Polk Streetscape Project

Project Overview

Polk Streetscape Project rendering

Polk Street is a thriving commercial corridor, but it also has some of the highest pedestrian and bicycle collisions rates in the city. On average, one person walking and one person biking are hit by a car each month on Polk Street (122 in a five-year period.)

For years, Polk Street has been the site of many traffic-related injuries and the corridor is currently on San Francisco’s Vision Zero High Injury Network. This network represents 12 percent of San Francisco’s surface streets and is where injuries, including severe and fatal injuries, are most concentrated.

The Polk Streetscape Project is an effort to increase safety for people walking and biking on Polk Street, as well as improve the efficiency of transit on the corridor. This project will build on Polk Street's vibrant commercial character by improving safety and transportation choices.

Proposed improvements on Polk Street between McAllister and Union streets will include repaving, sidewalk corner "bulb-outs", Muni bus stop optimization, a protected bike lane, green bike lanes, bicycle traffic signals, high visibility crosswalks, red zones at intersections to improve visibility, commercial loading improvements, and landscaping, street lighting and alley enhancements.

For more project details and next steps, please view the details and updates tabs.

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Project Details

Polk Street is a thriving neighborhood commercial district and serves an important transportation function for San Francisco.

The corridor is not only the designated street for the #19 Muni bus line which connects to Civic Center BART and many other Muni other lines, it is also a preferred north-south bicycle route due to its flatter terrain. Furthermore, Polk Street is a popular place for people to walk, comparable to the amount of people walking on Valencia Street in the Mission and Irving Street in the Inner Sunset.

The Polk Streetscape Project puts forth a design for everyone. This concept was designed to enable safe access for all road users of all ages and abilities. Through community input and technical evaluation, the proposed design includes corridor-wide safety improvements and additional streetscape amenities at key locations.

For more details, please view the Polk Streetscape Project FAQ.

Project Goals

The proposed improvements are driven by three core goals:

  1. Improve safety for everyone
  2. Make Polk Street a more inviting place for people who walk and ride a bike
  3. Create a green, vibrant cordidor for all people visiting, living and working on and near Polk Street

Safety Needs & VISION zero

Every year, 30 people are killed and 200 more are seriously injured while travelling on city streets. As a county, San Francisco ranks among the highest (worst) for traffic deaths and injuries in California. These deaths and injuries are unacceptable and preventable, and San Francisco is committed to eliminating them.

By adopting a policy called Vision Zero 2014, the City and County of San Francisco is committed to building better and safer streets, educating the public on traffic safety, enforcing traffic laws, and prioritizing resources to implement effective initiatives that save lives. Vision Zero aims to eliminate all traffic deaths in San Francisco in by 2024.

Pedestrian and bicyclist collision and injury data on Polk Street point to a corridor in need of safety improvements for all those who share the road. Over a five year period, there were 122 pedestrian and bicycle collisions on Polk Street. In fact, the southern portion from Sacramento to McAllister Streets is part of the 6% of San Francisco streets that have more than half of the City's most severe pedestrian collisions. This project is in support of Vision Zero and will implement targeted, proven safety improvements on Polk Street, one of the city’s streets that account for a disproportionate amount of traffic collisions.

Proposed Design

Over the past two years, numerous residents, merchants and community groups have been provided feedback to inform a safer streetsape design for Polk Street. The proposed conceptual design includes the following improvements:

  • A protected bikeway in the northbound direction between McAllister and Pine Streets
  • A new green bike lane in the southbound direction between Union and Post Streets
  • Upgrades to existing bikeways such as green paint, painted buffers, and green backed "sharrows"
  • Pedestrian safety features such as corner "bulbouts", daylighting, crosswalk upgrades and traffic signal improvements
  • Transit enhancement such as bus stop consolidation, relocation and bus bulbs 
  • Public realm improvements such as landscaping, street lighting, and alley enhancements
  • Commercial loading zone optimization 

Community Engagement

Community engagement has been a key component in the development of the Polk Streetscape Project.

The SFMTA conducted a rigorous and comprehensive community outreach and engagement process for the public to learn more about the project and provide suggestions.

Since August 2012, project staff have:

  1. Meet with resident, merchant and community groups in over 50 separate meetings about the project
  2. Hosted 5, widely advertised and well attended public open houses and design workshops
  3. Conducted 6 walking tours for the public and merchant groups

Outside of the open houses, workshops, tours and group meetings, staff had been available for contact by the public to hear suggestions or concerns.

Timeline

  • Community outreach and planning phase: August 2012 - March 2014 
  • Environmental revew: September 2014 - January 2015
  • Engineering public hearing: January 30, 2015
  • SFMTA Board of Director approvals: March 3, 2015
  • Detailed Design: Spring 2015 - Winter 2016
  • Construction: Fall 2016 - 2018

Funding

The project is funded by 2011 Proposition B general obligation bonds and is being timed with a San Francisco Public Works paving effort. It is estimated to cost approximately $8.2 million.

In 2011, San Francisco voters passed the Road Repaving and Streets Safety Bond. Funds from this bond have gave been allocated towards the planning and construction of Polk Street. This bond will allow the City to make long-overdue and urgently needed repairs to create a safer driving, walking and biking experience for everyone.

Contacts

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We will send you e-mail or SMS updates whenever the following are posted for the Polk Streetscape Project:

  • Upcoming meetings
  • Project updates

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