Home > General Plan > Transportation Element
The Plan for Transportation is composed
of several sections, each of which deals with an important component of
the local and regional transportation system. The plan sections are (1)
General, (2) Regional Transportation, (3) Congestion Management, (4) Vehicle
Circulation, (5) Transit (6) Pedestrians, (7) Bicycles, (8) Citywide Parking
and (9) Goods Movement. Each consists of objectives and policies regarding
a particular segment of the master transportation system and related maps
which describe key physical aspects. Since these various travel systems
often parallel each other, they must be read together to understand their
functions and characteristics. Each must also be understood in relation
to the other elements of the Master Plan of the city.
Within each of the nine plan sections
are general objectives, which express desirable goals, and policies that
prescribe steps toward achieving these goals. They may not always be entirely
compatible. For instance, it may not be possible to satisfy all travel
needs in the most convenient manner and at the same time maintain a transportation
system which preserves and promotes a desirable living and working environment,
supports development in the right locations, and is financially feasible
for the City to implement. Each specific policy in the separate plan sections
might well be seen as a compromise among these overall objectives and
policies, based on weighing the advantages, disadvantages and costs of
In establishing the Objectives and Policies,
certain Fundamental Assumptions of the nature of transportation are made.
In addition, this Element examines and considers the History of Transportation
in San Francisco, and establishes the basis from which these policies
and objectives sere developed. A separate document, the Implementation
Program of the Transportation Element, serves as a set of guidelines that
link these Objectives and Policies to the programming of funds for implementing
The provision of transportation services
is a complicated and vital function in urban society. The very shape of
the central city and outlying communities is formed by the forces of transportation.
Clearly, one of the most difficult challenges for any metropolitan area
is to accommodate the transportation needs of its population while maintaining
and enhancing the city and region as a desirable place to live and work.
On the other hand, some of the most fundamental problems contributing
to the deterioration of the quality of life in an urban area -- air pollution,
traffic congestion, suburban sprawl, visual blight, depletion of natural
resources -- are caused by the inadequate and inefficient provision of
transportation services, particularly in relation to the use of adjacent
The setting of the San Francisco Bay Area
-- the bay, the ocean, the mountains, the three large city centers and
the other communities along the bay and the inland valleys -- is a fundamental
part of its celebrated quality of life. These same characteristics make
the challenge of improving the transportation network particularly complex.
The water and hills are obstacles for conventional transportation systems,
albeit beautiful ones. The flow of the region's automobile traffic is
immune to the political boundaries between San Francisco, Oakland and
San Jose, and, increasingly, has neither origin nor destination in these
three cities. As open, developable land grows scarce and the central area
of the region matures, the impacts of accommodating the movement of people
and goods throughout the Bay Area become more significant, particularly
in the areas adjacent to transportation infrastructure, and the welfare
of a community -- or a neighborhood within a community -- may be pitted
against the good of the entire region.
The high costs of investments in any component
of a transportation system -- transit, highways, streets, sidewalks, bicycle
facilities, freight movement -- underscore the need for comprehensive
planning. The interrelationships of different components must be studied,
the surrounding land use must support the investment, and the needs of
the locality and the entire region must be considered. If the Bay Area's
future transportation system is to be successful, it must be managed and
developed with creativity, responsiveness to current and future trends,
sensitivity to the land use and environment it serves, and cooperation
and coordination on both a local and regional scale.
The accommodation of automobile traffic
in San Francisco has long been a controversial issue. The automobile provides
access to the City from even the most remote regions of the Bay Area,
and is relied upon by many as a means of getting to and around the City.
Many efforts in the past have been undertaken to facilitate the movement
and accessibility of the automobile, such as the construction of freeways,
parking lots and garages, the widening of streets, the narrowing of sidewalks,
and the related condemnation of private property. While these undertakings
have resulted in its unprecedented convenience and popularity, the operation
of an automobile in the city remains constrained by traffic congestion,
parking scarcities and a 19th-Century street network that was not laid
out for cars and still poses many challenges to through traffic movement.
The efforts to accommodate the automobile
have had pronounced repercussions on other aspects of city life. Elevated
freeways block views, divide neighborhoods, consume valuable city land
and blight adjacent properties. Off-street parking facilities increase
building costs, which in turn are transferred to costs of housing and
doing business. As a land use, off-street parking facilities compete with
and displace land uses that provide greater social and economic benefit
to the city. Widened streets, numerous curb cuts and narrowed sidewalks
come at the expense of the safety and comfort of the pedestrian. Displacement
of housing and small businesses upsets the delicate neighborhood scale
and economies that help make the city unique, attractive and livable.
The investments already made in accommodating
the automobile seem to trigger the demand for more, but the rise in automobile
use and ownership tests the ability of the city's transportation system
to further adapt and function. The single-occupant automobile produces
more air pollution and uses land and natural resources more inefficiently
than any other of San Francisco's transportation modes. These environmental
costs become more prohibitive as the volume of automobile traffic increases.
With congestion comes slower travel times, less productivity and mounting
frustration for drivers -- as well as for transit riders, pedestrians
and bicyclists -- not to mention worsened air quality and more wasteful
consumption of resources.
A basic assumption of the Transportation
Element is that a desirable living environment and a prosperous business
environment cannot be maintained if traffic levels continue to increase
in any significant way. A balance must be restored to the city's transportation
system, and various methods must be used to control and reshape the impact
of automobiles on the city. These include improving and promoting public
transit, ridesharing, bicycling and walking as alternatives to the single-occupant
automobile; limiting the city's parking capacity, especially long-term
parking in commercial areas; directing major traffic movements to certain
routes; and limiting the vehicular capacity of the city's streets and
Finally, the city must accept a certain
level of congestion as inevitable. While it is an undeniable problem,
congestion is also an indication that a community has such strong attractions
that people are drawn to it in spite of the problem. Congestion is also
a means of controlling traffic growth: it ultimately regulates itself.
The goal of a balanced transportation system is to minimize congestion
while providing attractive alternatives for those who, in consideration
of cost, ability, convenience and/or personal preference, choose not to
drive automobiles in San Francisco.
A balanced, multi-modal transportation
system, including public transit, ridesharing, automobiles, bicycles and
pedestrians, is necessary not only for a high quality of life, but also
to maintain the economic well-being of the community. Without this balance,
the congestion, pollution and scale of development oriented to the automobile
instead of human beings would take their toll on the viability and renowned
character of San Francisco's commercial and residential districts. They
could also result in the penalties that may be assessed by regional governmental
agencies such as the Air Quality District when these conditions are not
brought into compliance with established standards.
In this respect, San Francisco's traditional
reliance on walking, public transportation and other modes for both work
and non-work trips has paid off. San Francisco has a considerable and
comprehensive variety of transportation alternatives, and commercial and
residential districts well-known for their attractiveness and agreeable,
walkable character. The amount of land and resources that are devoted
to accommodating the automobile is much lower than in other communities
in California, allowing for a downtown whose accessibility, compactness
and efficiency of land uses and services contribute greatly to its market
In 1992, surveys of automobile and transit
use in San Francisco showed the city, unique among all other cities in
the Bay Area, was in compliance with the standards set by the Air Quality
District for 1999. Therefore, the District determined that San Francisco
did not need to develop either a trip reduction ordinance or additional
employer programs to reduce automobile commuting, saving the city and
its large employers from costs and penalties that would have otherwise
applied. The air quality in San Francisco and the nine-county Bay Area
has been maintained above all applicable federal standards of pollutants,
such that in 1995 the Bay Area became the only large metropolitan area
in California to be designated as an Attainment Region by the Environmental
Protection Agency. This designation removes the threat of relevant federal
sanctions in San Francisco and the Bay Area, removes administrative burdens
on its industries, and relieves them from imposition of more extreme emission
The long-standing transportation policies
of San Francisco must be reviewed and updated as the city continues to
be shaped by technology, economics, demography and natural forces. Nevertheless,
these policies have served the city well, and helped position the city
and region as a model for other metropolitan areas to emulate. Clearly,
the future of the high quality of life and strong market appeal of doing
business in San Francisco depends on the success of maintaining and enhancing
its balanced, multi-modal transportation system.
The development of early San Francisco
was strongly influenced by geography. Constrained by the bay, ocean and
hills, the city had a limited capacity for expansion. It grew from the
northeast waterfront west toward the Presidio and south to Mission Dolores.
Public omnibus service was introduced in 1852, followed by horse-drawn
cars. The cable car was invented in 1873 to climb the downtown hills,
and the first streetcar began operation in 1890. An efficient system of
ferries connected San Francisco to Oakland and the continental railway
across the bay. Due in part to the city's small size, the geographic constraints,
and to the rapid increase in population in the last decades of the nineteenth
century, San Francisco became "built out" very quickly in comparison
with most other cities on the West Coast.
In the period of downtown reconstruction
after the 1906 earthquake, the outer areas of San Francisco developed
rapidly. The construction of the Stockton Street, Twin Peaks and Sunset
streetcar tunnels between 1914 and 1927 opened areas for development that
had been constrained by topography. Regional transportation connections
to San Francisco were improved as the Southern Pacific Railroad Bayshore
bypass (1908) skirted San Bruno Mountain for quicker access to the Peninsula,
and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (1936) and the Golden Gate Bridge
(1937) linked the city to the East and North Bay. The Bay Bridge accommodated
auto traffic as well as the Key System interurban trains that ran on the
lower level of the bridge between San Francisco's Transbay Terminal and
the East Bay, but the opening of these bridges ultimately encouraged the
use of the automobile. The automobile's new popularity led to the demise
of the ferry operations and later, the Key trains themselves.
The automobile soon became the dominant
means of transportation in San Francisco and the Bay Area. The construction
of the Bayshore and other highways, the bridges and tunnels brought a
much wider range of communities throughout the Bay Area within commuting
distance to San Francisco. The automobile also facilitated the development
of outlying portions of the city that were not accessible to, or well-served
by, the existing public transit network, such as Twin Peaks and Diamond
Heights. However, most of the city's streets had been designed for street
and cable car railways, not the automobile. Burdening the street system
resulted in parking shortages and growing congestion.
The popularity of the automobile also
contributed to the decentralization of the Bay Area. San Francisco's 1948
Trafficways Plan proposed an elaborate network of eight freeways crossing
San Francisco and a second bridge parallel to the Bay Bridge to close
the gaps in the regional highway system and to respond to growing traffic
congestion, which was most severe in the inner cities. Many of the traditional
city centers in the Bay Area, such as Oakland and San Jose, experienced
severe decentralization as regional shopping centers and new office and
industrial parks were developed in suburban communities, and San Francisco's
pre-eminence as the region's employment and retail center diminished significantly.
As these development trends were spurred by the automobile rather than
transit, the automobile soon became the primary means of commuting in
the region. This in turn spurred more decentralization and the decline
of public transit ridership.
City residents and politicians protested
the proposed 1948 Trafficways Plan, fearing that it would destroy the
city's livability and character. This response, known as the "Freeway
Revolt", led to the deletion of the Western, Park Presidio and Crosstown
freeways and, in 1959, the suspension in mid-construction of both the
Embarcadero and Central Freeways. The ugliness and intrusiveness of these
freeways, and the increased automobile traffic they attracted, encouraged
the Board of Supervisors to further reject new alternatives in 1966 for
cross-town freeway connections, permitting only the construction of the
Southern Freeway (I-280).
Instead of relying on freeways to meet
its transportation needs, the city sought to place greater emphasis on
mass transportation. In 1973, the San Francisco City Planning Commission
and Board of Supervisors adopted the "Transit First Policy",
giving top priority to public transit investments as the centerpiece of
the city's transportation policy and adopting street capacity and parking
policies to discourage increases in automobile traffic. This policy encourages multi-modalism, including the use of transit and other transportation choices, including bicycling and walking, rather than the continued use of the single-occupant vehicle.
Regional and local mass transit diversified
and expanded during the 1970's and 1980's. Proposed in 1957, the Bay Area
Rapid Transit System (BART) began East Bay and West Bay service in 1972-3,
and transbay service in 1974. Commuter ferry service was reinstated between
Marin County and San Francisco in 1970. The Golden Gate Bridge Highway
and Transit District and SamTrans took over and expanded the Greyhound
commuter bus operations in the North Bay (1972) and on the Peninsula (1974),
respectively. In 1980, the California Department of Transportation took
over the Southern Pacific commuter rail service on the Peninsula (and
renamed it CalTrain), and in 1992 the operation of CalTrain was assumed
by a Joint Powers Board representing San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa
Clara Counties. The San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) upgraded its
surface streetcar operation to a surface and subway light-rail network
in 1979. By the time of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, public transportation
in San Francisco was a diverse, though not seamlessly coordinated, system
of regional and local bus service, electric trolley buses, ferries, commuter
trains, heavy and light rail transit, and cable cars. After decades of
poor coordination and large service gaps between different transit systems,
great strides were made in linking and facilitating transfers between
local and regional transit services. Muni and BART introduced the "Fast
Pass" allowing unlimited trips and free transfers between the two
systems for trips made in San Francisco during one month. Plans were drawn
for the Muni Metro extension to Mission Bay, connecting CalTrain to Muni
Metro and BART, and for the F-line connection between BART/Muni Metro,
Upper Market, the Northern Waterfront, the Transbay Terminal and the Ferry
Nevertheless, decentralization of the
Bay Area continued, making it difficult for mass transit to meet the needs
of residents and commuters traveling to the outlying, suburban parts of
the region. Manufacturing continued to diminish in importance as a sector
of San Francisco's economy, which was becoming more dominated by such
office sectors as finance, administration and service. Much of the growth
in the industrial and manufacturing sectors of the Bay Area's economy
occurred in the East and South Bay. The Port of Oakland, already at an
advantage because of its proximity to multiple railheads and servers,
assumed a greater share of the Bay Area's waterfront traffic after it
had adapted to cargo containerization, and the Port of San Francisco's
Belt Line Railroad became obsolete and was eventually dismantled.
