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Twelve more San Francisco corridors approved for speed reduction

A dozen more commercial corridors in San Francisco will soon have speed limits reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors Tuesday approved the speed limit changes in an effort to slow drivers down along busy commercial corridors. Transit planners say speed is the leading cause of The City’s traffic collisions.

The agency has been able to make these changes because of a new state law that went into effect this year.

The board previously approved speed reduction for seven commercial corridors as part of the effort’s first phase. SFBay was present earlier this month when crews installed new speed limit signage along Ocean Avenue.

The second phase will target speed limits in the following corridors:

  • Balboa Street between 3rd Avenue and 7th Avenue
  • Stockton Street between Market Street and Bush Street
  • Noriega Street between 19th Avenue and 27th Avenue
  • Noriega Street between 30th Avenue and 33rd Avenue
  • Divisadero Street between Pine Street and O’Farrell Street
  • Divisadero Street between Golden Gate Avenue and Haight Street
  • Market Street between Castro Street and Octavia Street
  • West Portal Avenue between 15th Avenue and Ulloa Street
  • Castro Street between Market Street and 19th Street
  • Mission Street between Cortland Street and 14th Street
  • Third Street between Williams Avenue and Evans Avenue
  • Geneva Avenue between Gloria Court and Paris Street

Supervisor Gordon Mar, who represents the Sunset District where the Noriega Street reductions will be implemented, expressed support for the changes in a letter to the SFMTA board. He also hopes Taraval and Irving streets make the list in future phases.

Mar wrote:

“Slowing vehicles saves lives. Studies consistently show the risk of death for a pedestrian struck by vehicle increases exponentially with vehicle speed, with those increases becoming significantly deadlier above 20 miles per hour and disproportionately impacting seniors.”

Ryan Reeves, a senior transportation planner with the SFMTA, said the board will consider additional intersections in June. 

Reeves said the agency will begin installing new signage for second-phase corridors over the summer, with completion expected within 18 months. About another 50 locations are eligible for speed reduction in the project’s third phase.

Project funding has so far come from local sources, including Proposition K transportation sales tax. The agency estimates cost of future phases to run between $5 million and $6 million over the next three years, which would cover new signage and traffic calming measures, as well as education and outreach campaigns.

Staff also recommends expansion of a pilot program that restricts vehicles from making right turns on red lights into commercial corridors with reduced speed limits, according to Reeves.

The pilot program launched last fall at more than 50 Tenderloin intersections. The agency’s summary of results reflected a reduction of close calls between pedestrians and vehicles, and a 70 percent decline in vehicles blocking crosswalks on red lights.

The agency also reported a 92 percent compliance rate for motorists adhering to turn restrictions in the pilot area.

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