signals. MUNI routes and emergency response corridors do not work as Slow Streets. The current list of Program corridors includes: 

Program goals and criteria 

Through the Slow Streets program, the SFMTA aims to expand the city’s growing Active Transportation network and encourage more people of all ages and abilities to travel by low-carbon modes. It i’s essential that Slow Streets are safe, comfortable, shared corridors for all. To make Slow Streets work, traffic volumes need to stay low, as do vehicle speeds. The SFMTA is taking a data-driven approach to ensuring Slow Streets meet the following low-stress criteria, taking guidance from National Association of City Transportation Officials standards:  

  • Vehicle volumes of 1,000 per day or less   
  • Vehicle speeds of 15 mph or less  

The SFMTA will collect data on both traffic volumes and speeds and adjust corridor designs as necessary to achieve true low-stress corridors. 

Additionally, it’s important for all users of Slow Streets to follow guidelines for behavior and use on these corridors. At a high level: Everyone is welcome, and please go slow! For more in-depth guidelines, please review our How To Use Slow Street Fact Sheet for best practices to keep everyone feeling safe and welcome. 

Implementation and program expansion 

Following the establishment of the Slow Streets program by the SFMTA Board of Directors on December 6, 2022, the Program team will be focused on collecting data on all corridors to inform initial designs. Following data collection and analysis, the team will begin a design outreach process for each corridor. 

Potential corridors for program expansion will be identified through community outreach, parallel SFMTA efforts like the Active Communities Plan, and resident input. Suggestions are always welcome, and we will be creating a form soon for residents to fill out and submit ideas for future corridors. 

The SFMTA Slow Streets Program team will report annually to the SFMTA Board of Directors on program progress and data.


Funding

This program was made possible in part by Proposition K Sales Tax dollars provided by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. 

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