Due to the damage from the 1989 earthquake,
the Embarcadero Freeway, the Terminal Separator Structure, and portions
of the Central Freeway were razed. The city has taken official positions
not to replace these structures, deferring to both the legacy of the Freeway
Revolt and the "Transit First" policy. Twenty years after the
policy was adopted, its implementation appears to be a success: nearly
all of the substantial growth in commuter travel to and from the Financial
District since 1970 has been accommodated on transit. The aftermath of
the earthquake, particularly the temporary closure of the Bay Bridge,
renewed a reliance on public transportation. New ferry service to the
East Bay and expanded BART and CalTrain service continue to attract riders
well after the bridge was reopened.
The Transbay Terminal was damaged by the
Loma Prieta earthquake but ultimately returned to service. With growing
transit use, a joint decision was made to construct a new Transbay Terminal
on the existing Transbay Terminal site. It will serve as the terminus
for Transbay bus service, for the CalTrain once it is extended from its
current terminus at 4th and King Streets, for several Muni lines, and
for other regional transit providers. The station would also be located
a short distance from ferry service providers, the city's bus and metro
routes, BART, and other regional carriers. It would be designed to accommodate
pedestrians and bicyclists. If high-speed rail is constructed between
northern and southern California, the Transbay Terminal will also serve
as San Francisco's terminal.
The benefits of San Francisco's investment
in alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle extend beyond its relatively
clean air and stabilized traffic congestion. The high transit modal split
fostered over the twenty years by official city policy positioned San
Francisco, unique among California cities in 1993, in compliance with
the requirement of the State Clean Air Act to initiate a Trip Reduction
Ordinance, thereby exempting many of the city's employers from burdensome
San Francisco's tradition of promoting
alternatives to the automobile serves the city well in light of the passage
of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act in 1991. This
Act signaled the federal government's new emphasis on funding transportation
projects with a multi-modal emphasis.
These and other recent, fundamental changes in the objectives and means
of planning transportation at all levels of government provide an unprecedented
opportunity for the City of San Francisco and the Bay Area. This Transportation
Element establishes the following objectives and policies in recognition
of this opportunity and the importance of managing transportation in the
preservation and enhancement of the Bay Area's high quality of life.
MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL RESIDENTS AND VISITORS FOR SAFE, CONVENIENT AND
INEXPENSIVE TRAVEL WITHIN SAN FRANCISCO AND BETWEEN THE CITY AND OTHER
PARTS OF THE REGION WHILE MAINTAINING THE HIGH QUALITY LIVING ENVIRONMENT
OF THE BAY AREA.
The city's first responsibility in the
planning and operation of its transportation system is to provide the
mobility necessary to its residents in pursuing a wide range of opportunities
for work, education, recreation and contact with others. The city must
also provide for the many persons who come to San Francisco for work and
pleasure and who contribute to the life of San Francisco.
Residents and visitors present a formidable
array of demands for transportation services and facilities. Since all
transportation facilities must by their nature be shared, at least in
part, the transportation system can meet individual and special needs
only to a limited extent. A balance must be struck between the ultimate
goal of providing convenient travel for all people to their desired destinations
and the monetary and environmental costs that such a transportation system
Involve citizens in planning and developing transportation facilities
and services, and in further defining objectives and policies as they
relate to district plans and specific projects.
Citizen involvement in all planning is
essential. At least three different levels of citizen participation can
be recognized in transportation planning. First, citywide participation
is required for decisions on citywide problems, policies, and facilities.
Almost all major improvements have citywide implications and should be
subject to citywide, perhaps regional, discussion and debate. Members
of community groups as well as advocacy groups representing relevant issues
and viewpoints should be included. Second, most citywide facilities have
some special impact on a particular part of the city, and therefore affect
the residents and businesses in that area. Residents should participate
actively in the specific design of these facilities, even though some
of the basic decisions have been made on a citywide basis. Third, some
improvements and changes have only very localized impacts and, in such
cases, the owners and residents of the affected properties should be directly
involved in planning decisions.
Ensure the safety and comfort of pedestrians throughout the city.
Safety is a concern in the development
and accommodation of any part of the transportation system, but safety
for pedestrians (which includes disabled persons in wheelchairs and other
ambulatory devices) should be given priority where conflicts exist with
other modes of transportation. Even when the bulk of a trip is by transit,
automobile or bicycle, at one point or another nearly every person traveling
in San Francisco is a pedestrian.
Give priority to public transit and other alternatives to the private
automobile as the means of meeting San Francisco's transportation needs,
particularly those of commuters.
In order to maintain a desirable living
and business environment in San Francisco, the use of mass transit, ridesharing,
walking and bicycling must assume a high priority to ensure mobility for
commuters and residents alike. Mobility is ideally provided by a well-connected,
multimodal system, but where a choice must be made to either provide public
transit or accommodate the private automobile, public transit should receive
the priority, consistent with the city's Transit First policy.
Increase the capacity of transit during the off-peak hours.
The capacity of the city's transportation
system can be used more efficiently by spreading work trip arrival and
departure times over a longer period. This could be achieved by such administrative
devices as staggering work hours, encouraging shoppers and visitors not
to travel during peak hours, altering school hours, and implementing differential
bridge tolls. For the streets and highway system, this could mean less
congestion, less automobile emissions and a diminished necessity for high
capacity freeways. However, the frequency of service and the capacity
of the city and regional transit systems must be increased in these off-peak
hours if transit is expected to be a primary means of travel in and around
Coordinate regional and local transportation systems and provide for interline
Transportation facilities are interdependent,
and efforts should be made to ensure an efficient system by coordination
of local and regional efforts. The regional and local transit systems
must be closely linked to provide for transfers. Similarly, regional highways
and freeways must be integrated with the local street system. Costly mistakes
and service redundancies can be avoided by advance planning and agreement
among the many agencies involved in transportation planning affecting
San Francisco and the Bay Area.
All transit operators should provide free
transfers between routes for travel within the city, although fare increments
are justified for travel outside the city. A transfer arrangement should
be made among BART, AC Transit, the ferries and Muni and other systems
to allow for trips outside the region at a reasonable incremental cost.
To further enhance coordination, bicycles should be accommodated on all
regional public transportation systems.
POLICY 1. 6
Ensure choices among modes of travel and accommodate each mode when and
where it is most appropriate.
San Francisco and the Bay Area have various
means of travel: automobile, bus, streetcar, walking, taxi, cable car,
ferry, railroad, BART and bicycling Flying is occasionally used as a means
of intra-regional travel. Each mode of travel has special advantages or
disadvantages for certain types of trips and for certain origins and destinations.
The least costly or most convenient means to satisfy travel demand is
not necessarily the best investment in the context of comprehensive planning:
cost or convenience must usually be balanced against effects on the environment
and impact on land use and development patterns. However, it should be remembered that some modes such as walking and bicycling can be utilized on many streets with minimal environmental and land use impact.
The following conditions listed under
each mode choice are not mutually exclusive, and may apply to more than
one travel mode, especially when the modes are compatible with each other:
Mass transit should be given priority
for the following kinds of trips and/or in the described areas:
- For work trips generally within and to San Francisco,
and to other densely developed parts of the region, especially to all
major employment centers.
- For intercity trips between core areas of major
cities and for travel to core areas in general.
- For trips occurring generally during periods of
high travel demands.
- Where demand for travel between any two or more
relatively compact or densely developed areas is high.
- In areas and around institutions where large numbers
of people with limited means or low automobile ownership reside or arrive
at a destination.
- Where travel demand exceeds the capacity of an area
to absorb more vehicular traffic without substantial environmental damage
or where further capacity for automobile movement or storage is very
- Where required or useful to stimulate development.
- For trips to major recreation areas and to sports,
cultural and other heavily attended events.
- For trips to neighborhood commercial districts,
especially those that do not contain many automobile-oriented uses.
Automobiles should be accommodated for making the following
kinds of trips and/or in the described areas:
- For trips occurring when and where transit is not
well-suited for the purpose, such as shopping for oversized or bulk
items (as an alternative, retail delivery services should be encouraged.)
- For intra-regional trips outside the major cities
and for intercity trips between non-core areas of the major cities.
- Where business travel requires the use of an automobile
for short-term and intermittent trips.
- On streets having the capacity to absorb additional
vehicular traffic as an alternative to freeway construction without
substantial environmental damage or conflict with land uses.
Walking should be given priority for the following
kinds of trips and/or in the specified areas:
- In parks, on trails and in other recreational areas,
and where the enjoyment of slow movement and the preservation of the
natural environment would be severely compromised by automobile traffic.
- For work trips generally within San Francisco, especially
the downtown area.
- Where concentration of activity is high, particularly
where streets are narrow and the intervening distances are short, that
more convenient access among interrelated activities may be achieved
by walking or limited distance people-movers than by other modes.
- In areas and around institutions where large numbers
of people with limited means or low automobile ownership reside or arrive
as a destination.
- Where travel demand exceeds the capacity of an area
to absorb more vehicular traffic without substantial environmental damage
or where further capacity for automobile movement or storage is very
- In neighborhood commercial districts, and where
cultural and recreational facilities are clustered.
- Surrounding transit centers and along transit
preferential streets, where the facilitation of pedestrian traffic is
necessary to successful and safe transit operation.
Bicycling should be given priority for the following
kinds of trips and/or in the specified areas:
- In parks, on trails, on roads of particular scenic
beauty, and in other recreational areas, and where the enjoyment of
slow movement and the preservation of the natural environment would
be severely compromised by automobile traffic.
- For work trips generally within San Francisco, especially
the downtown and other dense areas, especially where automobile parking
- Where concentration of activity is high, particularly
where streets are narrow and the intervening distances are short, that
more convenient access among interrelated activities may be achieved
- Where large numbers of people with limited means
or low automobile ownership reside or arrive as a destination.
- In neighborhood commercial districts, and where
cultural and recreational facilites are clustered.
- For trips to sports, cultural and other heavily
- As a connector to and from transit, especially regional
- Along the alignment of the regional Bay Trail network,
linking shoreline recreational destinations.
Taxis, water taxis, paratransit services and shuttles
should be accommodated for the following kinds of trips and/or in the
- Where there are concentrations of off-peak, nighttime
commercial, recreational and cultural activity, particularly where that
activity attracts a large proportion of tourists and is within a 5-minute
taxi ride from Downtown.
- Shopping trips where the volume of purchased goods
would make the use of public transit inconvenient or difficult.
- In residential areas, or near facilities and institutions
where the facilitation of door-to-door trips is an absolute priority.
- Adjacent to regional transit connection points.
- Where the mode, such as a water taxi, affords a
trip of special scenic quality.
Freight carriers and delivery vehicles should be accommodated
for making the following kinds of trips and/or in the described areas:
- Where there are concentrations of industrial and
manufacturing facilities that depend on the processing, delivery and/or
shipment of large quantities of goods and freight.
- For the bulk movement of refuse and other materials
which would become a nuisance and health hazard if stored or accumulated
- For the loading and unloading of goods and freight
at retail and commercial establishments.
- At the transfer points where bulk equipment, goods
and freight exchange modes of travel, such as where land and water freight
- Along rail or truck routes specifically needed to
accommodate the movement, both local and inter-regional, of the activities
- In areas suited for the storage of bulk equipment,
goods and freight.
Assure expanded mobility for the disadvantaged.
Expansion of opportunities for the poor and the underemployed
for work, education and recreation depend to a large extent on the adequacy
of the transportation system in serving their needs and on the cost of
travel to them. The transportation system should be used in part as a
tool for improving the situation of less advantaged residents by providing
inexpensive and convenient service to areas of growing employment, as
well as to educational institutions, medical services and recreation facilities.
Develop a flexible financing system for transportation in which funds
may be allocated according to priorities and established policies without
Flexibility in allocating funds is necessary for the
maintenance and development of a multi-modal transportation system that
is responsive to changing travel demands. Taxes and funds should not be
restricted to a specific mode or type of improvement for long periods
of time, as long as the re-allocations are consistent with the long-term
goal of improving transportation. Financing should be available to all
agencies that are concerned with transportation.
Develop a multi-modal emergency transportation plan for the city and encourage
the development of complementary plans in the private and public sector,
to provide for movement to and from emergency and health facilities from
all areas of the city, and to and from the city and other Bay Area communities.
A system accommodating automobiles, surface transit,
ferries and other water traffic, emergency aircraft, bicyclists and pedestrians,
should be identified to ensure mobility and evacuation in face of a comprehensive
variety of natural and man-made catastrophes. The extent of multi-modalism
should reflect the possible scarcity of energy and fuel, and the potential
disruption to existing infrastructure and rights-of-way.
USE THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM AS A MEANS FOR GUIDING DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVING
The use of a transportation system to guide the development
and improvement of the city and the region is the necessary counterpart
to its function in providing mobility for residents. The transportation
system should be used to ensure more than the mobility of the people and
goods it serves, it must also ensure the preservation or creation of desired
activities and facilities for all sectors of the city's population and
economy. The modes of transportation used, as well as the location of
routes and design of the system, have a large influence on development
patterns and the quality of the overall environment. Conversely, the use
of land should support the function of the adjacent transportation facilities.
