San Jose Avenue Road Diet final open house
January, 19, 2016
Glen Park Elementary School
SFMTA and Caltrans had up boards describing 1) changes to Dolores where it meets San Jose Avenue, 2) the changes to SJA, 3) three options for fixing the freeway offramp and 4) some data. A spokesman said those boards would be on the project website by today, but I don’t see them there yet.
Quick summary of the boards:
- Changes to Dolores. Median expansions and more visible crosswalks at the two crossings where Dolores meets SJA. There is also a crosswalk being planned that will eventually span San Jose Avenue just north of where northbound vehicles turn left onto Dolores. It will link to Brook on the east side of the street, and eventually there will be a traffic signal there. (The traffic signal was not on the boards, but an SFMTA rep told me that.)
- The changes to San Jose Avenue (basically speeds will be same as before, but new two-lane configuration remains) can be seen in Appendix B of the final report.
- Freeway offramp can either become one lane only, go back to two lanes or continue as two lanes that merge into one.
Louis Liss, Public outreach SFMTA
Damon Curtis, SFMTA Liveable Streets Dept
Ramiel Gutierrez, Caltrans Office of Traffic Safety
Matt Brill, SFMTA Transit Division (MUNI), Project Manager for 14 Mission project
Moderator Scott Stawicki, Glen Park Association Transportation Committee
Q: Wouldn’t it be better to have both bike lanes on southbound side of SJA?
A from Curtis: that’s not something we’ve studied. Focus has been to improve existing bike facilities. Not saying it’s not possible. I’m not going to commit to studying it as we sit here tonight, but as time goes on and future plans for the Bernal Cut come around, that can be on the table.
Q: People going north on SJA often miss Rousseau and turn onto Milton instead (even though it’s a one-way in the other direction). Please consider extending the curb at Milton to discourage this practice.
A from Curtis: This is the first he’s heard of anyone going the wrong way down Milton. We can take a look at that as part of the traffic calming for side streets.
Q: How can you prevent drivers from driving in bike lanes between Milton and St. Mary’s?
A from Curtis: The raised barriers on the northbound side won’t begin until past St. Mary’s. To keep bikes out between Rousseau and St. Mary’s, we’ll need to put up some more of those soft-hit posts.
Q: What would it take to implement a boulevard on SJA since the current measures have not slowed speeds?
A from Curtis: For this project our toolbox was really paint. Anything more extensive would take more study, a feasibility look. The good news is that we’ve heard from many folks in the community that there is a vision, and we encourage you to keep working with elected officials to implement the vision.
Q: What is the procedure for getting the SFJA traffic lanes back to the way they were?
A: Gutierrez gives history of Phase I (SJA goes from three lanes to two) and Phase II (exit goes from two lanes to one). Speeds and volumes didn’t change in Phase II but traffic did back up. Because there was no precipitous benefit downstream, we’re hoping to put back the two lanes coming off, the way it was during Phase I. But SJA would remain two lanes because Phase I reduced traffic volume.
Curtis says the road diet on the city street portion has had some benefits: reduced volumes, increased bicycle ridership. We’re not prepared to reverse those benefits.
From a traffic engineering standpoint, there aren’t enough cars to warrant three lanes. Each lane can carry a certain number of cars per hour. The capacity of a three-lane roadway un-signalized free-flow is about 4800 per hour.
To address the question, moderator Stawicki says community members from different neighborhoods talked to supervisors and community outreach groups to make this change happen. In effect, any changes you want to see starts with you talking to your community organizations and political officials.
Q: Considering Arlington and Lyell intersection, westbound movement on Lyell is a fast left. Turns for bikes from Arlington to Lyell are dangerous.
A: Curtis says he can’t visualize it but is willing to look at it. Wasn’t part of the pilot. We’ve been looking at Diamond/Bosworth and might look at the Arlington/Lyell intersection, so please send me your concerns.
Q: This project does not think big enough. We need to cover SJA from St. Mary’s. and put the cars below (in three lanes) and bikes/peds above
A: Curtis says he’d be happy to work on that project, but it’s not going to start on his desk. “I don’t have that power.”
Stawicki says the GP Community Plan outlines improvements on SJA. It’s up to people from GP and surrounding communities to put pressure on political leaders to make sure they honor these plans and ideas in some form.
Q: Pilot has made my morning commute much better. Instead of jersey barrier, consider planted median with street trees or raise the grade of the cycle track to create multi-use trail.
