The Embarcadero Enhancement Project
The SFMTA, Port of San Francisco, San Francisco Planning Department and San Francisco Public Works are collaborating on a project that will increase safety, comfort, and accessibility for all who travel along The Embarcadero.
Working with a diverse set of stakeholders, the Embarcadero Enhancement Project will develop and implement “Complete Street” improvements along The Embarcadero from Townsend Street near Oracle Park to North Point Street near Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. Focused on providing a physically-protected, two-way waterside bikeway to reduce conflicts with other modes, the project will also include shorter, more accessible pedestrian crossings, more efficient traffic signals and intersections, improved load zones, and opportunities to enhance streetcar service and overall urban design of the northeast waterfront.
This project will include public participation to review and comment on conceptual designs, costs and trade-offs, with the goal of reaching a recommended design that is physically and financially viable, reflects public values, and enhances safety and the experience of people who walk, bike, take transit, or drive along The Embarcadero.
Funded in part by grants from the federal government and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the project is also a financial partnership between the SFMTA, Port of San Francisco, and San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA).
The Embarcadero is one of San Francisco’s most iconic destinations and landmarks. It is a thriving business corridor, a key transportation artery, a key destination in the city’s tourism industry, a popular recreational route, and a worldwide attraction.
The Embarcadero also has a traffic safety problem. So many people use The Embarcadero on a daily basis and conflicts between different user groups are so prevalent that it can feel unsafe and uncomfortable for many – and in certain cases, result in loss of life. Much of the roadway appears on the city’s High Injury Network, representing the 13% of city streets where 75% of the severe and fatal injuries occur.
Every year, dozens of people are killed and more than 500 are severely injured while travelling on city streets. Between 2011 and 2016, 241 people were injured and two fatalities took place on The Embarcadero. More recently, in June 2018, a vehicle hit-and-run led to the death of a pedicab driver and injuries to passengers riding in the southbound bike lane. These deaths and injuries are unacceptable and preventable, and San Francisco is committed to eliminating them.
By adopting a policy called Vision Zero in 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 by 2024 and the SFMTA is prioritizing efforts on the corridors that have the highest number of serious and fatal collisions, including Upper Market Street.
The Embarcadero Enhancement Project is in support of Vision Zero and will implement targeted, proven safety improvements on the corridor.
The primary goals of The Embarcadero Enhancement Project are to:
Support people of all ages and abilities who ride a bike on The Embarcadero
Reduce conflicts for people on foot by separating bicycles and other wheeled devices from pedestrians; reduce roadway crossing distances
Help people driving by adding more predictability to roadway operations on The Embarcadero
Support Economic Vitality
Support business, encourage increased tourism, and accommodate future population and employment growth
Identify opportunities to enhance the public realm
Improve Connectivity and Accessibility
Link The Embarcadero's businesses, attractions, neighborhoods and major transit hubs
Update and improve pedestrian crossings while providing a low-stress, protected bikeway with linkages into the City bikeway network
PROJECT DETAILS & HISTORY
From 2014 to 2018, the Embarcadero Enhancement Project team held dozens of in-person meetings with key stakeholders including the Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group, Central Waterfront Advisory Group, Maritime Commerce Advisory Committee, Ballpark Mission Bay Transportation Committee, San Francisco Hotel Council, SF Travel, SF Tour Guide Guild, South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association, District 3 SFMTA Working Group, Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District, Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant Association, as well as individual stakeholders such as the Ferry Building, Exploratorium, and many others.
During this time, the Project team also hosted five public open meetings, including three design workshops where residents, merchants, travelers, and the general public were invited to share their vision of the waterfront, desires for reconfiguring the roadway, and values relating to transportation, open space, and land use. In 2016, over 500 people attended an open house and responded to a survey to help assess bikeway alignment alternatives and other trade-offs, resulting in a conceptual design for a two-way, waterside protected bikeway adjacent to the promenade.
In October of 2018, approximately 200 people attended an open house showcasing the conceptual design for the project, with 140 people completing a survey to gauge stakeholder support and priorities for the project moving forward. A summary of survey results is available on the project website. Additional stakeholder meetings are planned throughout 2019 as the project moves into the preliminary engineering and environmental review phase, with the next major public meeting anticipated in late summer 2019.
Throughout the planning phase of the Embarcadero Enhancement Project, the SFMTA and Port of San Francisco have partnered to address safety issues with near-term upgrades wherever possible. In 2016, these efforts included striping, signage and parking upgrades between Howard and 2nd streets, as well as a new bicycle signal at North Point Street. The city also updated crosswalks along much of corridor with high-visibility striping and advanced stop lines for vehicles to reduce conflicts at intersections.
To help provide a safer, more consistent, and more intuitive experience for all users, the SFMTA and Port implemented near-term safety improvements to southbound Embarcadero between Broadway and Mission streets by removing the peak period tow-away restriction. This change allows all-day parking and established a full-time, green bike lane. Vehicle right-turn lanes were provided at Washington and Mission streets to support the continued movement of people and goods.
Additional crosswalk upgrades along The Embarcadero (new high-visibility striping) and potential bike lane adjustments are expected through late 2018 into early 2019 (focused between Green and Bay streets), with limited construction impacts.