Decisions concerning the location of large retail and employment centers,
high-density housing and other projects that generate high volumes of
traffic and transit ridership, should consider the impacts on the local
and regional transportation system. This relationship between transportation
and land use must be recognized in order to facilitate desirable change
and to preserve what is good.
Use rapid transit and other transportation improvements in the city and
region as the catalyst for desirable development, and coordinate new facilities
with public and private development.
The development of an extensive network of rapid rail
transit linking the major centers of the region is required if a regional,
city-centered plan is to be achieved. Care must be taken to locate transit
routes and development so that the transit system itself will encourage
more intensive growth in both newly-planned and existing communities.
Highways should also be located and designed to avoid encouraging scattered,
unplanned patterns of growth that are not accessible by transit. Public
and private improvements and developments should be coordinated with transportation
projects in advance to ensure that advantage is taken of the opportunities
afforded. Development should be regulated, however, so that it will be
compatible with the policies of the Master Plan.
Reduce pollution, noise and energy consumption.
Bicycling and walking, the quietest, cleanest and most
energy-efficient forms of transportation, should be promoted whenever
possible. Gasoline- and diesel-powered automobiles and buses pollute the
air, generate substantial noise and consume fossil fuel, in comparison
with electric vehicles. The city has long been committed to transit powered
by electricity, and this commitment has maintained a high level of environmental
quality. Future city programming should work toward noise abatement ordinances
and other noise control actions, both by administrative and operational
means. For instance, where it is not feasible to use the existing electric
transit vehicles, diesel buses should be replaced by quieter and less
polluting transit vehicles. Another example is the placement of stop signs
in relation to topography to avoid substantial noise caused by acceleration
Design and locate facilities to preserve the historic city fabric and
the natural landscape, and to protect views.
Care must be taken to ensure that street and transit
improvements are made to enhance the beauty and delicate fabric of the
city and to protect views of the city, the bay, the ocean and the hills.
Organize the transportation system to reinforce community identity, improve
linkages among interrelated activities and provide focus for community
The manner in which the transportation system is organized
may contribute to or undermine social and environmental stability. Through
traffic routes should not split neighborhoods or pose insurmountable barriers
to movement among them. Street design and location of automobile and bicycle
parking should contribute to the establishment of pedestrian-oriented
neighborhood centers where residents may congregate. Major transit and
bicycle routes and specific transit feeder systems should be located to
provide good access to and from neighborhood centers for nearby residents.
Freight routes should have convenient access to industrial areas and to
regional highway and rail systems, and should be designated to avoid conflicts
with other types of traffic -- pedestrian, bicycle, commuter -- in the
interest of safety and livability.
Provide incentives for the use of transit, carpools, vanpools, walking
and bicycling and reduce the need for new or expanded automobile and automobile
Actions which make transit more convenient, economical
and reliable should continue to be a high priority in San Francisco. For
those work trips which cannot conveniently be made by transit or bicycle,
carpooling provides efficient use of private vehicles and should be encouraged.
Bicycling and walking should also be considered as important and appropriate
modes of commuting. Transit fare subsidies, cash-out parking programs
where parking is subsidized, transit fare discounts in place of parking
validations and the provision of secure bicycle parking and shower facilities
encourage the use of alternatives to the private automobile.
In conversion and re-use of inactive military bases, provide for a balanced,
multi-modal transportation system that is consistent with and complementary
to the planned land use and the local and regional transportation system.
The new land uses planned for inactive military
bases must be examined to ensure that the transportation demands will
be met. These demands must be considered on a local, citywide and regional
scale in accordance with the scale of the proposed development and land
uses. Any modifications to the existing transportation system serving
the area should reflect the objectives and policies of this Element and
other elements of the Master Plan.
MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE SAN FRANCISCO'S POSITION AS A REGIONAL DESTINATION
WITHOUT INDUCING A GREATER VOLUME OF THROUGH AUTOMOBILE TRAFFIC.
1 - Regional Freeway
The existing capacity of the bridges, highways and freeways entering the
city should not be increased for single-occupant vehicles, and should
be reduced where possible. Changes, retrofits or replacements to existing
bridges and highways should include dedicated priority for high-occupancy
vehicles and transit, and all bridges should feature access for bicyclist
Much of the existing street infrastructure and parking
facilities within San Francisco are at capacity and cannot accommodate
significant increases in automobile traffic. Managing the future transportation
demand requires a balancing of travel modes, including a greater emphasis
on public transit, ride-sharing, and other alternatives to single-occupancy
vehicles. Congestion pricing on key freeways and bridges should be implemented
to help achieve this end.
New elevated and surface freeways should bypass or terminate outside San
Francisco, rather than pass through the city.
The space requirements, the questionable seismic soundness
and the physically divisive effects of such freeway structures create
significant problems in the city. Connections to any such freeway structures
that are built outside the city should be made with at-grade arterials
that are better integrated within the existing urban street system.
Develop and maintain an efficient system of arterials and thoroughfares
to distribute traffic from regional freeways within and through San Francisco's
street grid in conjunction with the Bay Region's nine-county Metropolitan
Transportation System (MTS).
Unlike many of the Bay Area's newer arterials, many
of San Francisco's streets designated for this function were originally
designed as residential streets. Measures to calm traffic may be needed
on some of these streets where traffic from the freeways travels at speeds
that are dangerous and unsuited to the streets' residential function.
Landscaping sidewalks and median strips, using sound-insulation materials
on adjacent buildings and other buffering measures should be taken along
these streets to mitigate the negative impacts of traffic.
Promote I-880, I-80 (East Bay), 101 (North of San Rafael), I-580, I-680
and I-5 as the principal freeways for through automobile traffic and freight
truck traffic in the Bay Area and the state.
A few regional freeway segments in the city, such as
101/280 to the Bay Bridge and 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge, are necessary
connections to the regional and state freeway system for residents of
San Francisco and the northern parts of the Peninsula. However, these
segments are often at capacity and cannot accommodate through traffic
from a wider region as efficiently as the larger suburban freeway network.
MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE SAN FRANCISCO'S POSITION AS THE HUB OF A REGIONAL,
CITY-CENTERED TRANSIT SYSTEM.
- Regional Transit Network
Rapid transit lines from all outlying corridors should lead to stations
and terminals that are adjacent or connected to each other in downtown
No other city in the Bay Area is served with such a
comprehensive, region-wide transit system. Transit riders traveling from
one end of the region to the other often must make transfers in San Francisco,
and would benefit from having transit terminals and stations located close
together. Whenever possible, a regional transit corridor should continue
through rather than terminate within downtown San Francisco in order to
speed through trips and minimize the space needs for turnback and layover
facilities in the downtown area.
Increase transit ridership capacity in all congested regional corridors.
Making transit an attractive alternative to the automobile
is difficult in suburbs that were developed primarily for automobile access.
Increasing the frequency and capacity of regional transit service makes
transit more convenient, and is more cost-effective when automobile congestion
provides its own incentive for riding public transit.
Where significant transit service is provided, bridges and freeways should
have priority transit treatment, such as exclusive transit lanes.
Allowing transit to operate more freely in traffic,
especially on freeways and bridges that are subject to traffic congestion,
helps make them a more visible and desirable alternative to the automobile.
Integrate future rail transit extensions to, from, and within the city
as technology permits so that they are compatible with and immediately
accessible to existing BART, CalTrain or Muni rail lines.
Integration includes the physical transit facilities
as well as the fare structure. Since a forced transfer from one transit
system to another can be a significant deterrent to using transit, the
greatest efforts should be made to make the transfer as convenient and
uncomplicated as possible.
Provide convenient transit service that connects the regional transit
network to major employment centers outside the downtown area.
Many people from outside San Francisco commute to places
of work in San Francisco away from downtown. In addition, many San Franciscans
commute to places of employment outside downtown or outside the city.
While many take transit and rely on connections between local and regional
transit, many drive and contribute to peak-hour traffic congestion. Improving
the frequency, capacity and operating speed of local transit service from
regional transit connections to large employment centers outside downtown
will help make transit an attractive alternative to driving. Locating
these large employment centers adjacent to high-capacity transit service
is equally as important.
Facilitate transfers between different transit modes and services by establishing
simplified and coordinated fares and schedules, employing design
and technology features to make transferring more convenient, and increasing
accommodation of bicycles on transit.
Examples include providing links between transit platforms
so that connections can be made directly, with a minimum of walking and
entry/exit of fare areas. Monitors that announce arrivals, departures
and the progress of transit vehicles and orientation maps should be installed
to ease the uncertainty and anxiety of waiting passengers. Expanded peak
hour bicycle capacity and reduced peak hour bicycle time restrictions
would encourage bicycling to and from transit at one or both ends of the
transit trip - an attractive choice to driving alone. This extends the
range and convenience of both the transit and the bicycle modes.
Expanded peak-hour bicycle capacity and reduced peak-hour bicycle time restrictions would encourage bicycling to and from transit at one or both ends of the transit trip – an attractive choice to driving alone. This extends the range and convenience of both the transit and the bicycle modes.
POLICY 4. 7
Locate outlying rapid transit stations close to the commercial and high-density
residential districts and employment centers of each community.
Many outlying rapid transit stations are located adjacent
to freeways and surrounded by large surface parking lots. This pattern
of development discourages transit use for those who live in the central
cities and come to the suburban areas to work, shop or visit. Locating
outlying stations within easy walking distance to the central core of
outlying towns makes transit a more viable means of arrival for more people,
reinforces the traditional commercial town centers and, by being located
in higher-density neighborhoods, also promotes commuting by transit to
other communities for suburban residents. Consolidating surface parking
into parking garages with other mixed-uses, accommodates automobile drivers
who transfer to rapid transit while allowing more efficient and pedestrian-accessible
use of land around the station.
Expand and coordinate the use of ferries, water taxis and other forms
of water-based transportation with each other and with landside transportation
in waterfront communities in San Francisco and across the bay, using San
Francisco's Ferry Building as the main transfer point.
Water transit schedules and fares should be coordinated
to accommodate riders making both local and regional trips. Water transit
service should be coordinated with landside transit operators as well.
The creation of a regional ferry consortium would provide a forum for
ferry operators to share information, facilities and resources and to
SUPPORT AND ENHANCE THE ROLE OF SAN FRANCISCO AS A MAJOR DESTINATION AND
DEPARTURE POINT FOR TRAVELERS MAKING INTERSTATE, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
Support and accommodate the expansion of San Francisco International Airport,
while balancing this expansion with the protection of the quality of life
in the communities that surround the Airport.
San Francisco International Airport is one of the world's
busiest airports and is of importance to a region extending far beyond
the boundaries of the Bay Area. Expansion is necessary for the airport
and the Bay Area to maintain its viability and function in the growing
Pacific Rim. Recognizing and balancing the airport's regional significance,
the livability of adjacent communities and the economic forces driving
airport expansion, a reduction of expansion impacts on the communities,
such as the improvement of public transportation services, should be encouraged.
Develop direct transit connections from downtown to the Airport that will
maximize convenience and minimize confusion for airport patrons.
The Airport is the port of entry for most tourists
and businesspeople. Visitors who may be unfamiliar with the region and
who have little free time seek convenience, simplicity and directness
in making the trip from the airport to Downtown. Walking distances, transfers
and waiting time should be kept to a minimum for airport patrons, who
are often fatigued from traveling and burdened with luggage.
Encourage the development of a high-speed water transit system from the
Airport to the Ferry Building and to Oakland Airport to improve the efficiency
and flexibility of the Airport's role in accommodating large numbers of
domestic and international air passengers.
Linking the Oakland and San Francisco airports with
a rapid shuttle system will enable travelers to use the two airports as
virtually a single facility and allow each more opportunity to specialize
in distinct travel markets, such as intrastate, domestic and international
flights. A link to the Ferry Building would provide travelers with direct
access to a broad network of transit options throughout the region.
Encourage the use of public transportation and improve its services between
the airport and all Bay Area communities, for airport employees as well
as air passengers.
With the expansion of new airport facilities comes
job growth and increased air passenger traffic. To minimize additional
pollution and congestion in the airport vicinity, extensive programs to
decrease the use of the private automobile for airport trips should be
implemented in connection with the expansion of the airport facilities.
Develop high-speed rail that links downtown San Francisco to major interstate
and national passenger rail corridors as the principle alternative to
interstate air travel, and as the primary means to relieve air traffic
The station should be integrated with the transit network
of the city and region. The Transbay Terminal should serve as the downtown
San Francisco station. Constructing the station at this location would
best serve San Francisco and the region, and take advantage of the infrastructure
created by the Caltrain extension downtown to the Transbay Terminal. The
Transbay Terminal will be a multi-modal facility and will include facilities
for bus, rail, and high speed rail systems, so that long-distance rail
passengers can transfer to local and regional transit.
