SFMTA Enhances Pedestrian Safety on 6th Street

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Note:  Photos of 6th Street and Market and Mission streets are attached (.pdf) - 6th and Mission streets, 6th and Market streets & 6th and Market streets

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, today announced that pedestrian safety measures have been made at six locations on 6th Street from Market to Howard streets as part of a demonstration project. This project includes roadway measures to reduce the number of collisions, shorten pedestrian crossings, increase pedestrian visibility and enhance the 6th Street corridor.

The 6th Street intersections at Market, Mission and Howard streets have some of the highest rates of pedestrian collisions in San Francisco. From 2005 to 2009, Market at 6th Street had 17 collisions, Mission at 6th Street had seven, and Howard at 6th Street had 14. To address the need for immediate safety measures, six painted sidewalk extensions have been added to 6th Street between Market and Howard streets and include landscaping and safe hit posts. These painted sidewalk extensions are the first of their kind to be implemented in San Francisco and will provide immediate pedestrian safety upgrades while a larger improvement project for 6th Street moves through the planning phase.

“Our office has been working with pedestrian safety advocates, 6th Street residents and the SFMTA to make this high-injury corridor a safer place to live and walk,” said Supervisor Jane Kim, who convenes a monthly pedestrian safety workgroup for District 6 residents. “We are thinking creatively about how we can take immediate steps to make streets safer and prevent collisions while we engage in the long-term process."

The low-cost nature of the demonstration project and the lighter construction methods required enabled the City to expedite the project. These measures may achieve the same safety benefits seen in more traditional and permanent pedestrian safety projects that require larger capital expenditures and more time to implement. Overall impact to the surrounding community due to the demonstration project’s construction was also diminished.

“The SFMTA is committed to making it safer for people to walk in San Francisco. Targeted efforts at high collision corridors such as 6th Street will help us meet our goals of reducing serious and fatal pedestrian injuries,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin. “While complex complete streets projects can take time to plan, design, environmentally clear and build, we see great opportunity to bring immediate safety improvements in the interim and analyze their effectiveness for the long-term project.” 

“My family has been a part of the 6th Street community for decades,” says Daniel Pan, owner of 1AM Gallery on 6th Street. “I’ve seen firsthand how the street design prioritizes freeway access. The reality is that we’re not just a freeway corridor – we’re a vibrant community of residents and workers.  My business regularly uses the sidewalks adjacent to our building for art classes, and I’ve always been a big advocate of creating more space for pedestrians. I hope over time 6th Street becomes a true pedestrian boulevard where we can host more event crawls like 2 Blocks of Art, where the businesses benefit from increased foot traffic and community building.”

Other work to increase pedestrian safety on the 6th Street corridor has been recently conducted by the SFMTA. In 2012, the agency removed an eastside tow-away commute hour lane and restored parking permanently from Folsom to Market; the addition of parked vehicles providing an additional buffer from traffic for pedestrians. In 2011, the agency enhanced several alleys west of 6th Street with new trees, textured roadway asphalt and traffic calming through sidewalk bulbouts. High visibility continental crosswalks were also painted at the Market and Mission Street intersections and also across 6th Street at the Minna alley. Furthermore, corner bulbouts were installed at Mission Street’s westside corner and at the northwest corner of Howard Street.

This demonstration project cost approximately $15,000 and was funded by Supervisor Kim’s add-back.