letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Not-So-Slow Kirkham Street


Kirkham Street is closed to through traffic, but one would not know that simply by standing on the street. Kirkham is as active as ever; cars are simply cutting around the “slow street” barriers and driving as if it were a normal road. 

The 25-mile-an-hour speed limit going completely unheeded. We have to decide whether we actually want slow streets or not.  Right now. there are signs that make clear that Kirkham is safe for kids and pedestrians. And these signs are being zoomed around at nearly twice the speed limit.  

Someone is going to get hurt. You cannot have cars screaming thru areas designated for foot traffic. The fault for this lies entirely with the City.  The City designated this to be a local-only road, but will not enforce it.  The City needs to either make Kirkham an open road and remove the signs promoting children to play on it or enforce the rules that Kirkham is not a road and allow people to use it. Right now we are getting the worst of both. 

Patrick McKuin

5 replies »

  1. Exactly. The whole slow street program was poorly thought out and unenforceable. It promotes unsafe practices like walking in the middle of the street (when we have sidewalks) and encouraging (illegal) recreational activities like soccer nets and art work/obstructions through the confusing messaging about what slow streets are. Time to take away the signs. If you want to calm traffic then enforce speed limits, create more stop signs, etc and apply it universally instead of making a minute number of streets slow streets that divert traffic to other streets making them bear the brunt of the traffic supposedly kept off slow streets.


  2. I agree 100%. It’s pretty clear the best solution is to just OPEN the road as it should be any children in the area can go play in one of the many parks in the neighborhood. In addition, OPEN THE GREAT HIGHWAY! Closing one of the safest streets in the city and turning it into a playground while forcing tens of thousands of vehicles into the neighborhood, cutting through Golden Gate Park and even overcrowding 19th Ave & Sunset Blvd was a completely ridiculous idea and failed experiment.


  3. Remove the signs and open the street. Streets are designed for cars and sidewalks, which Kirkham has, for pedestrians. Why is there any need to even try to flip that script? It’s just stupid. It pushes cars onto the parallel streets, creating more congestion there and forcing people to be in their cars longer (burning more fuel) as they detour out of their way. Closing a street makes all the streets in the area less safe overall. And it’s not at all fair to the folks who live on the neighboring streets. People moved into their houses and apartments knowing what the deal was on traffic. Now you close a street and there are arguable winners who see less traffic in front of their house (I say “arguable” because many closed street residents would prefer that the street be opened up completely, even if it means more traffic on the street, to having to navigate around those silly barriers when driving, which by itself creates a major hazard!) and definite losers (the folks on the neighboring streets). Why do that and disrupt settled expectations???

    Kirkham is probably the worst joke of all the closed streets. Putting aside the fact that almost nobody uses it when closed (the fact is that I and, without exception, everyone I know ALWAYS prefer walking on the sidewalk), the parallel streets onto which traffic is diverted are Lawton and Judah, and east of 17th Avenue Judah is the only option. Hmmm, is there anything significant about Judah? Oh yeah, the most heavily used train line in the city runs on it. Does anybody really want the trains to have to compete with more automobile traffic?!? Of course not. The train drivers sure don’t, the automobile drivers don’t want to be forced on train lines, and the incidence of passengers being struck by a passing car when stepping off a train car is not trivial. If anything, cars should be discouraged from using streets that are frequented by trains. It’s insane to instead close a street that runs immediately parallel to the city’s most used train line, necessarily forcing train drivers and boarding and off-boarding passengers to have to compete with more cars.


  4. Love the slow streets. It’s not meant to be “enforced.” It’s meant to be a civic responsibility and community duty. Just open the street? You’re all probably the ones speeding around the signs.


  5. San Francisco is great for forcing its half baked ideas down citizens’ throats and then leaving them unattended. Now they want “safe” injection sites in our neighborhoods. What could possibly go wrong?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s