A: Curtis says they were constrained by time and dollars in terms of what they had in their toolbox to create a separate bike facility.
Q: According to your numbers, phase I did not reduce speed but did create other backups, including Phase II. What about keeping speeds the same and making other changes?
A: With the configuration, the speed limits we would post are 45mph corridor from the tunnel to just before Randall. In terms of other changes, we intend to put some other cautionary speed signs, some street name guide signs so drivers know what streets are coming up and they’re not making last-minute movements. Also proposing an advisory sign near Richland. But that’s what I’m limited to: signage and paint on the roadway. Additionally, we’re putting in a raised barrier.
Q: One of the goals of diet was to increase safety. Given that there were 18 accidents along corridor between 2010 to 2015, about 3 accidents per year for 7.3 million cars, a .0000004 percent accident rate. How does this compare with other parts of the city and how safe are you trying to be? [Note from Heather: I may have mis-heard these numbers and will correct them if I get the right ones, but the percentage will still be small.]
A by Liss: Our ultimate goal is zero fatalities. High speeds kill. We’ve done near-term improvements to increase safety and we’ll continue working with the community.
Q: Are there any design alternative for proposed concrete jersey barriers?
A: Stawicki says he heard rumors that the jersey barriers on southbound side were going to be decorated with murals.
Curtis says he doesn’t know more specifics about the mural. He’d heard that a nonprofit has put together the components to make sure the mural happens.
Q: Who do we need to talk to get the adopted GP Community Plan proposals for this area started and finished before 2017 deadline?
A: (See above. You need to get in touch with politicians, etc.)
Q: SJ is an anomaly. State law forbids posted speed limits under 45mph.
A: Based on the data we have collected, it would be illegal to post a speed lower than 45 mph.
Q: Could we change the designation of the street to residential, which is 25 mph?
A: This doesn’t meet the criteria of a residential street. No houses on the road, two lanes
Q: 20,000 cars a day idling an extra 5 minutes is an enormous ecological impact. Was that considered?
A: Curtis says not every car is stuck in the queue. Idling happens during the peak hours, about six hours during the day, 12,000 cars. There was no ecological component studied.
Q: Have the neighbors of St. Mary’s supported the speed humps?
A from Liss: The residents of the block vote on whether to add speed humps. Our procedure is to send out a ballot to each person who lives on the block. We don’t take the speed hump to public hearing unless majority of residents support it.
Q: Have you noticed improved pedestrian safety at SJA and Randall after the changes?
A from Liss: We haven’t observed increased pedestrian safety. [Heather’s note: I think what he was saying is that not enough time has passed since pilot started for them to chart increased safety, but quite honestly I kind of missed this one.]
Q: Will the proposed changes at the Ocean Avenue exit affect the SJA exit?
[Note from Heather: I didn’t really catch this question, but a blog reader said it likely concerns a proposal to close the northbound Geneva on-ramp and redirect this traffic to the Ocean Avenue on-ramp. The answer seemed to be that no, that change was not factored into the current changes to the SJA off-ramp and that the proposed Ocean/Geneva change is not in the near future.]
Q: Is there a plan for street cleaning in the bike lane if there is a raised barrier?
A: Yes. We have an MOU almost signed between SFMTA and DPW that spells out particulars for keeping the street clean.
Stawicki says GPA interested in seeing details of plan.
Q: Has there been a study of adding a signal at St. Mary’s and Mission?
A: Brill says we are considering signals on Mission corridor as part of the MUNI Forward project for the 14 Mission line, but St. Mary’s is not one of them. Signal at Highland proposed.
Q: An important element of traffic calming is changing perception of street. I support study of options of implementing SJA boulevard plan including reconnecting Glen Park with Bernal Heights.
Q: Any chance for some real trees or grass on SJA at the parklet where SJA and Guerrero split?
A: [Heather’s note: I didn’t hear the answer, but that isn’t part of this project.]
Q: How can we reduce speeds on SJA?
A: Automated speed enforcement is part of the city’s plan to reduce speeds. Flashing light, someone asks? Curtis says it’s not something he studied based on limited toolbox, but he does have the advisory sign. He can look at conditions and see if they warrant them.
Q: The primary goals of the pilot were not met, so now changes are made based on secondary outcomes. Did you study the negative outcomes of those secondary outcomes?
A: There were five or six goals of the project, none of them were posted as primary.
Q: To aid traffic flow at Randall and SJ, have you considered an elevated footbridge