"We know that it's been difficult for people to maintain physical distance on sidewalks when going out for essential outings in the Tenderloin, and these changes will make it easier for people to get around their neighborhood safely," said Mayor Breed. "COVID-19 has also made it difficult for our businesses, and thanks to our Shared Spaces Program, more restaurants in the Tenderloin will be able to use outdoor space to operate, which will support the economic and physical health of our entire community."
"The Tenderloin not only deserves but desperately needs streets that are re-designed to meet the needs of the residents, essential workers, businesses, families, and seniors," said Supervisor Haney. "With the critical guidance of the Tenderloin Traffic Safety Taskforce and many other stakeholders, I'm excited that this set of projects is being implemented."
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The Tenderloin is a dense neighborhood with a high percentage of low-income residents, people of color, seniors, and transit-dependent San Franciscans who need more space for physical distancing and making essential trips. With support from Mayor Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney, the SFMTA will implement the following efforts in the Tenderloin to address community needs starting next week:
- Physical distancing lanes: These lanes will provide an additional 5 to 8 feet of walking space, adjacent to a sidewalk, and protected from moving vehicles with concrete barriers known as k-rail or with parked vehicles. On Jones Street, the SFMTA is removing a parking lane and a travel lane on the east side of the street. Play Streets: With the loss of playgrounds and schoolyards, the thousands of children living in the Tenderloin have limited space to play and move around. The Play Streets effort will fully close entire blocks on Saturdays to create a safe place for kids and adults. Outdoor dining streets: In coordination with the restaurants on blocks, the SFMTA will assist with developing a Shared Spaces plan to support the small businesses as identified with the Tenderloin Merchants Association.
From the beginning of the City's COVID-19 response, the SFMTA has supported the Tenderloin community through changes such as a parking lane closure at the pop-up test site on Ellis Street, daytime street closure in front of St. Anthony's at the 100 block of Golden Gate, and a parking lane removal for more pedestrian-queuing space at GLIDE on the 300 block of Ellis. The City and SFMTA will continue to support additional community needs, such as curb changes needed to support testing sites and food pantries, both the short-term and into the future.
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"The Tenderloin has San Francisco's highest concentration of vulnerable residents and highest concentration of traffic crashes. It also has the highest rate of emergency service calls. The street safety and design approaches that work in other neighborhoods did not work in the Tenderloin" said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. "We're grateful to the creativity of community-based organizations, the Fire Department, and other partners for helping us find creative solutions that work for the unique needs of Tenderloin residents."
Several Tenderloin community groups have been important partners with the City and SFMTA in the effort to create these programs. These groups include the Central City SRO Collaborative, Tenderloin Community Benefit District, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, and the Tenderloin People's Congress.
"We're happy the Jones project has gone forward, but it is only just the beginning of broader shift towards a more equitable future that puts the Tenderloin's residents — not car traffic — first," said Evan Oravec, co-chair of the Tenderloin Traffic Safety Taskforce.
More details on the City's COVID-19 Response for Tenderloin streets can be found here: https://www.sfmta.com/news-blog
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