Car crashes were cut nearly in half on some San Francisco streets

Car crashes were cut nearly in half on some San Francisco streets thanks to a program designed to slow drivers down.

A new report from the SFMTA took a look at how the program's going and found that the Slow Streets program significantly cut the number of collisions and injuries, and encourages people to ditch their cars - and walk or bike.

Between 2020 and 2022, Slow Streets saw a 48% drop in collisions. There have been no traffic deaths on any Slow Street.

During that same period, other San Francisco streets only saw a 14% drop.

"The slow streets make a difference. If there weren't slow streets it would be a lot harder to bike to work," said San Francisco resident Aaron Smith.

But the SFMTA says more work needs to be done.

Some Slow Streets, like Noe, Minnesota and Page streets, still have more than 1,000 vehicles a day.

There are 18 designated "Slow Streets" in The City. No one should be driving more than 20 mph on Slow Streets, an effort that's been in place since the pandemic.

In the report, the SFMTA says it will consider whether to add more traffic-slowing measures on those streets and others to get people to drive even slower - no more than 15 miles per hour.

Jodie Medeiros, the executive director of the non-profit, Walk SF, says advocacy groups like hers encourage the city to have as many as 100 miles of slow streets in the future.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful to be on a slow street network to get to libraries, schools, wherever you need to go, all along a slow street," she said.

Some residents expressed reservations about a network that extensive.

"I'm supportive of the program as it is, I don't think there's a huge need to do every block, I think you can over-do the Slow Street program," said San Francisco resident, Neil Schriber. "I'd like to see them improve these and keep them around."

SFMTA's Streets Director Tom Maguire said it's a balancing act.

"Slow streets work as a way of reducing collisions," he said. "But they're not for every street. Our job is to find a way to build a city-wide network of streets, without affecting mobility."

At their next board meeting on May 16, SFMTA will propose adding five more miles of slow streets in the SOMA and Glen Park neighborhoods.