Howard Street Quick-Build Project

Project Introduction
PROJECT UPDATE 01/04/2020: The project implementation work to improve traffic safety on Howard Street between Third Street and the Embarcadero is now substantially complete. Minor touch-up work for the project is forthcoming. 
The Howard Quick-Build project will improve and upgrade facilities for walking, transit, and biking. The project will upgrade the existing bike lane to a parking-protected bike lane, which is separated from vehicle traffic, install a bike signal at the intersection of Howard and 3rd Street, install transit boarding islands, improve curb management, implement intersection daylighting, and implement a road diet by reducing the number of vehicle lanes. 
As a reminder, the Howard Quick-Build Project is a temporary improvement to traffic safety in the project area. The Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project is the long-term and permanent traffic safety improvements on Howard Street between 4th and 11th streets and Folsom Street between 2nd and 11th streets. Construction for the Howard Street segment is anticipated to begin in 2025 and last for approximately two years. Construction for the Folsom Street segment is anticipated to begin in 2024 and last for approximately two years.

Project Background

The Howard Street Quick-Build project is an effort to improve safety and comfort for all people traveling along Howard Street between 3rd Street and The Embarcadero. The quick-build project will include cost-effective improvements for bicycle and pedestrian safety and loading while also serving as a way to inform the design of the Transbay Howard Streetscape Project. The project will include a parking-protected bikeway, improved loading, and pedestrian safety improvements.

The project is part of the SFMTA’s Vision Zero Quick-Build effort, which stems from Mayor London Breed’s executive directive for faster traffic safety improvements on the City’s High Injury Network. It also builds on an additional executive directive to deliver higher quality bikeway facilities, such as protected bikeways, to prevent collisions and increase safety.

Howard Street between 3rd and Fremont streets is a four-lane one-way street in the westbound direction that operates as a couplet with eastbound Folsom Street. Between Fremont Street and The Embarcadero, Howard is a two-way street with two lanes in each direction. Howard Street between 3rd Street and The Embarcadero includes a variety of commercial retail, restaurants, bars and night clubs, light industrial space, and hotels. In addition to the vibrant businesses, this section also contains a high number of high-rise residential and office buildings.

Howard Street is a vital transportation corridor that provides access to destinations like Moscone Center and The Embarcadero, access to regional transportation connections, and serves as a well-traveled east-west bike route for the neighborhood.

The current configuration and sense of safety along Howard Street indicate a need for upgraded bicycle, pedestrian, and loading facilities along the project corridor. Currently, the existing bike lane requires bicyclists to ride between vehicle traffic and parked vehicles and is frequently blocked by delivery trucks and vehicles picking up and dropping off passengers.

The proposed project will extend the existing parking-protected bikeway on Howard Street between 11th Street and 3rd Street by an additional ¾ mile to The Embarcadero, ensuring a consistent, predictable, and more comfortable transportation experience for all who use the street. Daylighting at alleys and intersections will provide more visibility between pedestrians and motorists and widened crosswalks will provide more space for pedestrians at intersections. Additional yellow loading zones will allow commercial vehicles to load at more locations and will be located with input from merchants and shop owners.

Project Timeline
Summer 2019 to Winter 2019
Outreach, design, and approvals
Early Winter 2020 to Summer 2020
Detailed design
Summer 2020 to Late Winter 2020
Project implementation
Project Status
  1. Completed
Bikeway Improvements
Pedestrian Improvements
SFMTA Drive and Parking icon
Improved Curb Management
Bus Routes and Rail Lines

Project Details

Project Goals

The main goals for the Howard Street Quick-Build Project include the following:

  • Improve safety for all users of Howard Street faster
  • Improve loading for business and residences
  • Make biking and walking more comfortable
  • Inform the design of the long-term streetscape project

Vision Zero

This project is in support of the city’s commitment to Vision Zero, and its main goal is to improve traffic safety conditions and comfort for all who travel along Howard Street. In the past five years (2014 – 2018), there have been 51 crashes involving a vehicle and a bicyclist or pedestrian on Howard Street between 3rd Street and The Embarcadero, of which 4 resulted in severe injuries. On June 27, 2019, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle at Howard and 1st streets.

The proposed project will address safety concerns by upgrading the existing bike lane to a parking-protected bikeway to be more consistent with those found in the western section of Howard. Other safety improvements will provide a greater sense of safety while cycling and walking on Howard Street while supporting the City’s Vision Zero goals.

Approved Improvements

The project will implement the following quick-build improvements to improve traffic safety:

  • Upgrade the existing bike lane to a parking-protected bikeway in the westbound direction to provide a more comfortable and separated space for people riding bikes
  • Daylighting at intersections and driveways to improve intersection visibility
  • Increase the number of yellow zones to improve loading for commercial businesses
  • Traffic lane reduction to redistribute roadway space for all road users

These temporary improvements will inform the design for the Transbay Howard Streetscape Project which will further upgrade transportation safety improvements on Howard Street.

Project Outreach

Since Fall 2019, the project team has spoken to the majority of businesses and properties that front Howard Street in the project area as part of the initial outreach efforts. The project team also held a number of meetings with various stakeholders and community organizations in the area to discuss the proposed improvements.

More recently, The SFMTA held an open house/public hearing for the Howard Street Quick-Build Project in December 2019. The public had the opportunity to learn more about the project, see the proposed design, and provide input. Results and comments from the open house/public hearing can be found in the "Related Reports & Documentations" section of this project webpage. 

As the project progresses towards design implementation, the project team will continue to provide updates and communicate potential roadway disruptions due to implementation activities. We encourage community members to sign up for project updates to stay in the loop.

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Contact Information