Secure a berth for cruise ships in an attractive location, well-served
by public transportation, to enhance San Francisco as a recreational port
DEVELOP REGIONAL, MULTI-MODAL FACILITIES FOR THE EFFICIENT MOVEMENT OF
FREIGHT AND GOODS
Designate expeditious routes for freight trucks between industrial and
commercial areas and the regional and state freeway system to minimize
conflicts with automobile traffic and incompatibility with other land
It is very important to coordinate truck route and
Bicycle Route network planning. Trucks and bicycles should be routed to
separate street where possible. Trucks' greater width and length, obstructed
rear sight lines, large turning radius, and the tendency for rear wheels
to follow a smaller circle than front wheels all present special concerns
Upgrade and modernize port facilities and landside operations and support
transportation systems, responding to new technologies, to enhance the
commercial significance of the Port of San Francisco and other Bay Area
ports as a unified region competing with other ports on the West Coast.
Encourage the use of water transportation, such as freight ferries and
shuttles, to facilitate the region-wide movement of goods and cargo.
Freight ferries, which are used to move freight across
water between railheads and other waterfront intermodal freight facilities,
help bridge gaps in the region-wide freight movement network. Other forms
of water transportation, such as passenger ferries, may also be used to
shuttle goods across the bay.
Identify new freight rail corridors and enhance existing ones to improve
and shorten links between key freight distribution points in the city
and the main interstate railroads and to minimize conflicts with pedestrian,
street and passenger rail traffic.
The Dumbarton Bridge provides a shorter, more direct
rail link to the East Bay than a route through the South Bay, and should
maintain a freight rail function. Accommodating multiple rail servers
in the city, particularly to the waterfront, offers more opportunities
and better access for the movement of freight.
- Freight Rail Map
Develop the facilities and accessory transportation systems serving the
Airport to accommodate its growing role as a freight distribution center.
Facilitating intermodal transfers to air travel includes
the development of such support services as expanded small package and
container handling facilities for landside and ferry services, and the
reduction of congestion on freight traffic routes serving the airport.
DEVELOP A PARKING STRATEGY THAT ENCOURAGES SHORT-TERM PARKING AT THE PERIPHERY
OF DOWNTOWN AND LONG-TERM INTERCEPT PARKING AT THE PERIPHERY OF THE URBANIZED
BAY AREA TO MEET THE NEEDS OF LONG-DISTANCE COMMUTERS TRAVELING BY AUTOMOBILE
TO SAN FRANCISCO OR NEARBY DESTINATIONS.
Reserve a majority of the off-street parking spaces at the periphery of
downtown for short term parking.
Outlying transit terminals and adjacent commuter parking facilities of
the regional transit systems leading to San Francisco should be well-marked
and easily accessible from regional highways.
Maintain a supply of parking commensurate with demand at outlying intercept
parking facilities that have good connections to transit and ride-sharing
4 - Remote Parking
MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE REGIONAL PEDESTRIAN, HIKING AND BIKING ACCESS TO
THE COAST, THE BAY AND RIDGE TRAILS.
In addition to pedestrian continuity along all of these
trails, continuous bicycle access should be facilitated along the Bay
and Coast Trails, which are important regional recreational and touristic
Ensure that the Coast Trail, the Bay Trail and the Ridge Trail remain
uninterrupted and unobstructed where they pass through San Francisco.
5 - Regional Trails
Amend the area for Mission Bay to reflect the street
grid and bicycle path network of the Mission Bay North and Mission Bay
South Redevelopment Plans and Design for Development documents. Add the
boundary of the Mission Bay area with a line to text that states "See
Mission Bay North and Mission Bay South Redevelopment Plans".
Clearly identify the Citywide Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks where they
intersect with the Coast, Bay and Ridge Trails.
IMPROVE BICYCLE ACCESS TO SAN FRANCISCO FROM ALL OUTLYING CORRIDORS.
Accommodate bicycles on regional transit facilities and important regional transportation
links, such as the City's light rail vehicles, wherever and whenever practically feasible.
Many commuters to San Francisco work outside of downtown
and drive alone, contributing to peak hour congestion. If regional transit
expanded peak-hour bicycle capacity and reduced peak hour bicycle time
restrictions, these commuters could bicycle to and from transit at one
or both end of their transit trip - an attractive alternative to driving
alone. This would also reduce parking demand at BART and Caltrain stations,
ferry terminals, and park-and-ride lots.
Where bicycles are prohibited on roadway segments, provide parallel routes
accessible to bicycles or shuttle services that transport bicycles.
With the increase in complex commuting patterns created
by decentralization and reverse commuting in the Bay Area, such problems
as traffic congestion and deteriorating air quality have become more severe.
State legislation requires that each urban county develop a Congestion
Management Program to address these problems. Under the Program, all incorporated
jurisdictions within each county are required to develop and implement
a Trip Reduction Ordinance, which calls for employers to implement measures
designed to reduce the total number of private automobiles. San Francisco
recognizes that one effective way to reduce the number of single-occupancy
vehicle trips is through a cooperative effort between local jurisdictions
and both large and medium-size employers. In addition, the city recognizes
that transportation involves the movement of people, rather than vehicles
only. Methods of measuring the performance of the city's transportation
system should reflect this concept.
The Transit First policy, adopted by the San Francisco
Board of Supervisors in 1973, anticipated state and regional strategies
to mitigate the problems of traffic congestion. In addition, three other
transportation planning strategies are applied to identify and avoid potential
- Transportation Demand Management (TDM) - a coherent
set of policies and programs designed to improve the efficiency of the
transportation system by managing the demand for transportation facilities
- Transportation Systems Management (TSM) - the application
of construction, operational and institutional actions to make the most
productive and cost-effective use of existing facilities and services;
- Parking Management - a set of measures designed
to discourage the use of single occupant vehicles; parking availability
is closely tied to pricing controls and preferential treatment of rideshare
In order to address deficiencies in the transportation
system, which includes transit systems, streets, sidewalks and parking
and loading facilities, decision makers rely on certain measurements of
the system's performance. Traditionally, transportation performance was
measured by the level of service at street intersections or the number
of miles travelled per vehicle -- measures that dealt primarily with motor
vehicles. However, these methods of measurement are not well-suited for
measuring the performance of alternative modes of transportation to the
automobile, such as transit, walking or bicycling. In San Francisco, these
alternative modes are not only desirable, they are the primary means of
transportation for many types of trips.
DEVELOP AND EMPLOY METHODS OF MEASURING THE PERFORMANCE OF THE CITY'S
TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM THAT RESPOND TO ITS MULTI-MODAL NATURE.
Assess the performance of the city's transportation system by measuring
the movement of people and goods rather than merely the movement of vehicles.
There are a variety of indexes that measure the comprehensive
variety of travel modes in San Francisco better than Level Of Service
or Vehicle-Miles of Travel, including Modal Split, Person Throughput,
Accessibility (proximity of people to activities).
Employ performance measures that address the problems of transportation
Congestion in itself is better perceived as a problem
when the specific results are considered, such as hours of delay and the
volume of air pollution emissions.
Employ methods that are easily measured, understandable, and useful both
for determining the level of deficiency and for comparing alternatives
with existing forecasting tools.
As such, the measurements would be of greater value
to decision makers, engineers and concerned community members.
Consider the transportation system performance measurements in all decisions
for projects that affect the transportation system.
The Transit First policy is aimed at restoring balance
to a transportation system long dominated by the automobile, and improving
overall mobility for all residents and visitors when reliance chiefly
on the automobile would result in severe transportation deficiencies.
It encourages multi-modalism, the use of transit and other alternatives
to the single-occupant vehicle as modes of transportation, and gives priority
to the maintenance and expansion of the local transit system and the improvement
of regional transit coordination.
ESTABLISH PUBLIC TRANSIT AS THE PRIMARY MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IN SAN
FRANCISCO AND AS A MEANS THROUGH WHICH TO GUIDE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT AND
IMPROVE REGIONAL MOBILITY AND AIR QUALITY.
Maintain and improve the Transit Preferential Streets program to make
transit more attractive and viable as a primary means of travel.
The Transit Preferential Streets program includes measures
to improve transit vehicle speeds and to minimize the restraints of traffic
on transit operations.
Continue to favor investment in transit infrastructure and services over
investment in highway development and other facilities that accommodate
Every decision to direct expenditures toward improving
congestion and parking conditions should first consider the improvement
of transit operations.
Encourage development that efficiently coordinates land use with transit
service, requiring that developers address transit concerns as well as
mitigate traffic problems.
Encourage the development of one or more multi-service transportation
outlets at transit-accessible locations for the sale of transit fare instruments
and the provision of other kinds of trip information.
Convenience should be the primary factor in locating
and operating the multi-service center. Transit patrons should be able
to use the center without having to exit or enter faregates, and transit
fare instruments should be made available for all modes of transit.
The purpose of Transportation Demand Management (TDM)
is to reduce the number of private automobile trips and to bring about
an overall reduction in automobile dependency through education, assistance
and incentives. TDM strategies are most successful where they are integrated
with land use policies and where the private and public sectors both assist
individuals in managing their travel needs. The implementation and administration
of these programs should be streamlined to ensure a maximum level of coordination
between the public and private sectors.
The diagram below illustrates the ratio of vehicles
to employees (VER) at workplaces of 100 or more employees. The lower the
ratio, the fewer the number of vehicles brought to the workplace. The
VER was obtained from a survey of two general areas of San Francisco:
greater downtown and the rest of the city. Also shown are the VER standards
set by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) for San Francisco.
In comparison with the standards set for the city, and with the Bay Area
as a whole, San Francisco has been successful in keeping its VER low.
The TDM policies of this Element are intended to maintain and further
San Francisco's accomplishments in promoting commuting alternatives to
the private automobile. Also, TDM programs should be expanded from primarily
downtown to large employers citywide.
DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT PROGRAMS IN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS, WHICH
WILL SUPPORT CONGESTION MANAGEMENT AND AIR QUALITY OBJECTIVES, MAINTAIN
MOBILITY AND ENHANCE BUSINESS VITALITY AT MINIMUM COST.
Develop and implement strategies which provide incentives for individuals
to use public transit, ridesharing, bicycling and walking to the best
advantage, thereby reducing the number of single occupant auto trips.
Such strategies may include the provision of secure
bicycle parking and shower facilities for bicyclists and walkers, subsidized
transit passes, and "cash-out" parking programs for persons
who do not drive to facilities where automobile parking is subsidized.
Build on successful efforts implemented at numerous private sector worksites,
such as the downtown Transportation Brokerage Program and voluntary programs,
and adapt such programs for application in new areas as appropriate.
Implement private and public sector TDM programs which support each other
and explore opportunities for private-public responsibility in program
Encourage private and public sector cooperation in the promotion of alternative
work programs designed to reduce congestion and the number of automobile
Telecommuting and work-at-home programs can help achieve
the desired traffic reductions. Flex-time policies must include coordination
with the provision of transit services to assure that an alternative work
schedule does not result in an increase in the number of automobile trips.
Phase program implementation in a manner that is most cost effective,
and most reasonable in terms of the availability of alternative travel
modes and types of trips to be served.
Maximize the utilization of existing sources of revenue targeted or available
for program implementation and monitoring to offset additional funding
Promote coordination between providers of transportation management services,
where possible, to enhance the quality of individual programs.
Encourage the creation of Transportation Management Associations where
specific needs are identified and coordination with other similar associations
and agencies is pursued.
PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARKETING STRATEGIES THAT ENCOURAGE AND FACILITATE
THE USE OF TRANSIT AND OTHER ALTERNATIVES TO THE SINGLE-OCCUPANT AUTOMOBILE
FOR SHOPPING, RECREATION, CULTURAL AND OTHER NON-WORK TRIPS.
Encourage the use of alternatives to the automobile for all age groups
in the advertisement of business, recreational and cultural attractions
by identifying their proximity to transit facilities and significant landmarks.
Promote the identification of core fixed guideway and regional transit
lines, such as BART, Muni Metro, cable car, CalTrain and ferry lines,
on maps and literature designed for tourists and visitors.
Use Transit Centers and Visitor Information Centers for the promotion
of transit services and the distribution of transit service information.
Transportation Systems Management (TSM) alternatives
are designed to address current transportation system needs through more
efficient use of existing transportation facilities. TSM strategies manage
the demand and optimize the supply of existing resources to achieve transportation-related
goals, and attempt to improve efficiency through the provision of more
frequent transit service or the enhancement of transit operating conditions.
DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A PLAN FOR OPERATIONAL CHANGES AND LAND USE POLICIES
THAT WILL MAINTAIN MOBILITY AND SAFETY DESPITE A RISE IN TRAVEL DEMAND
THAT COULD OTHERWISE RESULT IN SYSTEM CAPACITY DEFICIENCIES.
Reduce road congestion on arterials through the implementation of traffic control strategies, such as traffic signal synchronization (consistent with posted speed limits) and turn controls, that improve vehicular flow without impeding movement for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The roadway space needed by bicyclists varies between
four and six feet depending on the presence of parked cars. The needs
of bicyclists must be considered wherever lane widths, especially curb
lanes, are proposed to be changed. Multiple turn lanes, designed to reduce
congestion for autos, are confusing and dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians,
and should not be used if feasible.
Ensure that traffic signals are timed and phased to emphasize transit,
pedestrian, and bicycle traffic as part of a balanced multi-modal transportation
Improve transit operation by implementing strategies that facilitate and
prioritize transit vehicle movement and loading.
Reduce congestion by encouraging alternatives to the single occupant auto
through the reservation of right-of-way and enhancement of other facilities
dedicated to multiple modes of transportation.
Creating necessary and appropriate facilities for transit,
bicycles, carpools, pedestrians, and other modes often requires eliminating
general traffic lanes and reducing capacity for single occupant autos.
