Dec 2022 Lake Street Recap

Dec 2022 Lake Street Recap
A group of bikers pass by unofficial Slow Street signs in buckets filled with concrete. The signs resemble SFMTA Slow Street signs. The bikers are riding cargo bikes, the middle one has on a sweatshirt saying “Slow is Forever”.

After official signage was abruptly removed from Slow Lake St, the community came together to fix the suddenly unsafe conditions. To fill in for the temporarily missing official signs, we used wood, concrete, and buckets lined with retroreflective tape. These were deployed Sunday 12/11.

Home Depot buckets with printed signs attached to the wood posts resembling official SFMTA Slow Street Signs. The buckets have been painted white

Within a few days of signs coming down, vehicle traffic on Lake doubled. Many community groups signed onto a letter asking SFMTA to bring back signs immediately, but all we got was radio silence from the city for days. So people decided to act.

A chart of vehicle traffic by day on Lake Street from 11/25 to 12/9. Before the barricades were removed on 12/5, traffic was around 500 vehicles per day, with a few heavy vehicles. After they were removed, traffic started climbing every subsequent day, reaching 1300 vehicles on 12/9. Heavy vehicle traffic increased substantially.

Lake would already be safe & done if the Mayor had not reversed the SFMTA Board's Aug '21 decision. Instead there was a year of delay, “a confusing process sowing discord” - SFMTA Director Manny Yekutiel. Traffic diverters, preventing cut-thru traffic, were axed.

Proposed map of treatments along Lake Street, captioned “Feb ‘22 SFMTA plan blocked by Mayor’s Office just before public release”. There are a variety of intersection treatments: speed cushions, raised crosswalks, Slow Street delineator flex posts, traffic circles, wayfinding signs, all way stop signs, and some roads marked “ROAD CLOSED TO THRU TRAFFIC”. 15th and Funston both have exit only barriers pointing towards Park Presidio.

The other unfortunate victims of this flip-flopping are SFMTA workers. A few rogue individuals have harassed staff and destroyed official signage. Our public servants deserve respect for the hard work they do in a constantly shifting landscape under poor leadership.

Official SFMTA slow street signs ripped off utility poles and thrown in garbage cans.

Even still, the future is bright! The bucket signs were removed after SFMTA installed flex posts. Next we need treatments to prevent cut-thru traffic. Concrete diverters in Berkeley/Portland have helped create a safe network to walk and bike. We can't half-ass infrastructure.

Picture of a concrete traffic diverter in Portland. Big concrete planters are placed so that cars are forced to turn, but with gaps big enough for bikes and pedestrians to go through.

Joy and positivity play a huge part in moving us forward. People in the community joined together on Sunday to celebrate the next era of Slow Lake with sweet treats! We’re excited for the community-connecting future that Slow Streets can bring — if we do them right.

A long parade of people walking on Lake Street. Many have bikes, most are dressed for the rain.