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Making Room to Enjoy Spectacular Twin Peaks

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Twin Peaks, that miniature mountain range that offers naturally gorgeous views in the middle of San Francisco, is a must-see spot for locals and tourists alike. But the transportation options on the peaks are less than ideal. Access by foot and bike is pretty limited, the road that loops around the mountain top in a “figure 8” is underused by car traffic and the loop's intersections are confusing. That’s why we’re looking to re-purpose a portion of the roadway to provide car-free access for people gazing, hiking and biking.

On Tuesday, the SFMTA Board of Directors will consider approval of a pilot phase under the Twin Peaks Figure 8 Redesign Project, which we’ve developed over the past year with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and SF Public Works.

A photo of the top of Twin Peaks. Markings on the image denote two sections of the roadway that loops around the two mountaintops. One section, on the west side, would be for pedestrians and bicycles only, and the other would be converted from one-way traffic to two-way traffic.

Under the proposed pilot project, the eastern section of the roadway on Twin Peaks would be made car-free, and the western section would carry two-way vehicle traffic.

The project was shaped with community feedback on alternative designs via surveys and an open house last June. The proposed design was approved at a public hearing on March 4, and with approval from our board, the two-year pilot project would start in June.

Using paint and temporary barriers, the pilot would involve turning the eastern half of the “figure 8” roadway into a car-free area and converting the western half from one-way traffic to two-way traffic. We’d also create legitimate parking spaces at the center and south intersections to address the illegal parking that already occurs.

Then, we would evaluate how well the new configuration works by observing how people use the roadways, counting the number of vehicles like cars and tour buses, taking speed surveys, observing parking behavior and surveying people who use the area. When the pilot period ends in summer 2018, we can use the findings to form a plan for more permanent changes.

We hope you’re excited as we are to climb up to a calmer, safer area to take in the vistas of Twin Peaks. We’ll see you up there with a cherry pie and a fine cup of black coffee.