Tenderloin and SoMa Pedestrian & Bike Safety Projects Ready to Save Lives

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Photos:  Daylighting Samples of Fulton and 2nd Avenue; Howard Street Bike Lane Approaching 9th; Howard Street Buffered Bike Lane on Completion; Howard Street Painted Safety Zone at 10th


The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages all surface transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), joined District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim to announce the completion of Vision Zero safety projects to prevent traffic deaths and serious injuries in the collision-heavy neighborhoods of the Tenderloin and South of Market.

Both the Tenderloin Daylighting Project and the Howard Street Buffered Bikeway Project are part of San Francisco’s commitment to implement 24 high-priority engineering projects on San Francisco’s High Injury Network by April 2016. This network is made up of 12 percent of city streets that account for 70 percent of severe and fatal traffic injuries across all modes of transportation. Since April 2014, 12 of the 24 projects have been completed across the city, with support from community residents.

To increase visibility of pedestrians in the Tenderloin, 80 intersections received a cost-effective treatment known as “daylighting.” This pedestrian safety measure has been used with success in many other cities nationally and involves removing visual impediments within a minimum of 10 feet of a crosswalk or intersection. By clearing space near crosswalks, people about to cross the street are much easier for drivers to spot.

“The Tenderloin is one of the densest neighborhoods in the city with a high concentration of families and a growing senior population who don't own cars,” said District 6 Supervisor, Jane Kim. “This neighborhood is also home to many of San Francisco's highest injury corridors. Our residents advocated for safer streets and daylighting is a simple and cost effective solution to increase everyone's visibility -- pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.  We want to end injuries and deaths in this neighborhood."

Michael Harris, a wheelchair-reliant resident of the Hartland Hotel said, “This is what we’ve been asking for. As someone who travels in a wheelchair, I often have to roll around parked cars into the crosswalk to be seen. Unfortunately, drivers often do the same thing and pull fully into a crosswalk to see around a parked car on the corner.  These improvements help increase visibility for everyone.”

Work to further increase bike and pedestrian safety in District 6 took the form of the Howard Street Buffered Bikeway Project. This effort was also made possible by the narrowing of travel lanes between 6th and 10th streets on Howard Street, widening the existing bike lane and adding a three foot painted buffer. The SFMTA also implemented “painted safety zones” at several intersections to improve pedestrian visibility and slow turning vehicles.

“With so many people walking and biking in SoMa and on Howard Street, these improvements create a safer, more inviting street,” said Arnaud Goethals, owner of vive la tarte on Howard Street. “Better bike lanes and safer crossings for people walking are great for the community and also helps connect people to the many attractions and businesses in SoMa and on Howard Street.”

“We are making strong progress,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “The work in the Tenderloin and on Howard Street is more than paint on the street. These improvements are examples of how we can work quickly to increase safety in San Francisco.”

San Francisco adopted Vision Zero as a policy in 2014, committing to build better and safer streets, educate the public on traffic safety, enforce traffic laws, and adopt policy changes that save lives. The result of this collaborative, citywide effort will be safer, more livable streets as San Francisco works towards the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2024. For more information, go to: www.visionzerosf.org