The City of San Francisco has adopted the following policies, plans, and programs that support a safer, more walkable city. Walk San Francisco members work to ensure the prioritization and implementation of these efforts support mission to make walking in San Francisco safer for everyone, so that our community is healthier and more livable.
The Transit-First Policy was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 1973 and voted into the City Charter in 1999. The Transit-First Policy states that the City should prioritize street improvements that enhance walking, bicycling, and public transit as an alternative to automobile use.
Adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2006, the Better Streets Policy states streets should be designed to accommodate all modes of transportation, with an emphasis on walking, bicycling and public transit. The Better Streets Policy requires City agencies to coordinate the planning and design of streets/public right-of-ways to ensure that the policy is implemented.
Public Works Code Section 2.4.13 requires the City to include pedestrian, bicycle, and streetscape improvements as part of any planning or construction activity in the public right-of-way.
In December of 2010, former Mayor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Directive to address issues of pedestrian safety in San Francisco. The Pedestrian Safety Executive Directive created a citywide target to reduce serious and fatal pedestrian injuries by 25% by 2016 and by 50% by 2021. In order to achieve these targets, the Executive Directive proposed to implement short-term pedestrian safety actions and to create a long-term Pedestrian Action Plan.
The Executive Directive facilitated the creation of the Pedestrian Safety Task Force, an inter-agency group that continues in the development of pedestrian safety programs, policies, initiatives and plans.
In 2014 Walk SF, the SF Bicycle Coalition and a coalition of community groups called on City leaders and agencies to formally adopt Vision Zero – a goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024. Vision Zero came as a result of the near-record number of people who were killed while walking and biking in 2013.
Vision Zero started as strategy in Sweden, but has subsequently been adopted in other major cities (including New York City). The policy’s goal is to eliminate all serious and fatal traffic-related injuries through a multi-prong strategy of engineering, education and enforcement. To date many government bodies in San Francisco have introduced resolutions with clear metrics related to Vision Zero.
San Francisco’s Pedestrian Strategy, released on Walk to Work Day 2013, is a comprehensive plan to improve the walkability and pedestrian safety of all San Francisco neighborhoods. The Pedestrian Strategy includes engineering, education and enforcement components with measurable goals for 2014, 2016 and 2021. Primary goals of the Pedestrian Strategy include the following:
The Pedestrian Strategy is a collaborative effort between the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Planning Department, Police Department, County Transportation Authority and Municipal Transportation Agency. Walk SF is monitoring the implementation of the Pedestrian Strategy closely through our Vision Zero campaign, and Streetscore: Walk San Francisco’s Report Card on Walking.
Released in 2013, WalkFirst is a data-driven process that will prioritize 5 years of capital improvements to meet Pedestrian Strategy and Vision Zero goals to eliminate traffic fatalities and make San Francisco a safer place to walk. WalkFirst has created a strategic framework to identify and deliver pedestrian projects and programs throughout San Francisco. Short and long term enforcement and engineering strategies have been identified to address issues of pedestrian safety on the City’s High Injury Network.
WalkFirst is a collaborative effort between the San Francisco Planning Department, the Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Department of Public Health.
Adopted by the City in 2010, the Better Streets Plan is a comprehensive set of standards, policies and guidelines that guides the design of San Francisco’s pedestrian realm. The Better Streets Plan governs the design of new street improvement projects and streetscape requirements for new development. The plan also includes implementation strategies that detail how the city can fund, build and maintain streetscape improvements.
The Better Streets Plan is a collaborative effort of the San Francisco Planning Department, Mayor’s Office on Disability, Public Utilities Commission, Department of Public Works, Municipal Transportation Agency and the County Transportation Authority.
Released in 2013, Green Connections is a long-range plan intended to improve 115 miles of city streets and to increase access to parks, open spaces and the waterfront. Green Connections aims to improve traffic safety and to encourage active modes of transportation through infrastructure interventions along streets identified in the plan as ‘green connectors’.
Green Connections is a collaborative effort of the San Francisco Planning Department, Municipal Transportation Agency, Department of Public Health, Department of the Environment, Public Utilities Commission, Department of Public Works, the Port of San Francisco, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Walk San Francisco, Nature in the City, and San Francisco Parks Alliance.
Published in 2009, San Francisco’s “Pavement to Parks” program aims to convert underused areas of the public right-of-way into new pedestrian spaces. Much of these underused areas are located on excessively wide streets and intersections. Interventions are typically limited to temporary, inexpensive and easy-to-implement treatments.
Pavement to Parks is a collaborative effort of the San Francisco Planning Department, Department of Public Works, Municipal Transportation Agency, Office of Economic and Workforce Development and non-profit organizations.
The Parklet Program, developed by SF Planning’s Pavement to Parks Program, began in 2010. Parklets are a portion of street space that have been repurposed into public open-space. The creation of parklets typically involves repurposing on-street parking spaces. The Parklet Program provides business owners, organizations and residents with a toolbox and path to establish their own parklet.
The first formal parklets were installed in San Francisco in 2010 – and since their original inception they have been installed in neighborhoods throughout the city. Following their success and acclaim, cities in the United States and abroad have begun to devise their own versions of the program.
San Francisco’s Plaza Program began in 2014, and makes it easier for communities to activate their own local plazas through standardized agreement forms, systemic processes and customized event permitting tools. San Francisco’s Plaza Program aims to transform underutilized plazas throughout the city into vibrant community amenities, supporting activities such as arts and music events, farmers’ markets, movie nights and much more.
San Francisco’s Plaza Program is a partnership between the Office of Workforce Development, the Real Estate Division and the Department of Public Works.
Sunday Streets SF began in 2008. Sunday Streets is an open streets event where stretches of streets in San Francisco are closed to traffic, and open for people to enjoy recreational and community activities.
Sunday Streets take place monthly on Sundays, and are hosted in different neighborhoods throughout San Francisco. Non-profit and health organization offer free activities and share information about their services during Sunday Streets events. Find out more at SundayStreetsSF.org