Projects and planning
One of the most scenic cities in the world, San Francisco is a great place to walk. Making sure that pedestrian travel is safe is the primary goal of our Pedestrian Program, part of Livable Streets.
Please visit the Neighborhood Planning Page to learn more about streetscape projects in specific locations that include pedestrian improvements. Read on for city-wide efforts and agency standards:
As awareness and concern about the relationship between transportation choices, global warming and public health grows, transportation agencies are finding an increasing need for pedestrian mobility data. In San Francisco, data about the number of people walking is used to measure the progress of City policies and sustainability goals, determine the effect of pedestrian infrastructure improvements, measure the mode split between the City’s transportation options, forecast future pedestrian demand, and determine pedestrian crossing risk. The SFMTA conducts manual counts, has automatic counters collecting 24/7 pedestrian volume data, and has developed a Pedestrian Volume Model to estimate pedestrian volumes at intersections citywide.
The standard treatment for marked crosswalks consists of two 12”-wide white retro-reflective thermoplastic stripes, usually installed roughly perpendicular to the street curb. These crosswalks are located throughout the city to alert drivers to expect crossing pedestrians and to direct pedestrians to desirable crossing locations. Through the Better Streets planning process, the SFMTA has drafted Crosswalk Guidelines that stipulate a policy of further enhancing pedestrian visibility at uncontrolled locations by installing continental crosswalks where marked crosswalks are warranted. Continental crosswalks consist of a series of wide stripes parallel to the curb for the length of the crossing. Crosswalks may be accompanied by yield teeth and yield signs, indicating where approaching vehicles should yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. This project is ongoing.
Crosswalks are present by law at all approximately right angle intersections, whether marked or unmarked, unless pedestrian crossing is specifically prohibited. In the past, crosswalks have been closed at some locations where limited visibility or high traffic volumes might endanger crossing pedestrians. Currently, there are roughly 100 closed crosswalks citywide where signage and physical barriers forbid pedestrians from crossing. The Better Streets Plan recommends that closed crosswalks be evaluated for opening in order to improve access and pedestrian network connectivity. This project is ongoing.
Red zones on approaches to crosswalks improve sight distance between pedestrians and approaching motorists. Red zones adjacent to crosswalks also improve access to curb ramps. Section 3B.18 of the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices includes a “should” condition on removing parking on both the near and far side of all intersections. The Draft SMTA Crosswalk Guidelines, developed as part of the Better Streets planning process, recommend that a 10-foot red zone be painted on all crosswalk approach legs. This project will evaluate and select locations for red visibility curbs. This project is ongoing. See our red zone flyer for more information.
Streetfilms.org has created this short video to explain how prohibiting parking near intersections improves visibility for both vehicles and pedestrians.
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Pedestrian services are provided by the Sustainable Streets Division of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Copyright © 2000-2013 SFMTA. All rights reserved. Updated April 8, 2013