This trade-off is often necessary to create attractive and efficient facilities
to ensure safety, reduce congestion, improve neighborhood livability,
and accommodate growth consistent with the Transit First policy.
Encourage the use of alternative fuels for City vehicles, transit vehicles
and as feasible, any other motor vehicles as a means of reducing toxic
automobile emissions and conserving energy.
Reduce peak period congestion through the promotion of flexible work schedules
at worksites throughout the City.
Encourage the use of transit and other alternatives modes of travel to
the private automobile through the positioning of building entrances and
the convenient location of support facilities that prioritizes access
from these modes.
Land use controls that will lead to a sustainable mode split, and reduced congestion could include:
Implement land use controls that will support a sustainable mode split, and encourage development that limits the intensification of automobile use.
- Establishing parking caps for residential and commercial uses
- Encouraging increased bicycle use by providing bicycle parking and related facilities, including showers and lockers at employment centers
- Requiring secure bicycle parking in new multifamily housing developments
ENCOURAGE ALTERNATIVES TO THE AUTOMOBILE AND REDUCED TRAFFIC LEVELS ON
RESIDENTIAL STREETS THAT SUFFER FROM EXCESSIVE TRAFFIC THROUGH THE MANAGEMENT
OF TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS AND FACILITIES.
Discourage excessive automobile traffic on residential streets by incorporating
Such treatments may include signalization and signage
changes that favor other modes of transportation, widened sidewalks, landscape
strips, bicycle lanes or transit stops, bicycle-and-transit friendly speed
bumps, or reduced traffic speeds.
Consider partial closure of certain residential streets to automobile
traffic where the nature and level of automobile traffic impairs livability
and safety, provided that there is an abundance of alternative routes
such that the closure will not create undue congestion on parallel streets.
Parking management is one of the most effective employer-based
strategies for reducing vehicle trips and increasing employee use of alternative
modes. In San Francisco, employers have mitigated congestion and air quality
and benefited financially by implementing mandatory and voluntary parking
management programs. With these congestion management policies, the downtown
parking supply is adequate to satisfy demand for long-term and short-term
needs. Given the sheer density of development, any increase in parking
supply within the downtown will lead to further traffic congestion and
the negative impacts associated with it.
DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT PROGRAMS THAT WILL EFFICIENTLY MANAGE THE SUPPLY
OF PARKING AT EMPLOYMENT CENTERS THROUGHOUT THE CITY SO AS TO DISCOURAGE
SINGLE-OCCUPANT RIDERSHIP AND ENCOURAGE RIDESHARING, TRANSIT AND OTHER
ALTERNATIVES TO THE SINGLE-OCCUPANT AUTOMOBILE.
Reduce parking demand through the provision of comprehensive information
that encourages the use of alternative modes of transportation.
Reduce parking demand where parking is subsidized by employers with "cash-out"
programs in which the equivalency of the cost of subsidized parking is
offered to those employees who do not use the parking facilities.
Reduce parking demand through the provision of incentives for the use
of carpools and vanpools at new and existing parking facilities throughout
Manage parking demand through appropriate pricing policies including the
use of premium rates near employment centers well-served by transit, walking
and bicycling, and progressive rate structures to encourage turnover and
the efficient use of parking.
Reduce parking demand through limiting the absolute amount of spaces and
prioritizing the spaces for short-term and ride-share uses.
Encourage alternatives to the private automobile by locating public transit
access and ride-share vehicle and bicycle parking at more close-in and
convenient locations on-site, and by locating parking facilities for single-occupant
vehicles more remotely.
DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT PARKING MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS IN THE DOWNTOWN THAT
WILL PROVIDE ALTERNATIVES ENCOURAGING THE EFFICIENT USE OF THE AREA'S
LIMITED PARKING SUPPLY AND ABUNDANT TRANSIT SERVICES.
Discourage the provision of new long-term parking downtown and near major
Encourage collaboration and cooperation between property owners, neighboring
uses and developers to allow for the most efficient use of existing and
new parking facilities.
There is an abundance of off-street parking facilities
in the downtown area that are only heavily used during conventional working
hours. Activities for which off-street parking is desired that occur after
or before this period should be accommodated through agreements that allow
a more efficient use of existing facilities.
ESTABLISH A STREET HIERARCHY SYSTEM IN WHICH THE FUNCTION AND DESIGN OF
EACH STREET ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE CHARACTER AND USE OF ADJACENT LAND.
6 - Vehicular Street
There should be a hierarchical system of streets functioning
in accordance with the planned movement of vehicles and the management
of congestion. Street design, capacity and treatment should be a direct
manifestation of the streets intended use in satisfying both present and
prospective travel demand, and also its non-traffic purposes such as open
space and pedestrian movement. It is recognized that in some cases it
will be necessary to determine a maximum level of traffic for which street
capacity will be provided, implying a tolerable level of congestion as
a constraint, if other objectives of the city are to be attained.
Safety and livability along the city streets are primary
concerns. This element seeks to balance the needs for vehicle circulation
in the provision for through traffic on major arterials and discouragement
of it on local streets, particularly residential streets. The following
factors determine the selection of major and secondary arterials:
- The width of the right-of-way relative to traffic
- The extent of transit use on the street;
- Land uses bordering the street;
- Safety of the street for moderate- and high-speed
traffic, and the ability to "calm" traffic where appropriate;
- The relation of the street to the definition of
the neighborhood by its residents;
- The presence or absence of conflicts caused by driveways,
parking, and deliveries to commercial uses.
Certain streets, such as Geary Boulevard, Van Ness
Avenue, Columbus Avenue and The Embarcadero, are important to more than
one mode of transportation, and a balance of transportation systems must
be maintained. Even with ample right-of-way width, the ability of these
streets to be all things to all users is inherently compromised. Special
attention, including the allocation of resources, the range of treatments
and the long-term improvement strategies, should be given to achieve the
desired balance on these streets.
1: CLASSIFICATION OF ELEMENTS IN VEHICLE CIRCULATION PLAN
Limited access, very high capacity facilities; primary function
is to carry intercity traffic; they may, as a result of route location,
also serve the secondary function of providing for travel between
distant sections in the city.
Cross-town thoroughfares whose primary function is to link districts
within the city and to distribute traffic from and to the freeways;
these are routes generally of citywide significance; of varying
capacity depending on the travel demand for the specific direction
and adjacent land uses.
Transit Conflict Streets
Streets with a primary transit function which are not classified
as major arterials but experience significant conflicts with automobile
Primarily intra-district routes of varying capacity serving as
collectors for the major thoroughfares; in some cases supplemental
to the major arterial system.
A special category of street whose major function is to provide
for slow pleasure drives and cyclist and pedestrian use; more highly
valued for recreational use than for traffic movement. The order
of priority for these streets should be to accommodate: 1) pedestrians,
hiking trails or wilderness routes, as appropriate; 2) cyclists;
3) equestrians; 4) automobile scenic driving. This should be slow
and consistent with the topography and nature of the area. There
should be adequate parking outside of natural areas.
Relatively low-capacity streets serving local distribution functions
primarily in large, low-density areas, connecting to major and secondary
arterials. To be identified in area plans.
All other streets intended for access to abutting residential and
other land uses, rather than for through traffic; generally of lowest
“Living streets” can include streets, alleys and other public rights-of-way. They serve as both an open space resource for residents and visitors as well as a thoroughfare for local traffic. Physical improvements to living streets should include traffic calming measures and consistent tree plantings to create a residential oriented open space amenity that co-exists with limited vehicular traffic. Living streets primarily serve pedestrians and bicyclists, but should also accommodate local automobile traffic and parking. On living streets, pedestrians take precedent over automobile traffic; programming may include pedestrian enclaves (see discussion following Policy 25.3).
Congestion Management (CMP) Network
The network of freeways, state highways and major arterials established
in accordance with state Congestion F Management legislation. Transit
Conflict Streets are included in this network as well.
Metropolitan Transportation System (MTS) Streets, Highways and
A regional network for San Francisco of freeways, major and secondary
arterials, transit conflict and recreational streets meeting nine
criteria developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission
as part of the Regional Transportation Plan. The criteria identify
facilities that provide relief to congested corridors, improve connectivity,
accommodate travel demand and serve a regional transportation function.
Due to the specific nature of the criteria, the MTS street and highway
network is generally consistent with, but not identical to, the
Relationship Between Function and Physical Design
No rigid design standards can be established on the basis of the
functional categories established above, although higher capacities
will generally be associated with freeways and major arterials.
Capacities must be determined on the basis of the level of traffic
demand, the space available for traffic and the nature of the surrounding
2: DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR STREETS
Major and Secondary Arterials
Where residential uses abut on major and secondary arterials, they
should be screened visually and physically wherever possible.
A consistent pattern of trees at regular intervals should be used
to identify major streets.
Medians should be landscaped with attention given not to diminish
the safety and sightlines of traffic, especially at intersections.
Extensive buffers should be used to separate busy arterials from
active pedestrian areas.
Sufficient space should be provided in the right-of-way to allow
safe bicycle movement on all city streets.
The brightness (apparent illumination) of street lighting should
be greater than on residential streets.
Destination information should be concentrated on major streets
with signs used to route traffic on the major streets system.
Local Residential Streets
Excessive traffic speeds and volumes should be restricted and discouraged
by every means possible per Policy 18.4.
Where possible, vehicular access directly to and from local streets
should be from other than major arterials, e.g., via a secondary
arterial or collector street.
When alternate access is possible, residences should not access
to major arterials.
Local streets, other than collectors, should be primarily for access
to residences and to serve for emergency vehicles; pedestrian-dominant
streets with the maximum feasible amount of street space devoted
to environmental amenities desired and needed by the residents.
Residential streets should be well-lighted without being excessively
Sufficient space should be provided in the right-of-way to allow
safe bicycle movement on all city streets.
All intersections should accommodate safe pedestrian crossings. Accommodations may include bulb-outs to shorten the distance that pedestrians must cross; pedestrian refugees in the middle of major arterials such as Market Street, for pedestrians to rest safely if they do not cross within one light cycle; pedestrian signals; pedestrian-priority signal timing; and other pedestrian facilities. Every street intersection should accommodate pedestrian crossings safely; intersections that sacrifice pedestrians crossing opportunities to better accommodate automobile traffic should be re-designed.
Street width, traffic controls, destination and route information
and illumination should be maximized at the intersection of two
Two intersecting residential streets should have minimal roadway
width, wide sidewalks and no change in illumination from that on
the streets themselves.
Intersections of residential streets and major arterials that are
not transit corridors should be minimized; where they must intersect,
cross and left-turn movements should be limited by curb alignments
TABLE 3: GUIDE TO THE VEHICLE
Bernal Heights Boulevard
This boulevard should function as a recreational street, with emphasis
on pedestrian and bicycle use and with minimal auto capacity.
Alternatives to retrofitting the portion north of Mission Street
should address and resolve the urban design, street livability (especially
Oak, Fell and Laguna) and environmental problems created by the
Areas directly beneath the Central Freeway should be activated to minimize the division between neighborhoods, and barriers for pedestrians. Activation of these spaces could be achieved through the development of commercial facilities, recreation spaces or other pedestrian traffic generating uses.
A comprehensive study of benefits and impacts of removal of the Central Freeway south of Market Street should be conducted. This study should include analysis of the impacts and benefits on surrounding neighborhood livability, local and regional transportation, especially Muni and regional transit services, and economic impacts.
There should be no connection with John F. Kennedy Drive. The Drive
should be redesigned to minimize its intrusion in the Park, with
a capacity similar to Park-Presidio Boulevard, and should be carefully
aligned to avoid tree removal.
This road should be improved for greater safety and minimal conflict
with the recreational and scenic values of the Presidio; design
capacity should be no greater than three lanes in each direction.
The roadway between Mission Bay and North Point Streets is being
reconstructed as an attractive landscaped roadway having at least
two moving lanes in each direction, an exclusive transit right-of-way,
bicycle lanes and separated access and loading areas at piers in
If Kezar Drive is reconfigured, this street would no longer be
required for truck traffic and should be changed to a local street
To the extent possible most east-west travel in the Western Addition
and Inner Richmond should be channeled onto this street to divert
traffic from nearby residential streets. Employing TSM measures
at key intersections and improved left-turn connections are desirable.
This street should not be widened or made unidirectional north
of Pine Street.
Transportation improvements on this street should be conscious of increased transit and pedestrian activity where the Hayes Gough Neighborhood Commercial Transit district crosses Gough Street.
The design capacity of this road should be reduced substantially
to correspond with its recreational function; emphasis to be on
slow pleasure traffic, bicycles and safe pedestrian crossings.
Although Guerrero, Valencia and South Van Ness serve as major and
secondary arterials at the present, the improvement of transit service
should be accompanied by steps to reduce through traffic and make
these streets more compatible with residential uses.
Proposed to serve Candlestick Point, Hunter's Point Shipyard, and their proposed mixed-use development. Refer to the Candlestick Point Subarea Plan, the Bayview Hunters Point Area Plan,
the Hunters Point Shipyard Area Plan, and the Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan. Increase in vehicle capacity is anticipated.
John F. Kennedy Drive
Through, non-park automobile traffic on this recreational drive
should be eliminated.
This road should be reconfigured to restore the corner of the park
to full recreational use; design capacity no greater than that of
the Fell and Oak couple.
Market Street should be honored and protected as San Francisco’s visual and functional spine. The City should engage in a comprehensive redesign of Market Street from the Embarcadero to Castro Street. Improvements to Market Street should emphasize its importance for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit.
