Give feedback on proposed safety fixes for South Van Ness by October 27
South Van Ness is one of the City’s most notoriously dangerous streets when it comes to traffic safety. But changes are in motion as part of SFMTA’s ‘Vision Zero Quick Build’ program.
The public has until October 27 to give input on proposed changes through the South Van Ness virtual online open house.
But before you chime in, please take a minute to read Walk SF’s assessment based on recent ‘walk audits’ on South Van Ness.
The biggest existing safety threats on South Van Ness
When evaluating South Van Ness intersections, the biggest threats to pedestrians we observed were dangerous speeds and very long crossing distances. People must walk nearly 60 feet to cross the roadway: four travel lanes and two parking lanes of South Van Ness. This is especially concerning given two of the top crash factors on South Van Ness are drivers failing to yield and running red lights.
Proposed improvements don’t go far enough
Some of the SFMTA’s proposed improvements will alleviate some of the traffic dangers we saw. We’re glad to see plans include removing a travel lane – which often brings speeds along a corridor – plus adding more time to cross at intersections that do not yet have walking speeds raised to 3 feet per second.
But we’re concerned that the current road diet design gets weakest exactly where most crashes happen: at the intersection. While removing a travel lane is needed, the current design will yield a super-wide 25 foot lane right before the intersection. This will create enough space for a de-facto right-turn lane for drivers. This means that pedestrians still have four traffic lanes to cross, but with the added disadvantage that the right turn lane will be informal and used unpredictably.
This could be remedied with tools like painted safety zones at the corners and ‘median safety zones’ using soft-hit posts, like those used on Williams Avenue (shown below). This would help slow vehicles going through and turning at the intersection. It would also shorten the distances pedestrians must cross busy travel lanes.
Take the survey to share your feedback
From October 13 – 27, the SFMTA is collecting feedback on their proposed safety design. Please go to the online open house and take the survey. In Question #2 (Comments or Questions), speak up for needed additional improvements in the comment section:
- Share your support for removing a traffic lane and giving additional pedestrian crossing time
- Ask for added painted safety zones to narrow the crossing distance at intersections
- Ask for travel lanes to be narrowed, especially at the intersections where most crashes happen
A big thank you to the folks who came out for the South Van Ness walk audits, some of whom are pictured here. Your input and perspectives were a big help!
Do you walk in the Mission? Check out the District 9 traffic safety report card.
Questions on this project? Contact Walk SF’s Vision Zero Organizer Brian Haagsman.