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The Future of Folsom and Howard

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Folsom St Parking Protected Bike Lane at 7th.

To make our streets safer, we must both move quickly and put the best designs on our streets. In 2018, the SFMTA made near-term improvements to Folsom and followed that up this year by installing near-term improvements on Howard.  We know that these near-term improvements aren’t enough. That is why the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project is holding two open house meetings January 26th and 30th to show long-term designs to make this critical corridor safer and comfortable for people who live, work and commute through SoMa.

We Must Make Folsom and Howard Safer

Traffic deaths are preventable. For San Francisco to reach its Vision Zero goal to eliminate traffic fatalities, we must take action on Folsom and Howard streets.  Folsom and Howard are a part of the High Injury Network, the 13 percent of city streets with 70 percent of the severe and fatal collisions. In just the last year, two people have died on Folsom and Howard and even more have been severely injured.

The Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project’s long-term changes address these safety challenges by making it safer and more pleasant to walk, bike, shop and live along Howard Street from 11th to 4th and Folsom from 11th to 2nd.

More and Better Transit

Currently, Muni service on Folsom Street is infrequent, unreliable and has limited destinations, this project will help fix that.

The project will add a transit-only lane from 10th to just after 4th streets and bring new service to Folsom. New service on Folsom from the 8-Bayshore, 8AX-Express, 8BX-Express and the 27-Bryant will help people get through central SoMa efficiently and help connect people to north of Market destinations like the Financial District, Chinatown, North Beach and the Tenderloin.

Combined, these changes will cut average morning wait times for a bus on Folsom from 15 minutes to just 2 minutes. Afternoon wait times would be just 6 minutes. These improvements will help give people more options to avoid driving, reduce traffic and fight climate change.

Pedestrian Safety Improvements

Everyone knows that SoMa isn’t always the most inviting place to walk. The project’s pedestrian safety improvements will make it safer and more comfortable for people that live and work in SoMa to walk on Folsom and Howard. Improvements will include:

  • Six new signalized mid-block crossings that will help people cross long SoMa blocks safely,

  • Raised bikeway crossings across the bikeways will prioritize pedestrians walking from the buffer to the sidewalk,

  • More corner bulb outs that shorten crossing distances making it easier to get across the street safely,

  • Improved signal timing that will give pedestrians a head start and more time to cross the street.

  • These upgrades will improve the experience of everyone who walks on these important streets.

Better Biking

Our near-term improvements have already brought parking-protected bikeways to Folsom and Howard.  Now we are going to make them even better. New two-way bike lanes on Howard from 4th to 11th and on Folsom from 11th to 8th will help bicyclists connect between bike routes to get more places safely.  Throughout the corridor, we are adding newly enhanced signals that have separate phases for bikes and right turning vehicles (like we have at 8th and Folsom).  These signals will allow us to eliminate mixing zones along the corridor and provide more clarity for turning drivers and cyclists alike.  Combined with new concrete buffers we think these signals will make riding on Folsom and Howard a safer and more pleasant experience.

Working with the community to design the best Folsom and Howard

These changes are being considered after extensive community outreach. Since the beginning of the project, 400 people have attended our open houses, 1,300 people have responded to our surveys, and we have met with more than 100 businesses along the corridor and 20 community groups.

We invite you to join us at two open house meetings January 26th and 30th to see the long-term designs for Folsom and Howard.  At the open house, you can provide input on the transportation improvements and improvements to the public realm that will be a part of the long-term project.