This heavily trafficked street should be landscaped as a parkway
with the same capacity. Simultaneous measures should be taken to
maintain the low levels of through traffic on parallel streets.
Functionally, this route must provide for crosstown movements;
in design, it should remain a scenic-recreational drive, not intended
for heavy traffic.
Pine Street-Bush Street
As transit service in the corridor is improved, priority should
be given to calming traffic and landscaping along these residential
streets west of Van Ness Avenue.
This street should act as a neighborhood collector street as well
as a principal bicycle arterial.
Wherever feasible, divert through automobile and commercial traffic from
residential neighborhoods onto major and secondary arterials, and limit
major arterials to nonresidential streets wherever possible.
Major and secondary arterials are to carry traffic
among districts in the city. Local streets are intended only to provide
access to and from homes and other uses within each neighborhood. However,
many residential streets function as major or secondary arterials, and
because there are no other alternatives, the function of these streets
is needed to prevent traffic from spreading onto other residential streets.
In such cases, buffering measures such as landscaping in sidewalks and
medians should be taken to mitigate the impacts of traffic.
Design streets for a level of traffic that serves, but will not cause
a detrimental impact on adjacent land uses, nor eliminate the efficient
and safe movement of transit vehicles and bicycles.
The need for traffic carriers must be balanced against
the adverse effects of heavy traffic on the use of adjacent land and the
quality of the environment. The needs of residents for peace and quiet,
safety from harm, and useful open space must be given consideration. Each
area and each street of the city have different characteristics which
determine the level of traffic which can be absorbed without serious adverse
impacts. The following factors should be the basis for a judgment on the
acceptable levels of traffic on a specific street:
- The predominance of land uses fronting the street;
- The distance between the curb and building line
established by sidewalk width or setback;
- The presence or absence of buffering between street
and building in the form of landscaping, change in elevation, or similar
- The level of pedestrian and bicycle traffic;
- The proportion of the street which is residential
in land use;
- Whether residences face the street;
- The presence of hospitals, schools, parks, or similar
facilities on or near the street.
The widening of streets at the expense of sidewalks
or of setbacks should not occur where space is necessary for pedestrian
movement, buffering from noise, useful open space and landscaping. This
is especially true in densely populated neighborhoods with little public
or private open space. No additional sidewalk narrowings, tow-away zones
and one-way streets should be instituted in a residential neighborhood
if it would compromise the safety and comfort of the pedestrian resident.
Existing towaway lanes should be phased out if they present a hazard to
pedestrian safety. In addition, widening of streets should not occur at
the expense of bicycle travel. The roadway space needed by bicyclists,
whether between the line of traffic and the curb or the line of on-street
parking, varies between four and six feet. The needs of bicyclists must
be considered wherever the curb lane is proposed to be narrowed. Street
restripings and widenings may be appropriate in industrial areas where
access for oversize freight vehicles is important, but these projects
should not reduce or eliminate the efficient movement of transit vehicles
The existing single-occupant vehicular capacity of the bridges, highways
and freeways entering the city should not be increased and should be reduced
if needed to increase the capacity for high-occupancy vehicles, transit
and other alternative means of commuting, and for the safe and efficient
movement of freight trucks. Changes, retrofits, or replacements to existing
bridges and highways should include dedicated priority for high-occupancy
vehicles and transit, and all bridges, where feasible, should feature access for bicyclists
It is recognized that provision for further vehicular
access into the city would conflict with the environmental objectives
of the city, overload the city street system, and jeopardize the city's
commitment to mass transit. This policy allows for the introduction of
exclusive transit, bike and carpool/vanpool lanes on bridges, highways
and freeways where these lanes are compatible with the overall transportation
Discourage high-speed through traffic on local streets in residential
areas through traffic "calming" measures that are designed not
to disrupt transit service or bicycle movement, including:
- Sidewalk bulbs and widenings at intersections and
- Lane off-sets (chicanes) and traffic bumps;
- Narrowed traffic lanes with trees, landscaping and
- Colored and/or textured sidewalks and crosswalks; and
- Median and intersection islands.
Mitigate and reduce the impacts of automobile traffic in and around parks
and along shoreline recreation areas.
Streets in large parks, around small parks and along
recreational parts of the shoreline should function primarily for access
to recreational facilities and for scenic driving, not as thoroughfares.
Heavy or fast surface traffic endangers pedestrians and cyclists, cuts
off access to recreation and reduces the pleasure of being in parks by
causing noise, pollution and visual disharmony. Excessive automobile traffic
also inhibits the movement of freight rail, freight and delivery trucks
and vans that supporting the maritime uses along the waterfront. Pedestrian
entrances to parks should be at street intersections to the extent possible.
Use the Street Hierarchy System of the Transportation Element as the foundation
for any national, state, regional and local network of streets and highways
in San Francisco.
The Street Hierarchy System of the Transportation Element
incorporates the CMP and MTS networks, which were developed with the cooperation
of local, regional and state agencies and representatives. Any future
classification of streets and highways should reflect the structure of
the hierarchy system of this document.
PROVIDE FOR CONVENIENT MOVEMENT AMONG DISTRICTS IN THE CITY DURING OFF-PEAK
TRAVEL PERIODS AND SAFE TRAFFIC MOVEMENT AT ALL TIMES.
The intent is to provide a convenient vehicular system
of streets and arterials which function well in meeting normal traffic
demands, especially those included in the Congestion Management Plan.
At the same time it is recognized that congestion can never be eliminated
completely, especially during periods of peak demand.
Eliminate unnecessary cross traffic conflicts and improve traffic flow
along major arterials.
Excessive numbers of intersections on major arterials
reduce the average speed of traffic and encourage use of local streets
for through movements. Cross traffic should be eliminated, where possible,
if needed to speed the flow of traffic on the arterials intended to carry
the bulk of inter-district travel and to reduce accidents. In some cases,
where two major arterials meet, it may be necessary to create grade separations
to avoid conflicts. However, measures to minimize this conflict that are
less costly and disruptive should be used wherever possible.
Traffic signal synchronization and roadway vehicle
detectors should be used to reduce traffic congestion on major arterials.
At the same time, use of regulatory devices along local streets will discourage
through traffic when a good signal system is in effect on the major arterials.
Lane striping, curb cuts, parking configurations and service roads or
lanes should provide for access in a manner that will not conflict with
through traffic flows.
Promote increased traffic safety, with special attention to hazards that
could cause personal injury.
Various measures can be taken to reduce collisions,
especially those involving serious personal injury. Particular attention needs to be given to improving bicyclists’ safety since conditions that may be inconsequential to automobiles can be disruptive, disabling, or even life threatening to bicyclists, and are the cause of many bicyclist collisions. In some cases redesign of the roadway and of intersections
to reduce conflicts between vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians is required;
in others all that is necessary is to improve clarity of signs and of
routing so that there is less driver uncertainty and hesitation.
GIVE FIRST PRIORITY TO IMPROVING TRANSIT SERVICE THROUGHOUT THE CITY,
PROVIDING A CONVENIENT AND EFFICIENT SYSTEM AS A PREFERABLE ALTERNATIVE
TO AUTOMOBILE USE.
In order to encourage residents, commuters, and visitors
to switch their travel modes away from the automobile, we must improve
transit service to make it a preferred alternative. Improvements to the
existing system can be implemented at a relatively low cost, however,
such improvements are often resisted due to real or perceived negative
impact on parking or traffic circulation. For this reason, transit improvements
should be based on a rational street classification system in which all
transportation functions of the street network are analyzed, and only
certain streets or locations are designated "transit preferential."
Transit preferential streets (TPS) should be established along major transit
routes, and general traffic should be routed away from these streets wherever
In certain locations pedestrian' needs must also be
addressed in transit system improvements. This is important near major
activity centers and interline transfer points. For this reason "transit
centers" should be established as part of the transit preferential
streets (TPS) system where pedestrian safety, accessibility, and circulation
needs are addressed, and transit information and minimum passenger amenities
Give priority to transit vehicles based on a rational classification system
of transit preferential streets.
The TPS classification system should consider the multi-modal
functions of the street, the existing and potential levels of transit
service and ridership, and the existing transit infrastructure. Through
street classification, transit preferential treatments should be concentrated
on the most important transit streets, and the treatments applied should
respond to all transportation needs of the street. For example, on streets
that are major arterials for transit and not for automobile traffic, treatments
should emphasize transit priority. On streets that are major arterials
for both transit and automobiles, treatments should emphasize a balance
between the modes, emphasizing the movement of people and goods rather
than vehicles. This method ensures that transit preferential treatments
are applied in the most efficient and cost effective manner.
9 - Transit Preferential
4: TRANSIT PREFERENTIAL STREET CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
|Primary Transit Street
Not a major arterial, AND,
- High transit ridership, OR,
- High frequency of service, OR,
- Surface rail.
|All transit priority
treatments may be applied based on established guidelines. The emphasis
should be on moving transit vehicles. Impacts on automobile traffic
should be of secondary concern.
|Primary Transit Street
Major arterial, AND,
- High transit ridership, OR,
- High frequency of service, OR,
- Surface rail.
|All treatments should be designed
to improve the balance between modes of Transportation. The emphasis
should be on moving people and goods, rather than on moving vehicles.
|Secondary Transit Street
- Medium transit ridership and low-to-medium frequency of service,
- Medium frequency of service and low-to-medium transit ridership,
- Connects two or more major destinations.
|Treatments should be low-cost and
geared to solving a specific transit problem.
An interline transfer point, AND
- A transit station or regional transit terminal, OR
- the intersection of two or more rail transit lines, OR
- the intersection of a rail transit line and any Transit Preferential
- the intersection of two or more Primary Transit Streets where
at least one carries a regional transit line.
|Treatments should be designed to
emphasize pedestrian as well as transit needs. Safety, accessibility,
circulation, information, and aesthetics concerns should all be addressed.
TPS measures and treatments vary in the effectiveness of enhancing
transit operation, and should relate to the function of the street--
Transit Oriented, Transit Important, and Secondary Transit -- on
which they are applied. The treatments and measures include:
- Transit exclusive/priority lanes;
- Bus stop reduction programs;
- Stop sign placement/reduction programs;
- Traffic signal phase modifications;
- Traffic signal preemptions;
- Sidewalk bus bulbs; and
- Improved traffic law enforcement.
In general, the use of more than one of these treatments along
Primary Transit Streets is justified due to the transit-moving function
of the street, whereas the Secondary Transit Streets may call for
lesser treatments. The appropriateness of treatments along any Transit
Preferential Street depends on other issues as well: the land uses
adjacent to the street, the importance of the street to other transportation
modes, urban design issues, community safety, etc. In every instance,
transit preferential street treatments should be applied on a case-by-case
The following terms and standards have been defined by the Planning
Department, the Municipal Railway and the Department of Parking
and Traffic for establishing the Transit Preferential Street Classification
Frequency of Service (peak headway, all transit lines operating
on street or corridor segment)
High: < every 2 minutes Medium: >2 minutes, ~ 4 minutes Low:
> 4 minutes
Interline Transfer Point Transfers between different transit lines,
including different operators
Rail Transit Line -- Any public transportation line (local, commuter-oriented,
regional) that operates on rails.
Regional Transit Terminal--The last revenue stop on a transit line
that operates within San Francisco and at least one other Bay Area
Transit Ridership (average weekday, all lines on a street or corridor
High: > 45,000 Medium: <45,000, and = 25,000 Low: <25,000
Transit Station -- A permanent facility devoted primarily to transit
operation and inaccessible for private automobile traffic that includes
a loading platform for transit riders adjacent to a designated stopping
area for transit vehicles.
Reduce, relocate or prohibit automobile facility features on transit preferential
streets, such as driveways and loading docks, to avoid traffic conflicts
and automobile congestion.
Limiting curbcuts allows traffic, specifically transit vehicles, to proceed more efficiently. New curb cuts for access to private property should be avoided when possible. In some instances, curb cuts are restricted.
See Map 10 of the Market Octavia Plan Area
Develop transit preferential treatments according to established guidelines.
Treatment guidelines are important in establishing
consistency in treatment type and design, and to ensure that all functions
of the streets are considered in treatment design, not just transit. The
emphasis is on reducing conflicts between modes wherever possible and
on moving people and goods rather than on moving vehicles.
Develop transit centers according to established guidelines.
Transit centers have significant potential to improve
transit service by improving conditions at major stops and transfer points.
Transit centers should address both pedestrian and transit needs and be
designed to reinforce the link and interdependence between the surrounding
neighborhood and the transit system, enhancing the sense of place for
the neighborhood, and improving the visibility of the transit system.
Guidelines must be followed to facilitate design consistency and ensure
that safety, accessibility, circulation, information, comfort and aesthetic
issues are adequately addressed. Transit Center treatments include enlargement
of passenger queuing areas by bulbing at bus stops; the accommodation
of passenger needs e.g. shelter, transit information; and by ensuring
that adequate safety, accessibility, circulation, and aesthetic concerns
Place and maintain all sidewalk elements, including passenger shelters,
benches, trees, newsracks, kiosks, toilets, and utilities at appropriate
transit stops according to established guidelines.
Transit amenities should be provided according to the importance of the transit station. On primary transit streets, greater numbers of amenities for waiting riders should be provided; on secondary transit streets, fewer amenities may be provided. All amenities should be designed and located to provide for comfort for waiting passengers, ease of access to and from the waiting bus, accessibility of the adjacent sidewalk, and to denote the transit station as a special place in the streetscape environment.
