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Winning car-free space on Octavia is just the start…

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City will permanently close one small section of Octavia to vehicles

Last week, we stood up in strong support of SFMTA’s proposal to permanently close a section of Octavia Boulevard to vehicle traffic between Linden and Hayes Streets. We’re thrilled to share that the proposal was unanimously passed by the SFMTA Board of Directors and with strong support from Supervisor Vallie Brown.

One of the reasons we’re thrilled about this closure is because it connects to Patricia’s Green. At Walk San Francisco, we believe that the City needs to make safety improvements on the streets around parks, schools, and senior centers a priority – and this project is right in line with that.

The closure on Octavia will be small: about a half a block (see a graphic of the approved proposal below).

But the SFMTA Board members asked SFMTA staff to look at extending the closure of Octavia from Fell Street to Linden Street, plus add additional pedestrian safety measures to Linden. The SFMTA Board also asked SFMTA staff to explore closing additional blocks of Hayes Street to make them transit- and taxi-only. This is exciting!

This project and what happened at the SFMTA Board meeting – represent a big step in the direction San Francisco must go: establishing many more permanent car-free spaces. Cities around the world are creating these people-first places to support climate goals, boost local economies, and reduce severe and fatal traffic crashes. So what car-free spaces should be next for San Francisco?

A car-free Market Street and beyond

At the very top of our list for car-free spaces is of course Market Street, where half a million people walk every day (take action in support of a car-free Market Street). It’s time to take private vehicles off Market to make it the grand boulevard it should be for people walking, biking, and taking transit.

But there are so many more possibilities. We asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook to share their ideas, and… wow! Some of the ideas include:

  • Valencia Street between 15th and 19th
  • JFK Boulevard in Golden Gate Park
  • Fulton Street between the Asian Art Museum and SF Main Public Library
  • The Embarcadero from North Point to Powell
  • Castro between Market and 20th
  • Mission Street from 16th to 24th
  • Haight Street
  • Grant Avenue above Bush Street
  • Union Street from Fillmore to Octavia
  • 18th Street between Dolores and Castro
  • Judah Street from La Playa to 44th
  • Divisadero from Fell to Fulton
  • Columbus Avenue from Green to Washington
  • 9th Avenue between Judah and Irving
  • Lawton Street between 42nd and 43rd

The list goes on. Just imagine what San Francisco would be like if we start creating a beautiful patchwork of car-free spaces across the city for people to gather and play.

It can happen if we push hard enough together! So be sure you’re a Walk San Francisco member – and let’s build an unstoppable movement toward safe streets for all.