Upper Market Street Safety Project
Construction from 14th to Octavia to start in July 2021
In spring 2021, San Francisco Public Works awarded Esquivel Grading & Paving, Inc., a contract to support the final construction phase of the Upper Market Safety Project, which has a total budget of $10 million. These changes include sidewalk widening and other accessibility upgrades (primarily where existing ‘painted safety zones’ have been in place since 2015), new traffic signals, transit boarding island enhancements, and streetscape amenities such as center median uplighting and decorative crosswalks. These investments reflect years of community input to address safety issues at Upper Market’s wide, multi-way intersections and support neighborhood identity and a vibrant commercial corridor.
City and private contractor crews will begin work on the first project phase, from 14th Street to Octavia Boulevard, in July 2021. Work will continue at the Guerrero/Laguna and Octavia Boulevard/Central Freeway intersections until late 2021 or early 2022. Work on the western half of the corridor (between 14th and Castro) will not start until early 2022, with most of the project expected to be finished by June 2022.
‘Spot’ safety fixes completed at Castro/Market/17th Street
In the first half of 2021, SFMTA crews completed important safety spot improvements to the Castro/Market/17th Street intersection. These include new posts and striping in the roadway to protect the outbound bike lane, increase protection of the westernmost pedestrian crosswalk, and help slow the speed of turning vehicles. These changes are further supported by new traffic calming on 17th Street and a new midblock pedestrian crossing (to Pink Triangle Park) slated for construction with the larger construction project in 2022.
In May 2021, the SFMTA also added a new protected left-turn phase for outbound Market to southbound Castro motorists. This change helps protect pedestrians in the crosswalk between Castro Station/Harvey Milk Plaza and Jane Warner Plaza, where there had been several recent pedestrian collisions. Staff will continue to monitor intersection operations throughout 2021 and consider additional changes to improve safety and overall traffic compliance if necessary.
Circulation changes limited to 16th Street, Hermann/Laguna/Guerrero
The SFMTA held a public hearing in December 2020 to consider potential traffic circulation changes to improve intersection safety as part of the Upper Market Street Safety Project. The draft proposal included a new traffic signal for the (currently STOP-controlled) Hermann/Laguna intersection and left-turn restrictions from Noe Street, Sanchez Street, and southbound 16th Street.
Based on community feedback and the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related emergency changes (such as the Noe Slow Street), the final project scope will exclude turn restrictions at the Noe and Sanchez Street intersections. The restriction of southbound left-turns from 16th Street at Market Street and changes to the Hermann/Laguna intersection will move forward since these have broader support and are more directly tied to planned safety investments with the larger capital project.
The Upper Market Street Safety Project is a substantial, multi-phased effort to improve the safety and comfort of Market Street between Octavia Boulevard and Castro Street for all roadway users. The project is based on a data-driven approach to identifying collision hot spots and factors and includes engineering recommendations for the corridor's complex 6-legged intersections, dedicated bike lane upgrades, and public realm improvements to enhance safety and comfort for people walking, driving, and bicycling. Project goals are to improve safety and comfort for all users by reducing the potential for conflict and making travel along the corridor more predictable and intuitive.
The project reflects years of robust outreach and evaluation, as well as prior neighborhood planning efforts - stretching back well over a decade – that include the Upper Market Street 2009 Community Vision and Recommendations and the Market-Octavia Area Plan.
Between 2015 and 2019, nearly $1 million in ‘near-term’ safety improvements were added to the corridor as a down payment on a larger set of traffic and sidewalk changes. The project’s final $10 million construction phase is expected to start in July 2021 and substantially finish by June 2022 and is funded with Market Octavia developer impact fees, SFCTA Prop K sales tax revenues, a state grant, and other local sources.
