L Taraval Improvement Project
In response to numerous collisions and reported safety concerns, temporary enhancements and community engagement are currently underway to make Taraval better for everyone who depends on it, including the Muni riders who make 30,000 trips on the L Taraval each day. The first phase of the project was known as the L Taraval Rapid Project and is already making the corridor safer. The next step is a nearly complete rehabilitation on Taraval Street that will replace infrastructure like the worn rails, overhead wires, water and sewer lines, as well as repave the entire street.
When construction begins in 2019, it will last approximately two and half years and service on the L Taraval will remain throughout with a combination of buses and trains. Once completed, the corridor will boast new transit priority traffic signals, bulbouts to make pedestrian crossing safer, new trees, enhanced crosswalks, safety boarding islands, increased accessibility, and unique wayfinding elements. All of these changes will make Taraval more inviting for everyone that uses it.
Construction Project Elements
Just in time for the L Taraval to turn 100 years old, the corridor will get much-needed improvements to the Muni system and underground utilities. The project brings together the SFMTA, Public Works and the Public Utilities Commission to upgrade the vital system that help the community thrive.
- Rail track and overhead line replacement
- Water and sewer line replacement
- Surface repaving
- Curb ramp upgrades
- Concrete boarding islands and pedestrian bulbs
- Traffic signals
- New trees and landscaping
The streetscape style elements including tree selection, decorative crosswalks, trackway accent colors and public art were based on community feedback and will make the corridor an even more inviting to residents and visitors alike.
In order to minimize disruptions during construction and maximize flexibility, the project is split in two construction phases that will overlap. During various times, there will be bus substitutions for the L Taraval so that crews can work on the rails and infrastructure beneath them. More information on the exact timing for these substitutions will be available soon.
Completed L Rapid Safety Improvements
As part of the early implementation included in the L Taraval Rapid Project, roadway changes started in early 2017 to enhance safety for people getting on and off Muni and make the L more reliable. These include:
- Clear Zones at Train Stops
- Painted Safety Zones at Sidewalk Corners
- 6-Month Boarding Zone Pilot
- Transit Stop Removal
- Transit Only Lanes
Newly striped clear zone on Taraval at 32nd Avenue.
Clear zones are painted markings on the street that provide a separation between streetcars and the traffic lane. Clear zones make the street safer by giving pedestrians a safe space to step off Muni.
To enhance safety along Taraval Street, clear zones are installed at eight intersections:
- Taraval Street westbound only (north side):
- 26th Avenue
- 30th Avenue
- 32nd Avenue
- 40th Avenue
- 46th Avenue
- Taraval Street both directions
- 19th Avenue
- 42nd Avenue
- 44th Avenue
The law requires cars to always stop behind trains where passengers get on and off Muni in the street, including at all clear zone locations. Do not pass until the doors are closed.
Example of a painted safety zone on 16th Street.
Safety zones at sidewalk corners help make people walking more visible to drivers when crossing the street. Painted safety zones temporarily extend the sidewalk until permanent, concrete pedestrian bulbs can be installed.
To enhance safety along Taraval Street, painted safety zones will be installed at six intersections, including at 20th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, 33rd and 38th avenues. Concrete pedestrian bulbs will be installed with the larger project starting 2018.
In the five years prior to the start of this project, 22 people were hit getting on and off L Taraval trains where there were no boarding islands. To address this safety issue, a community-driven effort was launched to test whether measures including new street markings, signs and flashing lights on trains would get drivers to stop safely and legally for customers boarding Muni trains on Taraval.
Over a six month period in 2017, a loading zone pilot was evaluated at the inbound stops at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues. If successful, the pilot would preserve parking spaces at these five stops. If the measures failed to increase the share of drivers who stop for loading trains to 90 percent, or if anyone was injured at a pilot location, boarding islands would be installed at each location. Boarding islands are a critical safety improvement feature that provide a safe zone for passengers to get on and off the train.
Since April, data has been collected about how these changes have impacted the share of drivers who stop behind stopped trains. For the final evaluation, each instance where a stopped train interacted with a vehicle was noted and tracked based on whether or not cars stopped behind the train, as required by law.
After months of data collection and many hours of reviewing on-site videos, the results are in. The compliance rate rose slightly, to 74 percent, up from 72 percent prior to changes. Since these measures failed to increase the share of drivers who stop to the 90 percent target rate, boarding islands will be installed at the pilot locations. In total, 36 total parking spaces will be removed as a result.
Nine L Taraval stops were removed to improve travel time and increase reliability.
- In both directions:
- Taraval at 28th Avenue
- Ulloa at 15th Avenue
- Taraval at 35th Avenue
- Towards downtown:
- Taraval at 24th Avenue
- Towards SF Zoo:
- Taraval at 17th Avenue
- Taraval at 22nd Avenue
The inbound stop towards downtown at 15th Avenue and Taraval Street was approved for removal but will remain until a full boarding island can built sometime after 2019.
Newly striped Transit-only lane on Taraval between 45th-44th.
Transit-only lane were painted along the track lane of Taraval Street in both directions. Drivers are able to enter the lanes only to pass or make left turns. The SFMTA is committed to closely evaluating the transit-only lane to measure its impact on congestion and traffic flow for one year to identify any necessary adjustments or mitigations.
What do I need to know?
I'm a driver. What do I need to know?
- It’s the law to stop for streetcar passengers. At every clear zone and pilot location, it’s illegal to pass loading streetcars. Next to concrete boarding islands, you may pass at 10 MPH.
- The track lane on Taraval Street will now be dedicated to Muni. You can enter the lane when making a permitted left turn, but otherwise drive in the right lane.
I ride the L. What do I need to know?
- The new clear zones and upgraded boarding zones are designed to keep you safe while getting on and off Muni. However, do not stand and wait for Muni within the zones or you could risk being hit.