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SFMTA Makes 16 Slow Streets Permanent, Including the Humongously Controversial Slow Lake Street


A full 16 so-called Slow Streets became permanent after a Tuesday night SFMTA board vote, though a dozen others will lose their Slow Street status, and six hours of public comment furor swayed the board to keep the Richmond’s Lake Street a Slow Street.

The Slow Streets party is over for more than a dozen Slow Streets that were adopted shortly into the pandemic, and turned those streets into bicyclist and pedestrian wonderlands. But the Slow Streets party is now permanent for 16 other Slow Streets. After Mayor London Breed started publicly bellyaching about the Slow Streets program in August, the SFMTA started a torturously “Slow” process for determining which of those streets would be returned to normal, and which would remain Slow Streets. They finally rendered their verdict in a Tuesday night vote, and the Chronicle reports that 16 Slow Streets have been made permanent.  

This was largely a pro forma vote, as the SFMTA board was almost certain to simply go along with whatever their staff had recommended. But there was one gigantic exception. As Hoodline reported this week, SFMTA staff refused to make a recommendation on Lake Street in the Inner Richmond District, saying that “community feedback on this Slow Street was so divided.” Indeed, rival Friends of Slow Lake Street and Open Lake Street factions have been duking it put online and in person for months.

But the Chronicle reports that “The board on Tuesday night also decided to add Lake Street to the Slow Street program — from 28th Avenue to Arguello Boulevard.” That paper notes that “The fight over Lake Street has been particularly bitter with both sides lobbying city officials and organizing for many months.”

Image: SFMTA

Here’s a map of your 16 now-permanent Slow Streets, with those streets indicated with a purple line. If you’d prefer a detailed bullet-point list, SFMTA has a list of the permanent Slow Streets.

Screenshot: SFGovTV 

Was there six freaking hours of public comment, with more than 300 people commenting? There sure was! The public comment was largely dominated by people arguing for or against Lake Street in particular being a Slow Street. And as you see above, the factions came dressed in their matching t-shirts and in some cases homemade hats.

According to KGO, one anti-Slow Street commenter remarked that under the Slow Streets system, Lake Street “feels like a January 6th environment.”

Does this look like a “January 6th environment” to you? Either way, after all the drama Lake Street will remain a Slow Street. Though the way things have gone in 2022, don’t be surprised if someone starts up a ballot measure campaign to strip that portion of Lake Street of its Slow Street status.

Related: Is Mayor Breed Trying to Finish Off SF’s Slow Streets? Recent Developments Raise Questions [SFist]

Image: @SlowLakeStreet via Twitter