UPDATE: IB 29 cleared at Mansell & Goettingen. Regular service has resumed. Expect rolling delays. https://t.co/MzjnneGfjn (More: 17 in last 24hrs)

Townsend Corridor Improvement Project

Townsend Street has one of the richest mixes of travel modes of any street in San Francisco.  4th and Townsend, with the regional Caltrain Station and the soon-to-be-completed Central Subway light rail, is the nexus of this corridor as visitors, residents, workers, shoppers and travelers converge there daily.  Thousands of people an hour access this regional transportation hub by bicycle, by foot, by rail, by shuttle bus, ride-share vehicle, taxi, personal vehicle, or by one of the eight Muni bus routes on Townsend.  Throughout this project we have worked with the local community to design and build an efficient and safe Townsend Street where all modes of travel are separated into comfortable and intuitive spaces.  When complete, the project will transform Townsend Street from 3rd Street to 8th Street.  


Quick-build safety treatments have started to take shape on Townsend Street between 5th and 7th streets to provide a protected bike lane and a smoother surface for pedestrians and people on bicycles. Street parking configuration has also been updated to accommodate these changes. The next phase of construction will involve creating new sidewalk, transit islands, and additional roadway and curb paint installations. We’re also working on installing new bicycle signals at 4th and Townsend that will improve the flow of people and vehicles through that busy intersection.

During construction, estimated for summer 2019, temporary tow-away zones will be established to remove parked vehicles and allow crews space to complete their work. Bikeways, pedestrian path of travel and two-way traffic will be accommodated at all times. Additionally, temporary bus zones, passenger loading zones and tour bus loading zones will be established during construction at nearby locations.


  • The 83X Mid-Market Express which traveled this corridor will be rerouted onto Brannan  Street and will still stop at Townsend and 4th Street. 
  • The project will re-route the 47 Van Ness, which currently circulates the area in a clockwise manner utilizing 5th and 4th streets, so that it will circulate counter-clockwise utilizing 5th and 3rd streets. Bus stops will be relocated accordingly. 
  • Throughout the project area, boarding islands and sidewalk bulbouts will reduce the need for buses to pull in and out of travel lanes. 
  • A limited number of transit stops for routes N-Owl, 10-Townsend, 30-Stockton, 47-Van Ness, 45-Union/Stockton, 81X-Catrain Express, 82X-Levi Plaza Express, 83X-Mid Market Express, and 91-Owl, will be adjusted in order to provide adequate space for drop off and pick up of passengers. 
  • Tour bus loading zones on the south side of Townsend between 4th and 5th will be moved to the south side of Townsend between 5th and 6th.


Project Timeline 
Gather stakeholder feedback through online surveys and pop-up events, share conceptual designs
Spring 2018
In-depth outreach to businesses, residents, roadway users, and neighborhood stakeholders
Summer 2018
Refine near-term designs and complete environmental review of proposals
November 6, 2018
SFMTA Board Meeting (final approvals)
November 2018
Quick-build improvements
Summer 2019
Final construction phase
Project Status 

The SFMTA is focusing on Townsend as it is a corridor of high demand due to the density of residents, bicycle use, proximity to Caltrain, and the current lack of physically protected bikeway. Townsend Street between 8th and 4th is a part of the Vision Zero High Injury Network, and there were 43 bicycle collisions on the corridor in the last 5 years.  

The poor quality of the street, including lack of sidewalks and pavement conditions, make this street feel unsafe for all users. The area undergoing rapid population and employment growth and many development projects are already underway. This project is specifically designed to make low-cost improvements to the street in advance of the planned excavation of Townsend Street as part of the Downtown Extension Project.  

California High Speed Rail Authority
San Francisco Public Works logo
SF Planning Department logo
Transbay Joint Powers Authority
Vision Zero SF logo
Contact Information 
Jonathan Streeter