Near-Term Implementation Phase 1
In 2015, the SFMTA implemented several near-term safety improvements, designed to quickly and effectively increase safety and comfort on the corridor while permanent improvements are designed and legislated. These near-term project elements included:
- Painted safety zones to increase pedestrian visibility and slow the speed of turning vehicles
- Signal timing improvements to increase the crossing time for pedestrians, provide pedestrian “head starts,” and manage congestion
- Upgraded crosswalks to increase visibility
- New right-turn on red restrictions to enhance pedestrian safety and comfort
- Enhanced lane markings in the roadway to indicate where vehicles and bicycles should be
- Enhanced bicycle lanes, to increase the separation between cyclists and drivers
Near-Term Implementation Phase 2
From 2018 to 2019, the SFMTA implemented the following near-term improvements that were approved by the SFMTA Board in May 2017:
- Parking-protected bikeway on Market Street outbound between Octavia Boulevard and Duboce Avenue and inbound between Guerrero Street and Octavia Boulevard
- Bike lane upgrades between Duboce and Castro on Market Street, on Sanchez Street approaching Market Street, and across Market Street at Octavia Boulevard
- Painted safety zones at the Guerrero/Market and Hermann/Laguna intersections
- Revised traffic signal phasing at the 16th/Noe/Market intersection
- Improved intersection wayfinding/guidance markings
Capital Construction Phase
The project’s final set of capital investments to the Upper Market Street corridor will include the following elements:
- Sidewalk extensions (bulbouts) and ADA accessibility upgrades at seven intersections
- 17th/Castro - new curb ramps/pathway to Muni elevator and Pink Triangle Park
- 16th/Noe - four bulbouts (both approaches to Market Street on 16th and Noe streets)
- 15th/Sanchez – four bulbouts (three on 15th Street)
- 14th St – one bulbout, southeast corner near Ace Hardware
- Dolores St – straightening / shortening of Market Street crosswalk
- Laguna/Guerrero – large bulbout on SE corner, new curb ramps at all corners
- Octavia/McCoppin/Central Freeway – widened Octavia plaza with crosswalk accessibility improvements including raised crosswalk at McCoppin Street
- Traffic Signals:
- Major overhaul (revised signal layout and phasing) for 16th/Noe and a Laguna/Guerrero intersections, including a new signal for Hermann/Laguna approach to Market Street
- Signal and phasing modifications at Octavia, 15th Street, and Castro Street
- Bikeway and bike access upgrades:
- Enhanced physical protection for southbound approach, northbound departure on Octavia at Market Street
- Widening/straightening of Market Street protected bikeway inbound at McCoppin/Central Freeway and outbound at Laguna and Buchanan street approaches
- New sidewalk bike racks and corrals
- Enhanced transit access including an expanded outbound boarding platform at Laguna Street
- Streetscape enhancements:
- Uplighting of center median palm trees
- Stamped, decorative crosswalks at 15th/Sanchez and Hermann/Laguna intersections
- Substantial tree replacement and maintenance along Market Street, and new median island with landscaping on Guerrero Street approaching Market Street
- Repair and extension of the Rainbow Honor Walk plaque program
- Potential for custom, decorative (“HOPE”-themed) MUNI railings and bike racks, utility box public art pending successful contractor bid and final project budget
PROJECT DETAILS & HISTORY
From October 2014 to November 2019, the Upper Market Street Safety Project team held approx. 30 in-person meetings with key organizations including the Castro Commercial Benefit District (CBD), Castro Merchants group, Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA), Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA), Corbett Heights/Eureka Valley neighborhood associations, and the Market-Octavia Citizen’s Advisory Committee (MOP-CAC). During this time, the Project team also hosted eight public open meetings, including a curb space management workshop in October 2015 to gather community feedback on corridor parking and safety issues including double-parking and loading concerns, and a 2018 open house to consider potential streetscape upgrades and additional circulation changes.
In fall 2020, the SFMTA held a public hearing to consider final approvals for the project’s proposed left-turn restrictions at Market Street and new traffic signal at Hermann/Laguna. Once under construction, the project’s main construction phase outreach and notification will be managed by SF Public Works.
Every year, dozens of people are killed and 200 more are seriously injured while travelling on city streets. These deaths and injuries are unacceptable and preventable, and San Francisco is committed to eliminating them.
By adopting a policy called Vision Zero in 2014, the City and County of San Francisco is committed to building better and safer streets, educating the public on traffic safety, enforcing traffic laws, and prioritizing resources to implement effective initiatives that save lives. Vision Zero aims to eliminate all traffic deaths in San Francisco by 2024 and the SFMTA is prioritizing efforts on the corridors that have the highest number of serious and fatal collisions, including Upper Market Street.
The Upper Market Street Safety Project is in support of Vision Zero and will implement targeted, proven safety improvements on the corridor.