The SFMTA recently completed the first phase of outreach for the Sunset Neighborways project, taking in feedback from neighbors across the Sunset and from hundreds of parents from neighborhood schools.
The goal of the Sunset Neighborways is to create a network of slower, safer streets to make walking and biking safer in our neighborhood and to connect families with key destinations like schools, parks, small businesses, and faith institutions. As this project moves forward, Slow Streets will be removed from the Sunset, and eventually replaced with nine Neighborways.
Neighborways are not closed to cars, and use a diversity of designs to make them safer and more comfortable for different modes of travel, including speed bumps, raised crosswalks, bike lanes, and turn restrictions only when warranted and supported.
SFMTA aims to have pilot blocks installed before the end of the year to demonstrate what Neighborways will look like in our neighborhood. And unlike Slow Streets, those designs will be based on community input, with the next phase of outreach focused on street design starting soon. To learn more about the project, sign up for updates, and make your voice heard, visit sfmta.com/projects/sunset-neighborways.
Meanwhile, I recently voted along with six of my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to adopt Mayor Breed’s ordinance making a segment of John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park permanently car-free — and, to direct the Recreation and Parks Department and the SFMTA to implement the Golden Gate Park Access and Equity Program, making meaningful improvements to many aspects of park access. The debate over car-free JFK has raised a critical conversation about equity and access to Golden Gate Park, and I’m grateful for it.
Access to Golden Gate Park was inequitable when JFK was open to cars, it’s been inequitable when JFK has been closed to cars, and the park will continue to be inaccessible to some as long as ADA and transit priorities are delayed and diminished — an equity study commissioned by and presented to the Board of Supervisors showed that clearly. Some access improvements have already been made, including adding new ADA blue zone parking spaces, expanding paratransit access to all car-free streets, and increasing the frequency of the free Golden Gate Park shuttle.
More improvements are on the way, including building a new parking lot behind the Bandshell, further improving the park shuttle, and making major changes to the parking garage below the Music Concourse, including extending garage pick-up and drop-off loading time to 30 minutes, providing free ADA parking, create a more affordable pricing model for the garage, and to allow Museums for All & Discover and Go users to have three-hour free parking in the garage.
And while so much of this debate has focused on JFK, there are other streets in the park impacted by this ordinance. Years ago, before JFK was closed to cars or the Great Highway became a weekend promenade, my office began talking with SFMTA about how we could solve the problem of traffic congestion on Chain of Lakes Drive. No matter what streets have been opened or closed, Chain of Lakes has remained consistently congested during peak hours. With this new law passed, we will be creating a direct connection for southbound motorists from Chain of Lakes to MLK to Sunset Boulevard. I met with MTA traffic engineers at the intersection of Chain of Lakes and MLK to talk through the plan, and I think it’ll work, safely and effectively, to relieve traffic pressure for residents driving between the Richmond and the Sunset.
I also amended the Car Free JFK ordinance to require ongoing reports every three months on the implementation of access improvements to Golden Gate Park so we will better be able to hold the departments accountable for the commitments they’ve made and ensure we continue to make real and consistent progress on access and equity for Golden Gate Park.
What I think has been most effective about this process is studying park access comprehensively, and focusing on solutions to longstanding problems. I’d like to bring this same approach to the Great Highway. I believe the compromise we put in place last Fall—maintaining a car-free promenade on weekends while allowing car access on weekdays—has been mostly successful, and the SFMTA has removed the turn restrictions along with Lincoln and Sloat as a result.
I’d like to keep this compromise in place at least until the Great Highway extension south of Sloat Boulevard is closed to cars, likely in 2024, as part of the Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaptation Project. That closure has been planned for over a decade, as a necessary response to sea-level rise that has eroded the bluffs supporting the Great Highway extension and that will soon make the road unsafe and unmaintainable.
We should use these next two years to conduct a transparent, comprehensive planning process to understand the impacts the closure of the Great Highway south of Sloat will have on westside traffic circulation and transportation, and come up with solutions to address those needs, including redesigning the intersection at Sloat and Skyline, and improving and expanding public transit service on the westside. I do not think any changes should be made to the Great Highway between Lincoln and Sloat during that time, and we should use them to help inform the best use of that part of the roadway after the extension is closed. And any long-term thinking about transportation in our neighborhoods should include the biggest, most transformational idea of all: bring a subway to the westside.
This is something I’ve been in close discussion about with my colleagues Supervisor Melgar and Supervisor Chan, and last month, the long-held dream of bringing subway service to the west side took its first step forward, when we approved funding to study and begin to plan for it.
This is just the start for this big, bold, transformative vision to improve transit across our neighborhoods, City, and region — a vision Supervisors Melgar, Chan, and I all share.
Categories: City Hall