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Twin Peaks for All FAQs

Monday, February 8, 2021

 

  1. How was Twin Peaks Access changed during COVID-19?

To provide additional recreational space for physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic the Burnett Avenue and Portola Drive gates on Twin Peaks Boulevard were closed in early 2020. We saw a huge increase in people walking, bike and rolling at the park after the closure.

  1. What is the purpose of the Twin Peaks for All project?

We are working with the community and other city departments on a new, permanent design to best balance the high demand for this natural resource with the following goals:

  • Restoring access to the viewpoint, especially for people with disabilities.
  • Providing a space for people walking and rolling that allows for physical distancing.
  • Reducing negative impacts by park users on neighbors.
  • Retaining the extraordinary increase in new park users by maintaining safe, continuous routes for those traveling on foot, bicycle and assistive mobility devices.
  1. What is the proposed plan for access at Twin Peaks going forward?

Recommendation: Open Portola Drive Gate at All Times, Close Burnett Avenue Gate

The proposal includes opening the gate at Portola Drive to traffic at all times and keeping the gate at Burnett Avenue closed. This option provides the best combination of safety and access and helps address the negative impacts affecting neighbors.

This preferred option closes the northern Burnett Avenue gate to vehicles at all times, creating dedicated space for people walking, rolling and biking all the way to Christmas Tree Point Road.

The southern Portola Drive gate will be open to vehicles and tour buses at all times – improving access to the top of Twin Peaks for those with mobility challenges. The Portola Drive gate will also serve people walking, rolling and biking to and from Christmas Tree Point Road by way of the existing roadway shoulders and off-street paths. The recommended design does not require modifications to streets that currently restrict tour buses.

More information on this can be found in our recent blog post.

  1. Why not open the whole road back to cars?

A great amount of support was heard from the public about the added car free space the gate closures provided. This support was shown by respondents to our online survey and was shown by the large increase in users since the gate closures. Plus, there is great demand for non-motorized park space in the center of San Francisco.

  1. Why not close the whole area to cars?

Keeping one or more of the gates open maintains access for people with limited mobility or disabilities to the summit parking lot.

  1. How do tour buses factor in?

Due to regulations in the neighborhood on the Burnett Avenue gate side of Twin Peaks, tour buses are only allowed access to the summit parking via the Portola Drive gate of Twin Peaks. The proposed option maintains access for tour buses without needing to change any restrictions or force buses to use narrow residential streets to access Twin Peaks.

  1. When will this proposal be presented to the SFMTA Board of Directors for potential approval?

The project is scheduled for the regular public meeting on Tuesday, March 2nd, 1:00 p.m., this date will be confirmed in the next two weeks.

The agenda and call-in information is available on our website. Public comment with your feedback can be made at this online meeting or by sending an email to TwinPeaks4All@sfmta.com

If approved, roadway changes are planned for March and April of 2021.

  1. What was the Twin Peaks for All survey?

Between October 20th and November 9th, 2020, the SFMTA released a multi-lingual electronic survey seeking feedback on five potential roadway options for Twin Peaks Boulevard. The survey was shared with people interested in the Twin Peaks for All project and previous Twin Peaks projects, area neighbors, posters along the route, was cover in local news and sent out via citywide social media.

The Twin Peaks for All survey was open for almost three weeks and received more than 1,700 responses. This number reflects the high level of interest for this San Francisco park and its future access. 

The survey was only one tool used to develop our recommendations and explore how people use the area. We are also looking at feedback from neighbors/community stakeholders, park usage data and addressing needs of the Fire Department, SFPD, and Rec and Park.

  1. What were the survey findings?

The “Burnet Avenue Option” that closed the Burnett gate and opened the Portola gate at all times was most preferred with 52 percent of people ranking it highest.

The “Pre-COVID Option” that opened both gates to vehicles at all times was the most divisive of the five options, it ranked as the second most preferred with 30 percent but also most respondents ranked it as less preferred with 64 percent of the vote.

Mode of transportation to Twin Peaks was associated with responses, with visitors traveling by non-motor vehicular modes favoring the Burnett Avenue Option and visitors traveling by motor vehicular modes favoring the Pre-COVID Option.

Other findings:

  • Many respondents commented that they prefer some form of new car-free space on Twin Peaks.
  • Survey respondents are concerned about sharing the road to the top of Twin Peaks with tour buses and motor vehicle traffic.
  • The recommended options that opens the Portola Gate received a mix of support, ranking tied for second most preferred with the Pre-COVID option of opening both gates.
  • Crime, vandalism and litter are concerns associated with all options.
  1. What additional evaluation criteria were considered?

In addition to survey findings, the SFMTA looked at safety, neighborhood impacts, accessibility, tour bus access, non-motorized transportation access and cost. Evaluation of the criteria are available here.

  1. What are we doing to address crime?

We heard concerns from neighbors of the Burnett Avenue gate that with the top of Twin Peaks closed to vehicles, more drivers began parking near the northern gate, creating noise, litter, and vandalism. These negative impacts have been issues at the top Twin Peaks historically and with the closure moved down the hill. The San Francisco Police Department continues to take a proactive role in trying to combat these acts and will do so into the future.

Based on SFMTA analysis, opening the Portola Drive gate to vehicles at all times should decrease these negative neighborhood impacts. People parking and looking at the view in the neighborhood will now have access to the peak. Additionally, SFMTA staff will work with providers such as Google and Waze to direct drivers to the Portola Drive gate entrance to reach Twin Peaks. The SFMTA also commits to communicating with San Francisco Police Department with regards to monitoring and evaluating conditions if the recommendations are enacted.

  1. What’s next?

SFMTA staff will present the proposed recommendation at the March 2nd SFMTA Board of Directors’ meeting and if approved, implementation would occur in March and April 2021. SFMTA staff will continue to monitor and evaluate use for future modifications to the design. For more information or to sign up for an email update, visit our project page