Provide priority enforcement of parking and traffic regulations on all
Transit Streets, particularly Transit Preferential Streets.
Transit service is substantially improved when enforcement
of existing parking and traffic regulations is applied. Enforcement efforts
should be maximized by establishing a priority system whereby enforcement
is first applied on the primary transit streets. This includes enforcement
against meter feeding, illegal parking, double parking, bus zone parking,
and illegal use of bus lanes.
Encourage ridership and clarify transit routes by means of a city-wide
plan for street landscaping, lighting and transit preferential treatments.
Sidewalks along transit routes should be attractive
and well-lit to encourage walking to and from transit. Streetscape design
elements such as trees and lighting are often placed without regard to
the transit lines operating on the street. Many lines use fixed guideways
which are as much a part of the streetscape as the trees and lights. Street
design which is coordinated with transit routes improves the ability to
comprehend the routing of lanes and the layout of the transit system.
Intensify overall transit service in the "central area."
The "central area" refers to the northeast
quadrant of the city. More travel occurs to and within this area than
any other; traffic and pollution levels are highest, and the streets are
more congested. It is important to give the highest priority to an intensification
and enhancement of transit service within this area. San Francisco's tradition
of diversity in transit modes, including surface, subway, rail and water
transit, should be reinforced and expanded to offer a wide range of alternatives
to potential riders.
Improve inter-district and intra-district transit service.
During non-peak hours, while travel to downtown for
shopping and entertainment is still substantial, there is much more travel
between and within districts in the city. In a "grid" network
of transit services, the potential to improve inter- and intra-district
transit travel relies on improving certain important cross-town lines.
Transit service on these lines should be frequent, well-coordinated with
other transit services and corridors, and as quick and direct as possible.
Keep fares low enough to obtain consistently high patronage and encourage
more off-peak use.
Transportation is a public service not unlike street
lighting, sewage service or fire protection. Nearly all transportation
is subsidized to some degree with public funds. It is no more reasonable
to expect transit to "pay its way" with the fare box than it
is to expect streets to pay their way. Overly expensive transit fares,
in comparison with the indirect taxes imposed on automobile use, discourage
Promote the electrification of bus operation.
Electric trolley buses are cleaner, quieter and often
faster than diesel buses. In planning for the conversion of bus operation,
consideration should be given to topography, bus operation in traffic,
air quality, noise and visual impacts of the overhead wires.
Use the Transit Preferential Street network as the foundation for any
national, state, regional or local transit street hierarchy system in
A coordinated effort by different transportation and
planning agencies and advocates has led to the criteria and standards
established to develop the TPS network. This network should be reflected
in any future development of transit street hierarchies.
Create dedicated bus lanes and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes to expedite bus travel times and improve transit reliability.
On some transit oriented and transit important streets dedicated bus lanes and Bus Rapid Transit lanes should be installed to expedite transit travel times and improve transit reliability. Analysis consistent with the City’s Transit First Policy should determine the most appropriate routes for dedicated lanes.
Engage new technologies that will emphasize and improve transit services on transit preferential streets.
Reliability and efficiency of service impact a users’ decision to select transit over alternative modes of transportation. Modern technologies such as transit preferential signaling and transit tracking and notifications such as Next Bus, can increase transit reliability, efficiency and use. The City should install technologies with these objectives on transit preferential streets.
DEVELOP TRANSIT AS THE PRIMARY MODE OF TRAVEL TO AND FROM DOWNTOWN AND
ALL MAJOR ACTIVITY CENTERS WITHIN THE REGION.
The automobile cannot serve as the primary means of
travel to and from downtown. An alternative means of equal convenience
and greater efficiency is required, not only to downtown, but also among
all major activity centers. While direct service is available from almost
all parts of the city to downtown, travel is often slow and vehicles are
overcrowded during the peak hours. Crowding can never be eliminated completely.
However, it is important for continued patronage that transit service,
from feeder buses to regional trunklines, accommodate basic ridership
comfort in conformance with the service standard ratio of passengers to
seats for each operator and type of transit vehicle. Travel to downtown
should be possible in less than 30 minutes from all parts of the city.
This can be achieved with express buses, exclusive bus lanes, and construction
and expansion of rapid transit lines along major corridors.
The use of transit to travel between the suburbs and
downtown and other major centers in the city can only become primary with
the development of a good regional transit system connecting downtown
to other parts of the region. Existing regional rail lines should be expanded
10 - Rail Transit Plan
Provide transit service from residential areas to major employment centers
outside the downtown area.
Reverse commuting to areas other than downtown is expected
to increase and place new requirements on the transit system. The city
should pursue means of providing this transit for residents where it is
Where a high level of transit ridership or potential ridership exists
along a corridor, existing transit service or technology should be upgraded
to attract and accommodate riders.
Make future rail transit extensions in the city compatible with existing
BART, CalTrain or Muni rail lines.
In order to ensure potential linkages, interchange
of vehicles and cost savings, new rail transitlines should be of the same
basic type as either the BART, CalTrain or Muni systems, depending on
the potential link. Special systems, such as cable cars or other limited
service facilities, need not be compatible.
Provide for improved connectivity and potential facility expansion where
any two fixed-guideway transit corridors connect.
The development of any rail or fixed-guideway transit
corridor requires a significant capital investment and often results in
surface disruption during construction. While the Citywide Rail Transit
Plan proposes several new rail transit corridors, it is unlikely that
all planned transit corridors will be built at the same time. To facilitate
future corridor expansion, reduce long-term costs and minimize future
disruptions, provisions should be made where two or more planned corridors
intersect to accommodate the later development of the corridors.
Facilitate and continue ferries and other forms of water-based transportation
as an alternative mode of transit between San Francisco and other communities
along the Bay, and between points along the waterfront within San Francisco.
Since the Loma Prieta earthquake, ferry service has
resumed between San Francisco and the East Bay. Commuter ferries now provide
service between San Francisco and Vallejo, Larkspur, Tiburon, Sausalito,
Oakland and two points in Alameda. They help reduce traffic congestion
while providing a pleasant and useful alternative to a number of commuters
who might otherwise choose to drive, and should be promoted in accordance
with the recommendations of MTC's Regional Ferry Plan and any future local
and regional transit expansion programs.
Establish frequent and convenient transit service, including water-based
transit, to major recreational facilities and provide special service
for sports, cultural and other heavily attended events.
It is important to promote transit as the primary mode
of transportation to sports, cultural and other heavily attended events.
Certain popular destinations, such as the Zoo, Golden Gate Park and Yerba
Buena Gardens, are well-served by transit. The future recreational and
cultural uses for the Presidio, Hunter's Point and Treasure Island are
likely to need expanded landside and water transit to relieve congestion.
The objective should be increased access to these places for those without
cars; and reduced noise, pollution, and congestion when those with cars
Make convenient transfers between transit lines, systems and modes possible
by establishing common or closely located terminals for local and regional
transit systems by coordinating fares and schedules, and by providing
bicycle access and secure bicycle parking.
Bridges and freeways should have exclusive transit lanes where significant
transit service is provided by transit.
Transit lines can provide more efficient service by
operating on their own rights-of-way. These can be instituted on bridges
and freeways leading into the city, and interconnect, where feasible,
with a system of exclusive transit lanes or transit priority street treatments
within the city.
Improve pedestrian and bicycle access to transit facilities.
Pedestrian access to and from major destinations and
the serving transit facility should be direct, uncomplicated, safe, accessible, and inviting. Bicyclists
should be accommodated on regional and trunkline transit vehicles - including
light rail vehicles - wherever feasible, and at stations through the provision
of storage lockers and/or secured bicycle parking.
Ensure passenger and operator safety in the design and operation of transit
vehicles and station facilities.
Ensure the maintenance and efficient operation of the fleet of transit
Consideration should be given with every transportation
system funding and development decision to maintaining and operating transit
vehicles and the facilities that support them.
DEVELOP AND IMPROVE DEMAND-RESPONSIVE TRANSIT SYSTEMS AS A SUPPLEMENT
TO REGULAR TRANSIT SERVICES.
Maintain a taxi service adequate to meet the needs of the city and to
keep fares reasonable.
Taxis serve as an essential supplement to the transit
system, not merely for tourists but for many residents in the city who
use taxis for particular trips when regular transit service is inconvenient.
Although taxis should continue to be regulated, competition should be
encouraged for improved service and low fares. The feasibility of water
taxis connecting major attractions along the waterfront should be explored.
Consider possibilities for supplementary, privately operated transit services.
There are areas of the city where private operators
might find it profitable to provide transit service for inter-district
and intra-district travel, and they should be encouraged to do so.
Guarantee complete and comprehensive transit service and facilities that
are accessible to all riders, including those with mobility impairments.
The close-knit urban fabric of San Francisco, combined
with the dramatic hills and sweeping vistas, makes walking an ideal mode
for exploring and moving about the city. In a dense city such as San Francisco,
the sidewalk is a vital source of open space, a refuge for sun and air.
It is the space that everyone shares, the place in which the entire spectrum
of urban life is encountered and experienced, for better or for worse.
Since everyone is a pedestrian at one point or another, the sidewalk provides
a strong sense of the overall image of the city.
Over much of the twentieth century, the priority given
to traffic concerns has contributed to the significant degradation of
the pedestrian environment. Freeways were built, streets were widened,
and pedestrian crossings were eliminated. Peak-hour tow away traffic lanes
were established on busy pedestrian streets, creating a hazardous situation
where automobiles speed past within a few feet of overcrowded sidewalks.
The purpose of this section is to address pedestrian
issues and to provide direction and policy that ensures pedestrian movement
in the city is safe, convenient and pleasant, in recognition that pedestrian
travel is an important component of the transportation system, especially
in this transit-oriented city.
IMPROVE THE CITY'S PEDESTRIAN CIRCULATION SYSTEM TO PROVIDE FOR EFFICIENT,
PLEASANT, AND SAFE MOVEMENT.
Provide sufficient pedestrian movement space with a minimum of pedestrian
congestion in accordance with a pedestrian street classification system.
Sidewalks should be sufficiently wide to comfortably carry existing and expected levels of pedestrians, and to provide for necessary pedestrian amenities and buffering from adjacent roadways. The need for these elements varies by the street context – sidewalk width should be based on the overall context and role of the street.
Widen sidewalks where intensive commercial, recreational, or institutional
activity is present, sidewalks are congested, where sidewalks are less than adequately wide to provide appropriate pedestrian amenities, or where residential densities
Wider sidewalks provide more pedestrian space and also
permit more pedestrian amenities. In high-density residential and recreational
areas, sidewalks are often utilized as open space, and should be designed
and built to accommodate such a use. A good example of this type of sidewalk
construction is in Duboce Triangle.
All sidewalks should meet or exceed the minimum sidewalk width for the relevant street type as described in the Better Streets Plan. Sidewalks below this width should be widened as opportunities arise to do so, balanced with the needs of other travel modes for the street as described in other sections of this element.
Where new publicly-accessible streets are created, such streets should meet or exceed the recommended sidewalk width for the relevant street type.
Maintain a strong presumption against reducing sidewalk widths, eliminating
crosswalks and forcing indirect crossings to accommodate automobile traffic.
New crosswalk closures should not be implemented. Existing closed crosswalks should be evaluated and removed where feasible.
Sidewalks should not be narrowed if doing so would result in the sidewalk becoming less than the minimum sidewalk width for the relevant street type.
Tow-away lanes should not be approved, and removal should be considered,
if they impair existing and potential pedestrian usage and level of service
on abutting sidewalks, as well as the needs of transit operation on the
Establish and enforce a set of sidewalk zones that provides guidance for the location of all pedestrian and streetscape elements, maintains sufficient unobstructed width for passage of people, strollers and wheelchairs, consolidates raised elements in distinct areas to activate the pedestrian environment, and allows sufficient access to buildings, vehicles, and streetscape amenities.
Sidewalks should be viewed holistically and through the organizing logic of a set of zones. Sidewalk zones ensure that there is sufficient clear width for pedestrians, and that there are appropriate areas for streetscape elements that will activate the sidewalk and provide amenities to pedestrians. New streetscape elements should be placed according to established guidelines for sidewalk zones, and existing elements should be re-located to meet these guidelines as opportunities arise to do so.
Ensure convenient and safe pedestrian crossings by minimizing the distance
pedestrians must walk to cross a street.
Appropriate treatments may include widening sidewalks
at corners to provide more pedestrian queuing space and shorter crosswalk
distances, especially where streets are wide. Large pedestrian islands
should be installed to provide pedestrians with a safe waiting area while
crossing where traffic volumes are high and/or streets are unusually wide.
Consideration should be given to bicycle movement and the efficient operation
of transit service in sidewalk widenings.
Corner bulbs reduce the crossing distance and provide
more corner queuing space. The reduced crossing distance makes crossing
safer, while the increased queuing area reduces the corner overcrowding
that often spills into the street. Care should be taken not to constrain
the movement of bicycles and transit vehicles in the design of sidewalk
bulbs. Corner bulbs should be designed to shorten crossing distance and enhance visibility to the maximum extent possible while still retaining necessary vehicle movements.
Ensure safe pedestrian crossings at signaled intersections by providing
sufficient time for pedestrians to cross streets at a moderate pace.
