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Frequently Asked Questions 


California Street Safety Project 


Why are you implementing a road diet on this stretch of California Street between Park Presidio and 
Arguello? 


On this stretch of the corridor, there have been 57 injury collisions in the past five years. This segment of California Street 
also has a high rate of Muni-involved collisions, with 35 transit collisions in five years. At 8 to 9 feet wide, the 

travel lanes are not wide enough in this area for Muni vehicles, which are 10.5 feet wide, including mirrors. As a result, 
Muni vehicles must straddle multiple lanes, leading to sideswipe collisions. In addition, having multiple lanes in each 
direction can encourage higher traffic speeds and can make crossing the street more challenging for pedestrians. 


All Quick-build projects are built with elements that can be removed or adjusted if needed. The SFMTA will be evaluating 
the impacts of the project over a 24-month period, to ensure that safety goals are being met and that vehicle traffic 
changes do not slow down Muni service. Adjustments can be made to address any issues that are identified during the 2- 
year evaluation phase of the project after it is implemented. 


What is a road diet? 


A road diet is a traffic safety measure that is widely used in San Francisco and across the country. Similar road diets that 
convert four lane street to a three lane street with a center turn lane have shown an 19-47% reduction in collisions, 
according to the Federal Highway Administration. A local example of an effective road diet on 25* Avenue in the Richmond 
reduced collisions by about 20%, while a road diet on Fulton Street between Central and Stanyan reduced collisions by 
43%. 


All Quick-build projects are built with elements that can be removed or adjusted if needed. The SFMTA will be evaluating 
the impacts of the project over a 24-month period, to ensure that safety goals are being met and that vehicle traffic 
changes do not slow down Muni service. Adjustments can be made to address any issues that are identified during the 2- 
year evaluation phase of the project after it is implemented. 


Can this new road design handle all the traffic on California Street? 


San Francisco has experience with successful road diets on streets with similar volumes to California. By providing a center 
turn lane, which keeps turning vehicles from stopping other traffic, the roadway can function with close to the same 
capacity as it does today. California Street carries about 16,000 vehicles per day, while road diets have been implemented 
on streets with up to 25,000 vehicles per day elsewhere in the country, such as Seattle. 


All Quick-build projects are built with elements that can be removed or adjusted if needed. The SFMTA will be evaluating 
the impacts of the project over a 24-month period, to ensure that safety goals are being met and that vehicle traffic 
changes do not slow down Muni service. Adjustments can be made to address any issues that are identified during the 2- 
year evaluation phase of the project after it is implemented. 


Won't this cause traffic delays and diversion to side streets? 


San Francisco has experience with successful road diets on streets with similar volumes to California without significant 
traffic diversion, including Arguello Boulevard. By providing a center turn lane, which keeps turning vehicles from stopping 
other traffic, the roadway can function with close to the same capacity as it does today. California carries about 16,000 
vehicles per day, while road diets have been implemented on streets with up to 25,000 vehicles per day elsewhere in the 
country. 


Frequently Asked Questions 


California Street Safety Project 


The SFMTA is measuring traffic volumes on California, Clement and Lake streets to identify any traffic diversion as a result 
of the project. Adjustments can be made to address any issues that are identified during the 2-year evaluation phase of the 
project after it is implemented. 


As a response to the feedback we heard from the community regarding concern about potential traffic diversion to other 
local streets, we'll be gathering additional data on California Street to ensure this is the right treatment for the road. 


It's also important to note that all Quick-build projects are built with elements that can be removed or adjusted if needed. 
The SFMTA will be evaluating the impacts of the project over a 24-month period, to ensure that safety goals are being met 
and that vehicle traffic changes do not slow down Muni service. Adjustments can be made to address any issues that are 
identified during the 2-year evaluation phase of the project after it is implemented. 


Don’t wider lanes cause more safety problems? 


In this case, reducing the number of lanes will address the risk of a multiple-threat collision, which happens when one 
vehicle stops for a pedestrian but the vehicle in the lane next to it doesn’t. Reducing the number of lanes can also reduce 
speeding. 


Very narrow lanes can be appropriate on low-volume residential streets, but with the volume of large vehicles and transit 
vehicles that use California Street, they can lead to sideswipe collisions. In this case, we expect that wider lanes - but fewer 
of them - will improve safety on the street. A similar road diet on 25* Avenue, with a similar change in lane widths, 
reduced collisions by almost 20%. On Fulton Street between Central and Masonic, a similar road diet reduced injury 
collisions by 43%. 


Can this project be reversed if it’s not working? 


All Quick-build projects are built with elements that can be removed or adjusted if needed. The SFMTA will be evaluating 
the impacts of the project over a 24-month period, to ensure that safety goals are being met and that vehicle traffic 
changes do not slow down Muni service. Adjustments can be made to address any issues that are identified during the 2- 
year evaluation phase of the project after it is implemented. 


Isn't the answer more STOP signs? 


Collisions in the project area have occurred at all types of intersections and have primarily been associated with issues other 
than failure to yield at intersections that don’t have all-way STOP signs. 


Why are you adding a center turn lane instead of bike lanes? 


California Street is an important corridor for transit, with buses arriving every 3-4 minutes in the peak period. The center 
turn lane will allow buses to keep moving smoothly by keeping left turning vehicles out of the way. This will also help to 
reduce delay to general traffic, as left turns can add significant delay. The center turn lane also provides an option for 
vehicles to pass other vehicles that are double-parked in the corridor without having to enter the oncoming lane of traffic. 


Frequently Asked Questions 


California Street Safety Project 


Bicyclists are allowed to use any street, but Lake Street provides an alternative route with bike lanes one block north of 
California Street. Lake Street has about half the traffic volume of California Street, which may make it a more comfortable 
street to ride on. 


Will you be making similar improvements to other parts of California Street? 


Additional transit and pedestrian safety improvements will be made in the future as part of the 1 California Muni Forward 
project. This may include upgrades such as sidewalk widening at intersections to enhance pedestrian safety. We hope to 
start outreach in the next two years on these improvements. 


Other safety improvements could be identified in the future in areas of California Street that are on the Vision Zero high- 
injury network. Additional traffic calming improvements will be made on California Street through the Central Richmond 
Safety Project. Please visit the project webpage for more information at SFMTA.com/CentralRichmondSafety 


How will you be evaluating the project? 


We will be evaluating the following metrics: 
e = Traffic volumes and diversion 
e = Traffic speeds 
e Drivers yielding 
e = Transit travel times 


How will this affect transit? 

The project is designed to reduce collisions involving transit vehicles, which will improve safety and prevent delays when 
vehicles are taken out of service after a collision. We do not anticipate a significant change in travel time for transit, but we 
will also be measuring the impacts as part of the project evaluation. This project will allow express buses to more easily pass 
local buses stopped at bus stops, so there may be some improvement in travel time as a result of this change. 


When will this project be implemented? 


Some pedestrian safety elements will be implemented by the end of 2019. The road diet portion of the project would be 
implemented in spring 2020. 


What will the construction impacts be? 
The road diet will be installed by SFMTA paint shops. A conservative estimate to finish the project is 1-2 months will crews 


working 1-2 blocks at a time. Each block would see a day or two of work at a time of crews grinding out existing lane lines 
and then painting new lane lines. The implementation time assumes delays due to weather or crew availability.