Eastern Twin Peaks is Now Permanently Car-Free
After a four-year pilot program, the eastern section of the Twin Peaks Blvd is now permanently car-free. The pilot program began in 2016 to address issues of cyclists being run off the road, parking problems, speeding, and risks to the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly.
At that time, there was an eastern and western Twin Peaks Blvd that created a figure-eight around the Noe Peak and Eureka Peak that made up the Twin Peaks. Each blvd allowed traffic both ways so motorists could access both sides of each peak.
That changed in 2016 when the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency began a pilot program to test the feasibility and benefits of closing the eastern blvd off to motor vehicles. The SFMTA made the decision to block off the eastern part of the figure-eight to traffic to make it safer for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. This gave them a place that was free from the threat of speeding motorists and tour buses that were common on the boulevard.
In 2018, the board felt encouraged by the preliminary results and extended the program for another two years. The findings were that the eastern side was now “prettier” and provided a calm and relaxing experience for those who shed their cars to enjoy the eastern side.
They had data to back up their decision. Fifty-eight percent of the people who replied to an online survey said they favored making it permanent. Seventy-one percent of walkers and 73 percent of cyclists also said that it should be permanent. Also, an unexpected but pleasant surprise was that speeding was down 77 percent after the change.
Two years later, in April of 2020, the SFMTA board unanimously decided to make the closure of the eastern side to cars permanent. They cited a continuation of the data found after the first two years, and that the increase in popularity and safety of the Twin Peaks made the decision to permanently close the eastern side an easy one.
The success of the pilot program has prompted the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to come up with a plan to make the changes permanent. Prior to the plan’s unveiling, the RPD and the San Francisco Public Works Department will be completing the following:
- Develop illustrative renderings for a converted roadway;
- Host a public open house to share design renderings with the community and solicit input;
- Finalize concept design and cost estimate;
- Complete environmental review of the design;
- Work on street vacation legislation and jurisdictional transfer; and
- Pursue funding for construction
Once these are completed sometime in June of 2020, then an actionable plan will be presented to make the changes permanent.