Eyes on the Slow Street: Shotwell Signage Improvements
Replacing plastic with better plastic. Thanks, but where's the concrete?
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Multiple SFMTA crews were out replacing and upgrading “Slow Streets” signs on Shotwell in the Mission, from 14th to Cesar Chavez Thursday morning. From an SFMTA statement on social media:
First up: New signage! The previous signs were prototypes. These are meant to last: They’re affixed to the roadway, highway-grade, and reflective for better visibility at night. They’re going in closer to the center of the street so they can’t be missed.
SFMTA is also installing plastic diverters at major intersections, such as 20th seen here:
SFMTA is boasting about its upgraded installations on Shotwell and other streets that will be made permanently off-limits to through traffic, post-pandemic. Streetsblog is, of course, thrilled to see streets being returned to the people of the neighborhood. And the passage of A.B. 773 will help things move even faster.
Exciting changes are coming to Shotwell Slow Street! We are out here installing *brand new* materials along the corridor to make it a safer space to walk and bike. Shotwell is one of our first Slow Streets to be extended beyond the pandemic, so it’s time for some upgrades. (1) pic.twitter.com/1wu3ArTFda
— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) October 13, 2021
“I’m happy to see the latest changes,” wrote Livable City’s Tom Radulovich, who lives in the area, in an email to Streetsblog. “Shotwell slow street has been popular with neighbors, and it’s great that SFMTA has taken the next step towards transforming the street. They will complement the speed humps already installed there.”
However, Streetsblog was disappointed to see SFMTA crews replacing plastic straws with, well, more plastic straws (sorry, “safe hit posts”). Even if those plastic treatments are better secured, they’re still plastic. In fact, the crew at 24th pushed away a locally installed guerrilla planter (see lead image) that would do more to actually stop an errant motorist than what they were replacing it with.
Streetsblog is in no way blaming the crews. They were rightfully moving the planter because it was partially blocking a disabled parking space. It’s just ironic.
The thing is, the motorists who are the most dangerous don’t stop because of plastic posts–they run over them. And sometimes they run over people after that. SFMTA could at least switch to concrete-colored posts, such as those used on Doyle in Emeryville, to give motorists the impression they are installing an impenetrable barrier. In Emeryville they even mixed in some old concrete garbage cans they already had in a warehouse, just in case a motorist figured out the other bollards are actually plastic.
That’s what a city does when it commits to safety, rather than still worrying that solid posts and objects might cause damage to the cars of errant drivers.
These need to be upgraded to bollards. Why are we still usiny flex posts?
— matt ranalletta (@mattranalletta) October 13, 2021
SFMTA needs to up its game and start using concrete–something more akin to what Berkeley uses for its Bicycle Boulevards, as seen below:
“They do seem rather tentative, especially compared to what the most progressive cities are doing,” added Radulovich. “I hope Shotwell neighbors get a chance to design some truly permanent improvements for the streets.”
Because if SFMTA officials are still expecting motorists to voluntarily and universally respect Slow Streets because of some plastic posts, well, just note how many motorists already ignore the law and, well, common decency, by parking in crosswalks and on sidewalks (such as below, seen multiple times, on Shotwell):
Streetsblog has reached out to SFMTA to find out if concrete barriers are in the works and will update this post accordingly, but there’s certainly no indication as of yet.