What are they?
Bulb-outs (also called curb extensions) extend the sidewalk into the parking lane to narrow the roadway and provide additional pedestrian space and visibility at key locations. They can be placed at corners or midblock. Depending on the street and conditions, intersection bulb-outs can also be transformed into small public spaces, landscaped areas, or transit waiting zones.
How do they work?
By increasing the space available for pedestrians and narrowing the roadway at key points, bulb-outs create safer conditions for pedestrians by shortening crossing distances, improving visibility, and encouraging drivers to slow down—whether traveling straight or turning. Generally, the benefits of bulb-outs increase the further they extend into the road. In addition to the safety features, intersection bulb-outs provide opportunities for street beautification and activation.
Where to find bulb-outs in San Francisco
- Inner Sunset Streetscape Improvement Project: As part of a comprehensive design treatment in the Inner Sunset, pedestrian bulb-outs were added at the NW corner of 7th Avenue and Irving Street, and the SE corner of 9th Avenue and Irving Street.
- Dewey Area Traffic-Calming Project: Pedestrian bulb-outs were added at key points in the Forest Hill neighborhood, including 9th Avenue and Pacheco Street, as part of a larger effort to reduce vehicle speed and improve pedestrian safety.
- Taraval Streetscape Improvement Project: Along Taraval Avenue in the Sunset, sidewalk bulb-outs were added to shorten pedestrian crossing distances at key points.