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San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Howard Streetscape Improvement Project USDOT (2021) RAISE Grant Data Repository

Monday, July 12, 2021

This is the online document library for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Howard Streetscape Improvement Project USDOT RAISE (2021) Grant Application.


The Howard Streetscape Project (Project) is a truly transformative project of regional significance that will improve the safety and efficiency of the City’s transportation system, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve water quality and, critically, enhance mobility for the neighborhood’s high concentration of low-income residents who are most dependent upon transit, walking and bicycling.   

Existing Conditions

San Francisco has the highest population density of any U.S. city outside of New York. The City’s population is expected to grow by more than 200,000 by 2040 and to accommodate this growth with the least impact on the environment, the City is strategically investing in improving the efficiency of its transit system and building infrastructure to support a growing demand for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. 

Howard Street runs parallel to Folsom and Mission streets between South Van Ness Avenue and the Embarcadero Boulevard. It is just south of the main city artery, Market Street (with its BART and Muni Metro transit lines), and north of Interstate 80. The Project Area is one of the most diverse, dense, and continuously growing neighborhoods in San Francisco with a mix of residential and commercial uses. The neighborhood also includes one of the largest traffic generators in the City, the Moscone Convention Center.  Moscone Center is the largest convention and exhibition complex in San Francisco, containing two million square feet of building space and drawing one million visitors per year.

The Project Area and the surrounding SoMa neighborhoods were originally comprised of light industrial uses and single room occupancies (SROs). Beginning in the 1990s, the area started to transition from a manufacturing hub to a commercial, entertainment, and residential center due to its proximity to downtown and regional transit.

The inadequacy of the existing walkways and bikeways and a street design that supports and prioritizes high vehicles volumes have resulted in two bicyclists and one pedestrian fatalities on the corridor between 2014 and 2019.  

Existing traffic volumes on Howard Street are relatively high, reflecting its use as a major westbound arterial and the number of traffic generators along the corridor, including the Moscone Convention Center.

Historically, the condition and design of Howard Street prioritized high speeds and high volumes that produce sometimes dangerous walking and biking conditions for the neighborhood’s current needs. Howard Street is on San Francisco’s Vision Zero High Injury Network, where just 13 percent of San Francisco’s streets account for 75 percent of the City’s severe and fatal traffic collisions.


The Project will improve safety for all modes of transportation, enhance comfort for people walking and biking along the corridor and support growth in the neighborhood through four types of improvements: road diet, bicycle infrastructure, upgraded pedestrian infrastructure and curb management. Without the Project, these issues will continue, and the incoming influx of residents and visitors will exacerbate them.

  1. Road Diet – Reducing Howard Street from three to two westbound travel lanes reduces vehicle speeds, collisions, as well as pedestrian crossing lengths and time.   
  2. Bicycle Improvements – Establishing a seven-block two-way protected bicycle lane that responds to bicyclists’ demand for an eastbound connection. New separate bicycle signals will eliminate interactions between right-turning vehicles and bicyclists at intersections. Two-stage left turn areas, protected intersections, and new traffic signal phasing will reduce motor vehicle and bicycle conflicts. New concrete buffers will physically separate bicyclists from drivers increasing comfort for all users.
  3. Pedestrian Improvements – Raised crosswalks located at alleyways increases pedestrian visibility. Curb ramps provide access between the sidewalk and roadway, and traffic signals with pedestrian head starts, bulb-outs and no parking at intersections will improve pedestrian visibility and reduce crossing distances and times. New pedestrian-scaled streetlights, trees and landscaping will create a more inviting pedestrian environment.
  4. Curb Management – Reducing the amount of parking and placing commercial and passenger loading zones where they are most effective creates more space for bicycle corrals, bikeshare stations and vehicle turn pockets as well as reducing double-parking and congestion, common causes of collisions. ADA compliant passenger loading zones accommodate people using wheelchairs to access parked vehicles.

Project Funding

Local funds, including developer impact fees and SFMTA operating funds will leverage the SFMTA’s request for $15 million in FY 2021 RAISE discretionary grant funds to build the Project.

 Howard Streetscape Project Budget

Project Schedule

The detailed design phase will begin in early 2022 and contract bidding is expected to begin in June 2023 so that construction can begin by January 2024. This will enable funds awarded through a RAISE grant to be obligated before January 2024. The Project is expected to be completed in two years.

Howard Streetscape Project Schedule Timeline


SFMTA Authorized Representation - Authorized Representative: Joel Goldberg, Manager, Programming and Grants

Related Links and Documents 

The documents and related links below are included in the Howard Streetscape Project application narrative.