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Laurel Heights/Jordan Park Traffic Calming Project Update - May 21, 2018

This update provides the results of a formal evaluation that was conducted at the Euclid/Parker and Euclid/Palm intersections.

Background

The intent of the updates on the Laurel Heights/Jordan Park traffic calming project is to provide responses to questions and concerns raised by many in the community to the traffic calming measures that have been recently constructed on Euclid Avenue.  Please note that all past updates have been uploaded to the project webpage (https://www.sfmta.com/projects/laurel-heightsjordan-park-traffic-calming-project).  Once on the homepage, click “View all related Project Updates.”  Past updates include information on the background of the traffic calming project, details of the scope of work for the project, and information on the formal safety evaluation that was conducted.

For those that haven’t been engaged until now, the following represents a summary of past updates:

  • The planning effort that led to the recently constructed traffic calming measures originated from the Laurel Heights/Jordan Park Traffic Calming Project, a community-driven, comprehensive traffic calming plan for this neighborhood.  The Project, led by the SFMTA, was initiated in response to the numerous requests for traffic calming in the neighborhood that the SFMTA had been receiving from many community members over the years.  Broadly, the intent of the Project was to address speeding concerns, improve pedestrian safety and comfort, and reduce commercial traffic through the neighborhood.
  • A copy of the final Laurel Heights/Jordan Park Traffic Calming Plan can be found here
  • From January 2011 through June 2016 there were 17 reported collisions along Euclid Avenue from Arguello Boulevard to Presidio Avenue, including an incident in which a three-year old child was critically injured while in a stroller in the crosswalk at Euclid/Parker. 
  • Implementation of the Traffic Calming Plan throughout this community has taken place over three phases.  This current phase represents the third and final phase.
  • Traffic calming circles are raised islands in the center of an intersection.  The intent of the circles is to slow vehicles traveling through intersections and to reduce the number of conflict points at the intersection.  These devices are different than roundabouts, which are typically intended to safely facilitate larger volumes of traffic.  Traffic circles can be controlled by using either STOP or YIELD signs.   
  • A formal evaluation has been conducted using video footage of the intersection against a number of criteria which will identify key issues with the operation of the traffic circles. 

The latest update on traffic calming along Euclid Avenue:

A formal evaluation of the Euclid/Parker intersection as well as a nearby intersection (Euclid/Palm, which is an all-way stop controlled intersection) has been completed.  Video footage has been collected at both intersections (on February 13, 2018 at Euclid/Parker and on March 8, 2018 at Euclid/Palm) and has been evaluated at both locations to determine:

  • whether issues and concerns that have been raised are unique to the intersection with the traffic circle or typical to Euclid Avenue
  • what design modifications to the traffic circle might be needed to address specific issues that are identified through the evaluation

More specifically, the evaluation effort has considered the following metrics:

  1. Vehicle compliance at STOP signs
  2. Driver yielding behavior to pedestrians in crosswalks
  3. Driver yielding behavior to cyclists in the traffic circle
  4. Vehicle encroachment, or driving into the crosswalks while navigating around the traffic circle
  5. Traffic circle operations –  vehicles driving clockwise rather than counterclockwise in the traffic circle

A summary of the evaluation results are as follows.  For more detailed information, and to view the video, please link to the Traffic Circle Safety Evaluation Results page within the Related Reports and Documents section of the project webpage. 

Vehicle Compliance at Stop Signs

  • Definitions:
    • Full stop-sign compliance occurs when a driver comes to a complete stop outside the crosswalk and/or crossing area before proceeding
    • Partial stop-sign compliance occurs when a driver comes to a complete stop, but encroaches onto the crosswalk and/or stop bar
    • No compliance occurs when a driver fails to come to a complete stop at a stop-controlled intersection.  If a vehicle slows down at the stop by fails to come to a complete stop, this occurrence should be deemed as non-compliant.
  • The Euclid/Parker intersection results in higher ‘full’ and ‘no’ compliance rates with the stop signs (vehicles coming to complete stops, and vehicles not stopping) than at the Euclid/Palm intersection, which saw higher ‘partial’ stop sign compliance rates
  • Stop sign compliance is significantly higher in the PM peak period (4-6pm) than the AM peak (7-9am) period at Euclid/Parker (83% ‘full’ and ‘partial’ compliance in the afternoon peak period versus 63% in the morning peak).  The PM peak period also experiences higher traffic volumes at this intersection.  This trend also holds at Euclid/Palm, but to a lesser extent.

Driver Yielding to Pedestrians in Crosswalk

  • Definitions:
    • Driver yielding occurs when a driver stops in advance of a crosswalk and waits until the pedestrian has cleared the travel lanes on the drivers’ side of the street
    • A pedestrian attempt to cross occurs when a pedestrian is within five feet of the edge of the street, is either stopped or walking towards the crossing, and is looking for a gap in traffic to cross
    • A person standing on the curb ramp without a clear intention of crossing the street should not be recorded as a pedestrian attempt to cross.
  • About a quarter of drivers did not comply with the pedestrian right-of-way (i.e., yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk) at Euclid/Parker during each of the peak periods. 
  • Drivers yielded to pedestrians at nearly 100% of the vehicle/pedestrian interactions

Driver Yielding to Cyclists in Traffic Circle/Intersection

  • Although the numbers of vehicle and bicycle interactions are relatively low, driver yielding rates to cyclists are 85% and 71%, respectively, during the morning and afternoon peak periods at Euclid/Parker.  This is compared to 100% compliance at Euclid/Palm.

Vehicle turning path into the crosswalks around the traffic circle

  • Drivers are generally able to make turns around the traffic circle without encroaching into the crosswalks.
  • Based on observations, the movement that is the most difficult for drivers to make without encroaching into the crosswalk is westbound Euclid to southbound Parker. 

Wrong Way Drivers

  • There were no recorded instances of drivers erroneously navigating around the traffic circle in a clockwise, versus counter-clockwise, manner.

What’s Next?

Based on the results of the evaluation SFMTA staff have installed ‘Yield to Pedestrian’ paddles on all four legs of each intersection of the traffic circles.  These face drivers to remind them of the pedestrian right-of-way. 

In addition, additional enforcement has been requested by SFPD for violations at the Euclid/Parker intersection.

Later in 2018 SFMTA staff will conduct ‘after’ analyses to help determine whether the measures installed as part of the broader Laurel Heights/Jordan Park Traffic Calming Project have been successful in reducing vehicular speeds and meeting the other goals of the traffic calming plan.

We recognize that the traffic circles represent a highly visible change in not only the aesthetic of Euclid Avenue but also how one must navigate the corridor.  Some confusion is expected as these new devices require a change to the everyday routine of getting around your neighborhood.  Thank you again for all of your input over the past few months.