The Embarcadero 2020 Quick-Build Projects

Project Introduction

The SFMTA substantially completed the Embarcadero 2020 Quick-Build Projects at Pier 35, Ferry Terminal, and in the Rincon Restaurant Zone in early 2021 to expedite safety and mobility improvements along the waterfront. These changes included the corridor’s first segment of a two-way protected bikeway adjacent to the promenade (between Folsom and Mission streets), offering a preview of the changes proposed with the Embarcadero Enhancement Program (EEP).

Looking to connect and extend these quick-build improvements, the EEP's Central Embarcadero Safety Project prioritizes the next phase of capital investment along the corridor. Read what's happening next in the Central Embarcadero area and with future EEP work.

The Embarcadero is a major destination and regional connecting point that has evolved throughout San Francisco’s history, reflecting changing transportation demands and values over time. The demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway in the early 1990s transformed the area from a vehicle-dominated corridor to an area that connects people to the waterfront while continuing to support Port maritime functions and light industrial business.

Over 300,000 people walk, bicycle, ride transit, or drive on The Embarcadero on a typical day. Much of The Embarcadero corridor (between Lombard and Townsend streets) is on the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network, representing 13 percent of city streets where 75 percent of the severe and fatal injuries occur. In the last five years, there were 174 reported severe injury collisions and two fatalities.

Conditions along the Embarcadero promenade have also deteriorated with daily ‘near misses’ and complaints of conflict between pedestrians and various wheeled/electric devices. There is a growing desire to regulate the use of devices such as electric standing scooters and electric bicycles along the promenade. Furthermore, emerging mobility service and technology types such as ride-hailing and motorized micro-mobility devices – to say nothing of the COVID-19 pandemic – are changing the way people use and share space on the road, at the curb, and on the promenade. These pressures are on top of the Embarcadero's vital contribution to providing maritime and industrial access while serving Port businesses' curbside loading and delivery needs.

To expedite safety and mobility improvements while the larger Embarcadero Enhancement Program is in development, three quick-build efforts will move forward to construction in 2020. The Vision Zero quick-build initiative is an SFMTA effort to quickly implement pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements on the Vision Zero High Injury Network. The SFMTA believes that quick-build safety projects will decrease the number of people fatally and severely injured on San Francisco streets, resulting in progress towards the city's Vision Zero goal.

Project Timeline
Spring 2020
Design & Approvals
Late 2020 / Early 2021
Project Status
  1. Project Evaluation
  2. Completed
Additional signal time
No turn on red restrictions
Protected bikeway
Bike signals
SFMTA Drive and Parking icon
Improved/extended load zones

Project Goals:

As The Embarcadero continues to evolve to fit the needs of the surrounding areas, so do the City’s values regarding transportation and safety. Busy sidewalks and streets with multiple uses create conflicts, discomfort, and inhibit Vision Zero implementation. With those values in mind, the Embarcadero 2020 Quick-Build Projects aim to:

  1. Build a safer Embarcadero for all users;
  2. Improve connections between the Embarcadero, nearby neighborhoods, and the region;
  3. Elevate the Embarcadero’s role as a valued destination and workplace for locals, visitors, businesses, maritime and industrial uses; and
  4.  Invest in critical infrastructure to support the renewal and recovery of our City while protecting public health.

The Embarcadero 2020 Quick-Build projects will be built in three key areas: Pier 35, Ferry Terminal, and Rincon Restaurant Zone.

The Pier 35 Quick-Build between Bay and North Point streets establishes a new protected bikeway to reduce conflicts between bikes and passenger loading activities at the Pier 35 Cruise Terminal. The flexible design also accommodates the unique loading demands for cruise calls and other large-scale events that are major components of pier maritime activities.

From Mission to Folsom streets, the Ferry Terminal Quick-Build constructs a water-side, two-way protected bikeway to improve safety for all users and enhance connections to the ferry terminal from the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood. This two-way protected bikeway previews the Embarcadero Enhancement Program's planned safety improvements for the remainder of the corridor.

The Rincon Restaurant Zone Quick-Build, from Harrison Street to Folsom Street, establishes a protected bikeway for northbound bicyclists and expands capacity for commercial and passenger loading. The protected bikeway also reduces potential conflicts between all forms of transportation on the promenade.

This construction is a great starting point, but The Embarcadero has more work planned. We will continue to partner with the Port of San Francisco and community stakeholders to ensure that The Embarcadero continues to be a vibrant gateway to our world-class City.

Overall Benefits

  • Introduces two-way protected bikeway along the waterfront to support better connectivity with ferry transit and take a first step toward the larger bikeway vision as established by the Embarcadero Enhancement Program
  • Allows opportunities for city agencies and the broader public to experience and comment on how loading and protected bike facilities work
  • Built-in design and operational flexibility to support unique waterfront and special event demands
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San Francisco County Transportation Authority logo
San Francisco Public Works logo
Vision Zero SF logo
Contact Information
Embarcadero Project Team