Minna-Natoma Home Zone Project

Project Overview

A “home zone” is a walkable neighborhood which, through the holistic application of traffic calming measures, creates a community-focused zone that puts people first, whether they are walking, riding bicycles, or in a car.

The Minna-Natoma Home Zone Project was the first of its kind in San Francisco and used a variety of devices from the SFMTA traffic calming toolbox to meet two principle goals:

1) When children are present and on alleys (streets less than 25 feet wide), reduce motor vehicle speeds to a target speed of 15 MPH
2) Create a more walkable and bikeable neighborhood, where street and sidewalk space is “reclaimed” to feel like shared community space.

The project was made possible in part by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority through a grant of Proposition K Local Transportation Sales Tax funds.

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Project Details

The Minna-Natoma Home Zone Project area is a small residential area bordered by arterial and collector streets including Minna, Natoma, 15th, Capp and Adair Streets, bordered by 14th, Mission and 16th Streets and South Van Ness Avenue. 

The neighborhood was selected as San Francisco's first home zone project based on a number of factors including traffic speeds, volumes, collision history, and proximity to pedestrian generators and attractors. Speeding and cut-through traffic were documented and, based on data gathered, the Minna-Natoma project area was deemed a good area to pilot San Francisco’s first home zone. 

PUBLIC OUTREACH

The SFMTA held four community meetings and a public hearing to listen to neighborhood concerns. At these meetings, and via resident and parent surveys, community members complained of speeding, cut-through traffic, and reckless driving, and shared concerns about pedestrian safety especially for school children at roadway crossings. The community also complained about truck traffic in alleys and red light running and requested improvements to school loading areas and bicycle facilities.

Based on input from the community, staff collected traffic volume and speed data to prioritize streets for traffic calming measures. Staff also worked with the community to select measures that would not divert traffic from one street to other streets. Staff worked on the technical side with various City departments, including the Fire Department, Police Department, and the Department of Public Works, as well as other SFMTA staff, to consider the needs of other stakeholders. Staff also reviewed potential impacts to members of the disabled community.

Design

Through targeted traffic engineering changes, home zones communicate to drivers that they are entering a community space and are guests on local streets. By 2014, the SFMTA had installed a variety of traffic calming tools that signal to drivers they have entered an area in which to drive cautiously, including:

  • Speed Humps – Three speed humps were installed, one each on Minna, Natoma and Capp Streets.
  • Edgelines – Edgelines make narrow the road to bring down speeds. Edgelines reduced the travel lane width to 10 feet on Minna, Adair and 15th streets, and were also painted on Capp Street, reducing the roadway to 20 feet wide.
  • Raised Crosswalks – Raised crosswalks cause vehicles to slow as they mount and cross the intersection. In total, eight were installed in the project area.
  • Lane Reduction – On 15th Street, between South Van Ness and Mission, a lane reduction was installed in conjunction with edgelines to visually narrow the remaining lane of traffic.
  • Bulbouts – By shortening crossing distances and increasing visibility for pedestrians, bulbouts increase safety. Three were installed at Capp and 15th Streets.

Map of project area

RESULTS

A key part of this project was measuring success. A post-project evalution found that the project was successful, resulting in:

  • On average, motor vehicle speeds decreased to below 20 miles per hour throughout the home zone area
  • Perception of pedestrian safety with regard to vehicles yielding/stopping has improved
  • Pedestrian volumes in the project area increased by an average of 20%
  • Bicycle volume on 15th Street between South Van Ness and Mission Street increased 6% 

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