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, take transit and live along Folsom and Howard streets.
Safety is this project's number one priority. 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. In 2018, two people were killed on Folsom and Howard.
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
Pedestrian Safety Improvements
Pedestrian safety improvements will make it safer and more comfortable for people that live and work in SoMa to walk on Folsom and Howard. Improvements will include:
- Six new signalized mid-block crossings
- Raised bikeway crossings will prioritize pedestrians
- More corner bulbouts that shorten crossing distances
- Improved signal timing
These upgrades will improve the experience of everyone who walks on these important streets.
More and Better Transit Service
Currently, Muni service on Folsom Street is infrequent and unreliable, but this project will help fix that. These improvements will help give people more options to avoid driving, reduce traffic and fight climate change.
The project will add a transit-only lane to Folsom from 10th to just after 4th streets and new service from the 8-Bayshore, 8AX-Express, 8BX-Express, 27-Bryant.
Morning wait times in Central SoMa on Folsom would be cut from 15 minutes to just 2 minutes. Afternoon wait times would be just 6 minutes.
Bicycle Safety Improvements
Providing safe space for bicyclists increases ridership, helps San Francisco meet its climate action goals and helps reduce traffic. The project will add new safety improvements like:
- Concrete buffers for parking-protected bikeways
- New concrete protection for bicyclists in intersections
- More traffic signals with dedicated phases for cyclists and turning vehicles
- Raised bikeways at select alley crossings to prioritize a cyclist’s right-of-way
These changes will protect bicyclists supporting San Francisco’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities.
Loading and Parking Improvements
After meeting with more than 98 business along the corridor, we have heard concerns about loading and parking.
Already, the SFMTA has nearly doubled loading zones on Folsom and Howard to respond to businesses’ needs. New parking meters on Folsom from 6th to 11th will increase turnover and parking availability for customers.
About 29% of parking spaces will be removed to enhance safety and visibility. We will continue to work with the business community before, during and after installation.
The Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project will bring amenities to make these streets safer and more pleasant for everyone. However, implementing longer-term changes requires finalizing the design, coordinating with utility work, changing signal times, pouring miles of concrete and making 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. That work is expected to take until at least 2023. So when talking with neighbors, local businesses and those who use Folsom and Howard, the SFMTA made a commitment to look at near-term safety improvements.
- 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
FOLSOM NEAR-TERM IMPROVEMENTS
On October 17, 2017, the SFTMA Board of Directors voted to approve the Near-Term Changes to Folsom. The Folsom-Howard Near-Term improvements were installed in early 2018 to make SoMa safer faster. The SFMTA implemented quick and effective measures to Folsom Street from 11th to Falmouth (between 6th and 5th). Changes drafted based on feedback from the community included:
- Installing parking-protected bikeway swaps the position of existing curbside parking and buffered bike lanes.
- Doubling the number of yellow zones on Folsom to provide additional space for commercial loading and reduce the frequency of double parking.
- Boarding islands to 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.
HOWARD NEAR-TERM IMPROVEMENTS
On October 16, 2018 the SFMTA Board voted to install changes to Howard Street that are similar to those already made on Folsom Street. These changes will include installing a parking-protected bike lane, more loading zones and daylighting intersections. The new parking-protected bikeway will enhance safety by separating bicyclists from vehicle traffic. Daylighting will make walking safer with increased pedestrian visibility. New loading zones will help businesses receive and move goods.
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. Thus far, we have met with more than 20 business groups
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. In July 2017, the SFMTA held two more open houses about the near term improvements on Folsom Street. In August 2018, two more open houses were held to discuss the near-term improvements on Howard Street. More than 300 people attended the open houses. On January 26 and January 30, the SFMTA will show the proposed long-term designs of the corridor at two open houses.
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.
Already the project has or 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 Values Open Houses: December 2016
- Community Outreach and Planning: Winter 2016 to Summer 2019
- Folsom Near-Term Open Houses: July 2017
- Folsom Near-Term Public Hearing: Fall 2017
- Folsom Near-Term Legislation: Fall 2017
- Folsom Near-Term Changes Installed: Winter 2018
- Howard Near-Term Open Houses: July 2018
- Howard Near-Term Legislation: October 2018
- Howard Near-Term Changes Installed: Winter 2019
- Proposed Alternative for Long-Term Changes Open Houses January 2018
- Long-Term Legislation: Spring/Summer 2019
- Detailed Design: 2019 to 2021
- Construction: 2021 to 2023