San Francisco

Speed Limits in SF's Tenderloin Could Soon Be Reduced to 20 MPH

Vehicles in San Francisco.
NBC Bay Area

San Francisco's motorists may have to start pumping their brakes more frequently when driving in the Tenderloin, which could become the city's first neighborhood to reduce the speed of traffic to 20 mph in order to abate vehicle collisions.

The proposed rule changes would reduce the speed limit from 25 to 20 mph, in addition to barring right turns on red in many intersections in the neighborhood, which has been plagued by frequent collisions.

According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, all of the streets in the Tenderloin are in what the city considers its High Injury Network, which identifies 13 percent of San Francisco's streets that have 75 percent of its severe traffic collisions and fatalities.

The SFMTA's Board of Directors will vote on approving the speed reduction proposal on March 16, and if the directors pass it, the rule will be implemented in April. The change prohibiting right turns on red does not require SFMTA approval and would be implemented in March.

"Our residents deserve and need safety in every way -- including from being hit by cars. This will increase safety for people walking, biking and driving," Matt Haney, the supervisor representing the Tenderloin and South of Market, said on Twitter.

Lowering the speed limit would increase the survivability of car crashes, with pedestrians twice as likely to survive being hit by a car at 20 mph versus 25 mph, according to an SFMTA blog post.

The proposal came from SFMTA's Tenderloin Traffic Safety Project, a project aiming to alleviate public health concerns in the neighborhood.

The SFMTA's Sustainable Streets Division is holding a public hearing on the changes at 10 a.m. on Feb. 19. Information on the meeting can be found at

"Tenderloin residents don't want to be a containment zone. And they don't want to be treated as a freeway. Vulnerable pedestrians live here. We can all slow down and should. These changes will help," Haney said.

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