The SF Fire Department is an advocate for wide streets. This is reflected both in their public statements and in the SF Fire Code, which mandates a minimum street width of 26 feet to accommodate the Department’s trucks. More recently Supervisor Scott Wiener has been pushing back on that position. Early last year he called on the Department to replace their aging trucks with a smaller, more versatile fleet — and to stop fighting against narrower streets that improve pedestrian safety.
“Our fire trucks should be designed around the needs of our city, not vice versa,” said Wiener.
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Responding to Supervisor Wiener’s calls, last summer the SFFD agreed to a compromise on the Candlestick Point Development that will allow some new streets to be only 20-feet wide — an exception the Fire Code’s official 26-foot minimum. The Candlestick number doesn’t include the width of the sidewalks or any additional setbacks, meaning the final right-of-way is likely to be much higher, probably 30-40′ — not quite a narrow street (12-25′) by my definition. But it’s proof nonetheless that progress can happen, especially if you have a city supervisor and a giant developer like Lennar pushing the same issue.