Creating Shared Space by Limiting Through Traffic

Slow Streets program has launched in the City of Santa Cruz to make residential streets safer and more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. The initial application period resulted in 48 applications. After careful review, 11 streets were chosen for the first phase, which will be implemented through signage designed to minimize through-vehicle traffic and slow down vehicle speeds, so as to prioritize walking and biking on those designated streets. Additional phases will expand the program to additional streets citywide.

While the COVID-19 health crisis has led to an increase in residents walking and biking in their neighborhoods, the challenges of maintaining social distancing have led many pedestrians to walk in the street. While motor vehicles will still retain right-of-way on designated Slow Streets, the program aims to create shared space on lower-traffic residential streets for cars, cyclists and pedestrians alike to allow for both safety and better social distancing for those walking, jogging or biking outside. 

If you think there’s a need for a Slow Streets program in your neighborhood, first, contact your local officials and/or community and economic development department for more information. Your city may or may not have already identified and/or determined pre-selected priority areas. The appropriate department will likely need to assess pedestrian and traffic impacts, and facilitate a scoring process and zone evaluation methodology prior to developing an application process. Members interested in learning how Santa Cruz set up their program, please contact agauer@mbep.biz.