Last week, I stood with Mayor Kevin Faulconer as he announced the launch of San Diego’s slow streets pilot program. This followed weeks of coalition building, developing recommendations, and advocacy to support essential travel for all modes of transportation.
The announcement includes the installation of slow streets–safe space for people walking and bicycling to have enough room to physically distance from others while traveling by closing some streets to through vehicle traffic–on three streets to start. Since Wednesday, those three slow streets have already been implemented: Diamond Street, Howard Avenue, and a short segment on Adams Avenue.
The City also announced that they will install larger crosswalk buttons for pedestrians, reopen popular bikeways that were temporarily closed, and begin a communications campaign to promote safe driving!
This announcement was not a given. While many cities have also joined the slows streets movement, Los Angeles, Chicago, and several others have not. However, thanks to the Mayor and dedicated advocates who championed the idea, we were able to help San Diego make slow streets a reality.
Still, more work remains to automate pedestrian crosswalk buttons–beg buttons–so that people walking do not have to press a button to get permission to cross a signalized intersection. No one should have to use an elbow, foot, or other creative means to avoid pressing a button during a pandemic in order to cross the street.
Finding alternatives to pressing the button for people with disabilities or older adults is even more dangerous and difficult, which is why we partnered with Disability Rights California, who sent a letter supporting our recommendation to regional leaders.
Scroll below for a few pictures from Friday on Diamond Street, the day after they were implemented.
We hope you and your family are doing well in these difficult times.
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