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Muni Forward Upgrades on Taraval Start in January

by
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Riders exiting L Taraval train

We’re moving the L Taraval Rapid Project forward with improvements to make the street safer and improve Muni service starting in January.

After engaging with the community to shape proposed changes approved in September, early enhancements are coming to make Taraval safer for everyone who depends on it — including the Muni riders who make 30,000 trips on the L Taraval each day.

The initial improvements that will roll out in January and February include:

  1. “Clear zones” for safer train stops
  2. Painted safety zones at sidewalk corners
  3. Parking spaces converted for safety improvements
  4. Painted boarding zones (six-month pilot)
  5. Wider stop spacing for faster Muni service
  6. Transit-only lanes

See sections below for more details.

This is the first phase of a multi-year upgrade of Taraval that includes replacing infrastructure like the worn rails, overhead wires and sewers, as well as repaving the entire street.

Taraval Improvements Coming in January and February 2017

1) “Clear zones” for safer train stops

Muni Forward-branded illustration of a clear zone.

“Clear zones” are areas marked on the street at transit stops between a lane for streetcars or cable cars and the adjacent traffic lane and help passengers to step off safely.

Clear zones will be installed at eight intersections on Taraval:

  • Westbound only (north side): 26th, 30th, 32nd, 40th and 46th avenues
  • Eastbound and westbound: 19th, 42nd and 44th avenues

Graphic of Taraval Street in San Francisco, showing red rectangles for new clear zones and light blue ones for existing transit stops.

Boarding islands will replace these clear zones as part of the street reconstruction in 2018, giving riders a safe place to stand and wait for Muni trains. However, clear zones are an interim measure not intended for the same purpose, so please do not stand in them.

Remember, drivers are required by law to stop behind trains at stops where passengers board in the roadway, including locations with clear zones. If you drive along Taraval, do not pass stopped L trains until the doors close.

2) Painted safety zones at sidewalk corners

Painted safety zpme
A painted safety zone at 16th and Rhode Island streets.

Painted safety zones at sidewalk corners are a near-term measure to help make pedestrians more visible to drivers when crossing the street. We’ve found that they cause drivers to yield to pedestrians more often and make safer turns.

Until concrete sidewalk bulb-outs can be installed with Taraval’s larger reconstruction, painted safety zones will temporarily extend the sidewalk corners at six intersections.

Painted safety zone locations: Taraval at 20th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, 33rd and 38th avenues.

3) Parking spaces converted for safety improvements

To make room for the clear zones (and subsequent boarding islands) needed to make everyone safer, some parking spaces along Taraval must be converted into traffic lanes.

Parking spaces will be removed along the following blocks of Taraval:

North side of Taraval

Block

Parking spaces removed

18th Ave. – 19th Ave.

Seven 

25th Ave. – 26th Ave.

Nine 

29th Ave. – 30th Ave.

Seven 

31st Ave. – 32nd Ave.

Eight 

39th Ave. – 40th Ave.

Four 

41st Ave. – 42nd Ave.

Seven 

43rd Ave. – 44th Ave.

Five 

45th Ave. – 46th Ave.

Eight 

South side of Taraval

Block

Parking spaces removed

19th Ave. – 20th Ave.

Nine 

42nd Ave. – 43rd Ave.

10

44th Ave. – 45th Ave.

Seven 

To encourage parking turnover, parking meters and time limits will be added at the first few parking spaces just off Taraval on some side streets.

To help minimize the impact on parking demand, original proposals included changing parallel parking spaces to angled parking spaces on some blocks of Santiago and Ulloa streets. This change is on hold pending further SFMTA review and outreach to residents during the six-month painted boarding zone pilot.

4) Painted boarding zones (six-month pilot)

A rendering showing pilot safety measures to be evaluated at five locations on Taraval.
A rendering showing striped boarding zones to be evaluated as a pilot project on Taraval.

Under a six-month pilot, we will test the effectiveness of a new street painting treatment: painted boarding zones. These five locations along Taraval will include street markings and new signage to show drivers where to stop behind loading trains. The pilot will also be paired with an education and enforcement campaign.

Currently, only 72 percent of drivers stop. Unless these measures increase that rate to 90 percent, and no one is injured at one of these locations, boarding islands will be installed at these locations starting in 2018.

Map of painted board zone locations.

Painted boarding zone locations: Taraval at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues.

Parking spaces at these locations will be retained during the pilot period. More information about the pilot is available in this PDF document.

5) Wider stop spacing for faster Muni service

Stop spacing map

Stops on the L Taraval are closer together than most Muni lines, which results in a slower trip. To make L service faster and more reliable, we will make the distances between L stops similar to those on lines like the N Judah.

Stops removed: On Saturday, Feb. 25, these eight L stops will be discontinued.

  • Eastbound and westbound: Taraval at 28th Avenue, Ulloa at 15th Avenue
  • Eastbound only: Taraval at 24th Avenue
  • Westbound only: Taraval at 17th, 22nd and 35th avenues

Note: The proposed removal of the eastbound stop at Taraval at 17th Avenue is on hold for further review.

6) Transit-only lanes

Transit-only lane example
A transit-only lane on Judah Street. Image: Google Street View​

Transit-only lanes will be painted along the track lanes of Taraval in both directions. Drivers will be able to enter the lanes only to pass or make left turns. The lane will not be painted red until the completion of the construction project.

Our studies found that traffic volumes on Taraval are well below the lanes’ capacity. However, to address concerns about traffic congestion, we plan to measure the traffic impact of the lane conversions for a year to identify any necessary adjustments.

Stay Updated

We appreciate all of the great input that has helped shape these improvements to make Taraval safer for you and everyone who uses it.

As these street changes roll out, keep in touch with your feedback by emailing us at muniforward@sfmta.com. For the latest details on the changes coming to Taraval, see the L Taraval Rapid Project webpage.