SAN FRANCISCO -- A four-block area in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco will be used for a temporary project providing pedestrian spaces for maintaining physical distance during the novel coronavirus health emergency, city officials announced Friday.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will bring sidewalk expansions, the Play Streets program, and the Shared Spaces program to a stretch of Jones Street in the district, which has been hard hit by the pandemic.
"We know that it's been difficult for people to maintain physical distance on sidewalks when going out for essential outings in the Tenderloin, and these changes will make it easier for people to get around their neighborhood safely," Mayor London Breed said in an announcement. "COVID-19
has also made it difficult for our businesses, and thanks to our Shared Spaces Program, more restaurants in the Tenderloin will be able to use outdoor space to operate, which will support the economic and physical health of our entire community."
The project was announced by Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney, whose district includes the Tenderloin, a densely populated neighborhood with a high percentage of low-income residents, people of color, seniors, and transit-dependent residents.
"The Tenderloin not only deserves but desperately needs streets that are re-designed to meet the needs of the residents, essential workers, businesses, families, and seniors," Haney said. "With the critical guidance of the Tenderloin Traffic Safety Taskforce and many other stakeholders, I'm
excited that this set of projects is being implemented."
The SFMTA is removing a parking lane and a travel lane on the east side of Jones Street to create physical distancing lanes that will provide an additional 5 to 8 feet of walking space, adjacent to a sidewalk, and protected from moving vehicles with concrete barriers.
Play Streets will provide a safe recreational area for children and adults in the neighborhood by closing a city block on Saturdays.
Outdoor dining streets will be created by the SFMTA in coordination restaurants and merchants in the neighborhood.
"The Tenderloin has San Francisco's highest concentration of vulnerable residents and highest concentration of traffic crashes. It also has the highest rate of emergency service calls. The street safety and design approaches that work in other neighborhoods did not work in the Tenderloin" said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. "We're grateful to the creativity of community-based organizations, the Fire Department, and other partners for helping us find creative solutions that work for the unique needs of Tenderloin residents."