Paseos de San Francisco

If you’re into people-centric streets, this year’s mayoral election has an interesting candidate in Reed Martin. On his website Grand SF he lays out a vision for reimagined streets that matches up nicely with what I’ve written about here at Narrow Streets SF.

Global cities have long recognized that streets are about much more than driving; they sustain our communities. In San Francisco, we have a surprisingly low ratio of public plazas, pedestrian zones, and shared spaces when compared internationally. Instead, we continue to promote dangerously high speed traffic, leading to over 60 pedestrian accidents each month—and three deaths—making San Francisco one of the most dangerous cities for walking in the nation.

Martin envisions four types of streets:

GrandSF Paseos

Reed Martin / Grand SF

We have a grand opportunity to fundamentally shift how we view our streets in San Francisco. In conjunction with a commitment to World-Class Transit, it’s time to reclaim streets for socializing, playing, shopping, or even exercising, while reducing overall congestion, noise, pollution, and injuries.

As I’ve written before, the key is to bring our street widths down to a traditional size — typically 15-20 feet wide. We can do it by turning excess pavement into new park space and new shops, cafes, and housing.

A before and after view of McAllister Street if new housing were built in the driving and parking lanes.
Imagining McAllister Street narrowed to about 15 feet wide -- the size of the existing sidewalk -- with a row of new houses placed in the existing auto roadway.

Narrowing a Residential Street / Narrow Streets SF

You can check out more of Martin’s vision at

  1 comment for “Paseos de San Francisco

  1. Dan
    October 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    This is a great vision; doing the same for MUNI is an imperative. We have to provide quick, efficient and reliable public transit to car drivers if these streets are to become calmer via removing cars from the streets.

    While I support the plan outlined in the “New MUNI Metro” link, my fear is that the NIMBYism will prevail. A perfect example is the (lack of an) extension of the Central Subway to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf. That fight says is all.

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