Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project
SoMa deserves the same kinds of amenities that other neighborhoods enjoy. The Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project will make SoMa more livable by making it safer and more pleasant to walk, bike, shop and live along Folsom and Howard streets.
Safety is the number one priority of this project. All San Franciscans deserve to be able to get around their neighborhoods safely. Both Folsom and Howard are a part of San Francisco's "High-Injury Network" which is the 12 percent of city streets that account for 70 percent of the San Francisco's severe and fatal traffic crashes.
The Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project will improve safety on these corridors and help the City meet its Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities.
The Folsom and Howard Streetscape Project seeks to redesign the couplet of streets that are the cornerstone of the growing SoMa neighborhood.
SoMa’s wide variety of uses is unique. The neighborhood has a high density and large variety of commercial retail, office space, bars and restaurants, nightclubs, light industrial space, and residential units in the neighborhood. Both Folsom and Howard streets also serve as a major corridor for people biking.This project will ensure that these streets are safe and meet the diverse needs of the neighborhood.
The Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project will create better, safer streets on Howard between 3rd and 11th, and on Folsom Street between 2nd and 11th. This includes improvements to bicycle, pedestrian and transit facilities, upgrades to traffic signals, traffic circulation modifications, and changes to parking and loading.
This initiative is fully funded from planning and community outreach to construction, with $26 million in local funds.
The main goals for the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project include the following:
- Improve safety for all users of Folsom and Howard streets
- Make biking and walking in SoMa a more comfortable and enjoyable experience
- Make changes to improve transit services along the corridor
- Prepare for future growth in the neighborhood
The Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project will bring amenities to make these streets safer and more pleasant for everyone. However, implementing longer-term changes is expected to take until at least 2022 to finalize the design, coordinate with utility work, change signal times, pour miles of concrete and make other changes. Regardless of which alternative for the long-term improvements is chosen for the 2.5-mile corridor, the streetscape project will be a major construction effort. So when talking with neighbors, local businesses and those who use Folsom and Howard, we made a commitment to look at near-term safety improvements.
The Folsom-Howard Near-Term improvements will make SoMa safer faster by implementing quick and effective measures – similar to the recent improvements on 7th and 8th streets. Upgrades to Folsom Street from 11th to Falmouth (between 6th and 5th) were completed in late 2017.
Overhead wires that service Muni buses on Howard Street present technical challenges that require additional engineering and design review within the SFMTA and the San Francisco Fire Department. Staff from both agencies are actively working on addressing the technical challenges and anticipate reaching a solution in summer 2018.
Near-Term Project Goals:
- Improve safety sooner
- Make biking and walking more comfortable
- Upgrade transit facilities to improve travel time and safety
- Improve loading for local businesses
- Inform the final design for the larger streetscape project
The Near-Term Project will include improvements for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and people who park and load. After meeting with over 75 businesses, 20 community groups and gathering 1300 survey responses, feedback from the community was used to design these changes. Changes include:
A parking-protected bikeway swaps the position of existing curbside parking and buffered bike lanes. Instead of riding between moving traffic and parked cars, bicyclists ride between a striped buffer and the sidewalk.
Double the number of yellow zones on Folsom to provide additional space for commercial loading and reduce the frequency of double parking.
Boarding islands will reduce conflicts between the 12-Folsom and bicycle riders while decreasing travel time and improving reliability.
“Daylighting” increases safety by using red zones near crosswalks to improve the visibility of everyone using the street.
To implement these changes on Folsom, about 9% of parking spaces will be repurposed for commercial loading and 26% of parking spaces will be removed to enhance safety and visibility.
The Near-Term Project prioritizes quick and cost-effective improvements for bicycle and pedestrian safety, transit, and loading. There are a limited number of designs that make sense with streetscape improvements coming later. There are big differences between Folsom and Howard which affect if and when the near-term designs can be implemented on each street.
The SFTMA Board of Directors voted to approve the Near-Term Changes to Folsom on October 17, 2017.
Construction on Folsom occured between November and December 2017. The parking protected bike lane, transit boarding islands, parking and loading changes, and daylighting have been open for use since January 2018. Separated and protected signal phasing for people who ride bicycles and right turning vehicles for the eastbound approach of Folsom and 8th was installed in March 2018.
Concept designs for the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project will be based on preliminary recommendations from the City’s Central SoMa Plan and the Eastern Neighborhoods Transportation Implementation Planning Study.
A draft environmental impact report for the project is expected to be released later this year. This report will provide a general framework for the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project for the public to consider.
The SFMTA knows that the best street designs come from working in collaboration with neighbors, local businesses, community groups and users of the corridor. That is why we are doing robust public outreach in support of the project.
In Winter 2016, the SFMTA held two open houses and conducted an online survey to take feedback on their values and priorities. In April 2017, two open houses were held to show possible alternatives to the public and request feedback. More than 250 people attended both rounds of open houses. If you were unable to attend one of the April open house we are still looking for feedback. Please read the boards from the open house and then fill out a survey in English, Tagalog, Chinese or Spanish.
Furthermore, if you own or manage a business on Folsom or Howard streets, please take a brief survey about business loading that will help staff understand the needs of your business.
As the project moves forward we will ask for your feedback on projects elements like:
- Project alternatives
- Parking and loading
- Bikeway design
- Pedestrian safety improvements
- Public realm improvements
- Open space
- Predevelopment: Fall 2015 to Fall 2016
- Community Outreach and Planning: Winter 2016 to Summer 2017
- Near-Term Open Houses: July 2017
- Near-Term Public Hearing: Fall 2017
- Near-Term Legislation: Fall 2017
- Near-Term Changes Installed: Winter 2018
- Proposed Alternative for Long-Term Changes Winter to Summer 2018
- Long-Term Legislation: Fall 2018
- Detailed Design: 2018 to 2019
- Construction: 2020 to 2022