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3 ways to win more funding for safe streets in 2022

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When it comes to winning safe streets, it’s not just one thing we just push for.

First, there’s winning policies that fundamentally improve traffic safety, like one of our first victories: 15 mile per hour speed limits around almost all public schools in San Francisco.

Then there’s advocating for specific safety projects to be as strong as possible, like getting concrete bulb-outs and pedestrian refuge islands at every dangerous intersection in the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project.

And then there’s making sure the funding exists for needed changes to actually happen on our streets. 2022 could be a transformational year in terms of funding for safe streets, as you’ll learn below. That’s why we need you to start getting involved.

Opportunity #1: SFMTA’s 2-Year Budget

This Spring, the SFMTA is updating their two-year budget. We need the SFMTA to hear from people who support pedestrian safety as a top priority in their survey on budget priorities.

Take the short survey now. You can also attend an online listening session on Monday, February 28 or Thursday, March 3 to share feedback to SFMTA staff directly.

The City has made bold commitments in its new Vision Zero Action Strategy – now they must invest to make them a reality!

Opportunity #2: Reauthorization of Prop K

Back in 2003, voters approved Prop K: a half-cent sales tax to fund a long list of transportation projects. After 20 years, many of those projects, like the Central Subway, Caltrain electrification, and the Presidio Parkway are soon-to-be completed, if not already done.

Prop K will go to the ballot once again in November to be continued for another 20 years. As part of this, a new plan for how the tax revenue will be spent will be created. Walk San Francisco is on the Expenditure Plan Advisory Committee. In this role, we’re pushing hard for a larger portion of the sales tax put toward pedestrian safety and traffic calming projects this time around.

Prop K is a chance to win funding so that 100% of the city’s high-injury network gets meaningful safety fixes – plus give streets around schools, senior centers, and parks the serious attention needed.

Get up to speed on this important piece of the safe streets puzzle, and stay tuned!

Opportunity #3: A $400 Million Transportation Bond on the June Ballot

With just a final vote by the Board of Supervisors coming up next week, the Muni Reliability and Street Safety Bond will head to the June 7, 2022 ballot!

In addition to funding urgent needs for Muni, if approved by voters, this will generate money for street safety projects. When this bond measure was developed last fall, Walk San Francisco fought for and won a 32% increase in funding dedicated to street safety projects (to $114 million). This includes projects to bring down speeds, plus bring greater protection to people crossing the street (including updating signals so blind and low-vision people know when it’s safe to cross).

At the end of the day, it’s all about the funding

The best safe streets policies and plans for street designs can’t happen without sufficient funding.

There other sources of funding for safe streets (and more opportunities on the horizon). We recently celebrated the significant infusion of Vision Zero funds from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In 2019, we helped pass Prop D, which taxes rides on services like Uber and Lyft to fund safe streets. The City also gets some funding from the state for active transportation projects paid for by the gas tax.

Redesigning streets to prioritize people and save lives is going to take all of this – and then some. So thank you for being part of this movement, for your support of Walk SF, and being ready to speak out!

Photo credit: SFMTA. Prop K helped fund curb ramps, pedestrian bulbs, and concrete boarding islands for safe waiting space for the L-Taraval.