Apply for Residential Traffic Calming

The SFMTA's Residential Streets Traffic Calming Program seeks to make San Francisco safer and more comfortable for pedestrians, children, bicyclists, and motorists by designing our streets to encourage slower speeds. 

If you would like your street to be considered for traffic calming measures, you can apply to the Residential Streets Traffic Calming Program by submitting an application and petition signed by at least 20 residents from separate households on your street. 

The program is no longer accepting applications for the 2016/2017 Traffic Calming Program. Applications for the 2017/2018 program will be accepted starting on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 and must be submitted by Friday, June 30, 2017. 

If you have any further questions, please contact the SFMTA Traffic Calming Program at TrafficCalming@sfmta.com

Learn more about Applying for Traffic Calming

If you have a specific traffic concern that is not related to speed humps, please contact the SFMTA Sustainable Streets Division online using the 311 Self Service portal or call 311 (for calls outside of San Francisco, dial 415.701.2311).

What is traffic calming?

Traffic calming consists of a combination of physical design and other measures that are put in place on roads for the intention of altering, slowing down, or reducing motor-vehicle traffic, and improving safety and the quality of conditions for non-motorized street users.

The goals of traffic calming include:

  • Improving the quality of conditions along the street by making it more safe and attractive
  • Incorporating the preferences and requirements of residents
  • Promoting people to walk, ride a bicycle or take transit

Different types of traffic calming measures are appropriate on different types of streets. Some examples of traffic calming measures include:

  • Vertical changes in the street (speed humps, raised intersections)
  • Lateral changes in the street (chicanes, traffic circles)
  • Constrictions (traffic islands, parking)
  • Narrow pavement width
  • Entrance features (signs, pavement surfaces)
  • Route changes (closures, turn restrictions)

Traffic lights and stop signs are not considered traffic calming. Requests for these measures can be made by contacting 311.

What is the process for getting traffic calming on my street?

  • Application: Residents who are concerned about speeding on their streets are encouraged to submit applications and neighborhood petitions to initiate the process for receiving traffic calming measures. Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2016/2017 application cycle. Complete applications for the 2017/2018 program are due on June 30, 2017. 
  • Evaluation & Ranking: Once applications are received, SFMTA staff collect the additional data needed to determine whether an application qualifies and how severe the problem is. This includes conducting speed & traffic count and reviewing data on the number of collisions for each location. Once this data is gathered for all applications, they are ranked based primarily on speeds, traffic counts, collisions and the land use types within a short proximity to the street, which can include the presence of schools, transit stops, health care facilities and retail activity, among others.
  • Inform Applicants: Once the evaluation and ranking phase is complete, applicants will be informed of whether or not their location will receive a traffic calming project the following year. This process was completed for the 2015/2016 application cycle in February 2016. Residents who have submitted applications for the 2016/2017 application cycle will be notified of their application status no later than Wednesday, February 15, 2017. 
  • Determine Project List: SFMTA staff then review each of the top locations to determine whether a speed hump would be an appropriate tool to reduce speeds at that location.  In some cases, other measures will be recommended.
  • Inform & Ballot Neighbors: Residents on accepted blocks will be contacted by the SFMTA with information about the project, and asked to vote on whether they would like traffic calming implemented on their street. Fifty percent of returned ballots must be in favor of the measure – signatures from the original application count as “yes” votes unless a “no” vote is received from the same address.
  • Design & Approval: If the neighbors vote in favor of the measure, SFMTA engineers will finalize the designs and bring the proposals through the official SFMTA public hearing process.
  • Construction: Speed humps, speed cushions, and other traffic calming measures recommended for accepted 2015/2016 applications will begin construction in October 2016. Many factors including competing prioritized projects, weather and staffing influence the time line of construction. You can visit this website for quarterly updates on when traffic calming measures will be constructed on your block.

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Why are applications required?

Applications are required to identify locations where there are speeding concerns. Signatures are required as part of the application to ensure that there will be initial community support for traffic calming, before the SFMTA begins the planning process. If a block is selected for traffic calming, residents on that block will be given the opportunity to vote on whether or not they would support the recommended traffic calming measure installed on their street.

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How are streets selected?

For a block to be considered for residential traffic calming, three main criteria must be met.

  • Eligible Residential Street: The street must be a local-access residential street where speed humps and other speed reduction measures would be effective. Major arterial streets are not addressed through residential traffic calming, but rather through other SFMTA programs and projects.
  • Measurable Speeding Problem: Streets will only be included where speeding has been demonstrated based on SFMTA data collection and criteria.
  • Prioritized Ranking: Eligible applications will be ranked to determine the list of locations most in need of traffic calming, and the highest ranked locations will receive traffic calming based on funding availability. Funding levels will vary from year to year.

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How do I know if my street meets the criteria?

The SFMTA will measure speeds once applications are submitted.  However, before you apply, you can also take a look at the resources below to see if your street may be unlikely to qualify.

Streets with the following characteristics are not likely to be eligible residential streets:

If your street is eligible and has speeding, the following features could increase the ranking of your street:

  • If your street is in a school zone or within close proximity to commercial/retail activity
  • If there is a community center, senior center, park or playground on your street
  • If there is a Muni rapid route within close proximity to your street
  • If your street is on the bicycle network

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What if I want something besides a speed hump?

Speed humps are the most effective measure at reducing speeds, and are less resource intensive than less effective tools such as median islandstraffic circles, or lane shifting. If you apply for the traffic calming program, your street will first be evaluated for speed humps and only considered for other measures if speed humps are infeasible.

If you are concerned about safety an intersection, rather than speeds mid-block, traffic calming may not be the appropriate solution.  For instance if your primary concerns are about STOP signs, yielding, or visibility, please contact the Sustainable Streets Division online using the 311 Self Service portal or call 311 (for calls outside of San Francisco, dial 415.701.2311).

In addition to the Traffic Calming Program, the City of San Francisco is working on other initiatives to manage vehicular speeds on city streets.  One such important effort is described below. 

Automated Speed Enforcement

Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) is a safety technique that uses radar to measure vehicle speed, capture images of speeding vehicle license plates and issue citations if a vehicle is traveling above a predefined speed threshold, such as 10 mph over the speed limit.  This technology provides consistent and predictable enforcement of the speed limit and serves as a supplement to traditional traffic enforcement performed by police officers.  Although ASE has been proven to deter illegal speeding across the United States and abroad, California jurisdictions are currently not authorized to use this tool. You can learn more about ASE and the City’s efforts to authorize this life-saving tool here.

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