The timing and length of traffic signals should be
set to provide enough "green" time for all pedestrians to cross
streets safely. Timing should account for people using wheelchairs and
carriages, where use of curb cuts is necessary for access to the crosswalk
from the sidewalk. On wide streets, pedestrian islands should be established
as necessary to provide slower-moving pedestrians with some relief and
a waiting area. U-turns permitted at intersections with large pedestrian
volumes should be reconsidered in the interest of improving pedestrian
Support pedestrian needs by incorporating them into regular short-range
and long-range planning activities for all city and regional agencies
and include pedestrian facility funding in all appropriate funding requests.
Pedestrian issues are affected by decisions in a variety
of agencies and need to be considered. A number of local and regional
agencies and departments plan transportation projects, which are increasingly
developed as multi-modal projects, could incorporate pedestrian improvements.
In particular, local and regional mass transit projects must pay particular
attention to pedestrian needs, especially at significant transfer points.
For many transportation projects, pedestrian improvements could be included
with the project for far less than if the pedestrian project was a stand
alone project. In general, the larger the project, the more potential
to address pedestrian needs.
Implement the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the
city's curb ramp program to improve pedestrian access for all people.
Consideration of special pedestrian and wheelchair
access should be given to areas and crosswalks where there is a large
concentration of seniors and persons with disabilities. Design of streets should follow the principles of “universal design” where practicable. Universal design is a best practice that seeks to serve the needs of individuals with disabilities while providing cross-benefit to all users. Curb ramps should be provided at all crossings, prioritized based on the City’s ADA Transition Plan for Curb Ramps and Sidewalks.
IMPROVE THE AMBIENCE OF THE PEDESTRIAN ENVIRONMENT.
Preserve existing historic features such as streetlights and encourage
the incorporation of such historic elements in all future streetscape
Historic street lights impart a sense of history and character and can create continuity in the public realm even as the surrounding built environment changes over time. Historic street lights such as the Path of Gold (Market Street) lights and Golden Triangle (Mason/Powell) lights should be preserved, and restored as funding allows, according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. New street improvements should be designed to be compatible with the character of historic street lights and other existing historic streetscape elements.
Maintain and expand the planting of street trees and the infrastructure
to support them.
Street trees are the organizing element of the pedestrian environment. Locations for street trees should be identified and other streetscape elements placed in relation to existing or potential street tree planting locations, so as not to remove opportunities for planting new trees. Street trees provide shade, create a human
scale on the street, soften the edge between the building and the street,
and serve as a buffer between pedestrian space and the street. Moreover,
street trees are an important environmental consideration as they contribute
to cleaner air. An appropriate program of irrigation and maintenance should
be implemented with street tree planting.
Install pedestrian-serving street furniture where appropriate.
Street furnishings, including seating, should be provided according to the appropriate guidelines for the relevant street type. Higher concentrations of street furnishings are appropriate on downtown and commercial streets, near major civic or institutional uses, and adjacent to transit stops. Street furnishings may also be located in less active areas where there is a need to provide neighborhood open space, and the possibility for people to use and care for the space.
Preserve pedestrian-oriented building frontages.
Building frontages that invite people to enter, that
provide architectural interest and a sense of scale, and that are transparent
enough to provide visual connections to and from the sidewalk help make
the pedestrian environment more agreeable and safe.
Where consistent with transportation needs, transform streets and alleys into neighborhood-serving open spaces or “living streets” by adding pocket parks in sidewalks or medians, especially in neighborhoods deficient in open space.
Public open space gives neighborhoods their identity, a visual focus, and a center for activity. San Francisco's streets and alleys play a key role in the City’s open space network – streets comprise approximately 25% of the city’s overall land. In many neighborhoods currently underserved by open space there is little opportunity to create significant new parks due to a lack of available land. In high-density areas, streets and alleys afford the greatest opportunity for new public parks and plazas.
In these areas, the city should create“living streets:” streets transformed into neighborhood-serving open spaces. In many locations, historic development patterns and the intersection of street grids result in excessive but unusable pavement spaces (called “pork chops” to describe a common shape). Similarly, many city streets are designed for more traffic than actually uses them.
These excess paved areas should be converted to pocket parks on widened sidewalks, curb extensions or new medians in appropriate circumstances. Pocket parks are small, active public spaces created in the existing public right-of-way. In addition to landscaping, pocket parks may include features such as seating areas, play areas, community garden space, or other elements to encourage active use of the public open space.
DEVELOP A CITYWIDE PEDESTRIAN NETWORK.
Create a citywide pedestrian street classification system.
Similar in scope to the classification systems
developed for pedestrians downtown and for automobiles citywide, the system
permits directed planning for pedestrian improvements and the designation
of pedestrian routes between significant destinations. Also similar to
the other systems is the need to balance treatments and priority functions
on streets that have an important function as defined by one or more street
classification system, such as Van Ness Avenue, Geary Boulevard and The
The classification system also addresses auto-oriented
conditions that conflict with pedestrian travel on pedestrian-priority
5: PEDESTRIAN CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
There are four types of pedestrian streets: Exclusive Pedestrian,
Living Street, Pedestrian-oriented Vehicular, Vehicular Thoroughfare that are manifested
in a variety of conditions as outlined below.
Exclusive Pedestrian Street:
Street on which vehicles are not permitted (except for transit
vehicles and bicycles).
A street or alley designed to enhance its role in the City’s open space network and to provide a visual focus for neighborhood activity and use.
Pedestrian-oriented Vehicular Street:
Street with vehicular traffic that has significant pedestrian importance. Design treatments and measures to ensure that pedestrians movement remains a primary function should be employed.
A Major Arterial or freeway as identified in the Master Plan. While pedestrian traffic must be accommodated on every street except a freeway, a balance between vehicle and pedestrian movement must be maintained.
Utilizing the pedestrian street classification system, develop a citywide
pedestrian network that includes streets devoted to or primarily oriented
to pedestrian use.
This network is composed of existing routes such as
the Bay and Ridge trails, stairways, exclusive pedestrian streets, and
pedestrian-oriented vehicular streets. The network links important destinations,
neighborhood commercial districts, and open spaces.
Develop design guidelines for pedestrian improvements in Neighborhood
Commercial Districts, Residential Districts, Transit-Oriented Districts, and other pedestrian-oriented
areas as indicated by the pedestrian street classification plan.
The design guidelines ensure identifiable, pedestrian-oriented
treatments for important pedestrian streets and set minimum standards
for the placement of pedestrian streetscape elements.
The City can also improve portions of public rights-of-way to improve neighborhood character and provide open space improvements on portions of streets by establishing “pedestrian enclaves.” Pedestrian enclaves are defined by location rather than size; enclaves can utilize portions of the street and can establish broad corner bulb-outs. They should provide either restful space for pedestrians to enjoy a moment of reflection or active space such as open air weights or a dog obstacle course. In all cases, the design of the space should be mindful of adjacent activities and uses. In most cases enclaves should include benches, landscaping, and should improve the streetscape environment. A vista, garden, or streetscape view should be included to provide the user with a springboard for reflection. Examples of pedestrian enclaves include bulb outs on Noe Street north of Market Street, Octavia Square at the base of Octavia and Market, and could include programming on some major transit plazas. Pedestrian enclaves serve a very localized population.
Maintain a presumption against the use of demand-activated traffic signals
on any well-used pedestrian street, and particularly those streets in
the Citywide Pedestrian and Neighborhood Networks.
Demand-activated traffic signals favor motor-vehicle
traffic over pedestrians, and are relatively uncommon in San Francisco.
Where they do occur, the signal must be triggered to secure enough time
to cross. Otherwise, only a very short time is allocated -- for cross
traffic, not pedestrians. As such, demand-activated traffic signals present
an inconvenience to pedestrians and should not be used on streets except
where there is no significant pedestrian traffic.
6: PEDESTRIAN NETWORK STREETS AND DESIGN GUIDELINES
Citywide Pedestrian Network Street
Definition: An inter-neighborhood connection with citywide
significance" includes both exclusive pedestrian and pedestrian-
oriented vehicular streets, e.g. Market, California, Van Ness, 24th.
- On a large scale, the Citywide Pedestrian Network connects much
of the northern part of the city.
- Includes the Bay, Ridge, and Coast trails (part of a regional
- Includes stairways and other exclusive pedestrian walkways.
- Used by commuters, tourists, general public, and recreaters.
- Enhances walking as a primary means of commuting. Connects major
institutions with transit facilities.
- Visible marker/connection throughout to tie network together.
- Pedestrian movement is a priority and should not be compromised.
- Minimize conflicts with other modes.
- Priority street for pedestrian improvements (safety, access,
aesthetics, and circulation)
- Pedestrian scale and orientation for street improvements and
- Use non-obtrusive signage or markers along regional trails (Bay,
Ridge and Coast) to alert pedestrians to changes in trail direction,
and integrate and make consistent with symbols, markers and signage
used throughout the regional system.
Neighborhood Network Street (intra-neighborhood connection)
Definition: A neighborhood commercial, residential, or transit
street that serves pedestrians from the general vicinity. Some Neighborhood
Network Streets may be part of the citywide network, but they are
generally oriented towardsneighborhood serving uses. Types include
exclusive pedestrian and pedestrian-oriented vehicular streets, and living streets.
Neighborhood Commercial Street
Definition: A street in a Neighborhood Commercial District
as identified in the Master Plan. Predominately commercial use withparking
and loading conflicts. e.g. Clement, Castro, West Portal.
- Maintain at least 4 feet unobstructed width for pedestrian
- Encourage pedestrian-oriented uses.
- Priority street for pedestrian improvements (safety, access,
aesthetics, and circulation).
- Maintain a buffer (trees, parking, etc.) between pedestrian
and vehicular circulation.
- Minimum crosswalk requirements.
- Turning movement restrictions in areas with high pedestrian
- Restrictions on curb cuts/auto entrances.
- Coordinated pedestrian improvements to reflect neighborhood
Definition: A Primary Transit Preferential Street as identified
in the Master Plan. e.g. Divisadero, Masonic.
- Enhanced pedestrian/transit connections including bus bulbs,
better stop markings, and transit system/ neighborhood information.
- Maximum distance between crosswalks and transit stops.
- Minimum transit stop treatments including benches, shelters,
Definition: A street within a R zoned district.
- Every street has trees, where sidewalk widths allow.
- Maintain a buffer (trees, parking, etc.) between pedestrian
and vehicular circulation. The extent of buffering is related
to the magnitude of vehicular traffic.
- Capture the street for open space." On streets with sufficient
width and without significant vehicular traftic. (i.e. Duboce
Triangle style improvements)
Neighborhood Network Connection Street
Definition: An intra-neighborhood connection street that
connects neighborhood destinations. e.g. 18th, Vulcan Steps.
- Crosswalks and signals should enhance the pedestrian path of
- Maintain an obstructed width of 4 feet for pedestrian passage.
- Pedestrian scale and orientation for street improvements and
- Maintain a buffer (trees, parking, etc.) between pedestrian
and vehicular circulation.
- Minimize/discourage large volume vehicular traffic ingress and
- Priority street for pedestrian improvements (safety, access,
aesthetics, and circulation).
Where intersections are controlled with a left-turn only traffic signal
phase for automobile traffic, encourage more efficient use of the phase
for pedestrians where safety permits.
Left-turn only phases often occur where the streets
from which the turn is made are wide and heavily-trafficked, and are usually
followed by a red light that activates cross traffic. To help overcome
the pedestrian challenges of street width and traffic volume, the left-turn
phase time may enable pedestrians to begin their crossing earlier when
safety allows. If the left turn is made onto a one-way street, the pedestrian
traffic crossing against the one-way direction would have a relatively
conflict-free opportunity to begin crossing early.
Provide enforcement of traffic and parking regulations to ensure pedestrian
safety, particularly on streets within the Citywide Pedestrian and Neighborhood
Cars that fail to stop at signs and lights, park across
sidewalks and travel at excessive speeds pose serious threats to pedestrian
CONSIDER THE SIDEWALK AREA AS AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN THE CITYWIDE OPEN
Retain streets and alleys not required for traffic, or portions thereof,
for through pedestrian circulation and open space use.
Small streets and alleyways play an important role in the citywide open space system, particularly in areas that are deficient in open space. They should be designed to prioritize the full use of the right-of-way for pedestrians, while accommodating small numbers of slow-moving vehicles where appropriate. Such shared public ways should have appropriate pedestrian and open space elements, traffic calming features, and detection cues for persons with visual impairments or other disabilities.
Partially or wholly close certain streets not required as traffic carriers
for pedestrian use or open space.
Encourage pedestrian serving uses on the sidewalk.
Outdoor café and restaurant seating, merchandise displays, and food vendors all serve to enliven the pedestrian environment. Such uses should be encouraged on appropriate street types, consistent with established guidelines for safety, accessibility, and maintenance.
Encourage and support the development of walking tours incorporating signage
There are a number of organized and semi-organized
walking tours in the City supported by both private and public entities.
Coordination and recognition of these walking tours should be encouraged
and, utilizing an idea popular in other cities, signage or markers to
direct pedestrians along prominent walking routes should be considered
The bicycle is a desirable alternative to the
automobile as a means of urban transportation in San Francisco. It can
successfully be used for most transportation needs, including commuting,
shopping, errands, and recreation. Active encouragement of bicycle use
as an alternative to automobile use, whenever possible, is essential in
light of the continually increasing traffic congestion caused by motorized
vehicles which aggravates air pollution, increases noise levels and consumes
valuable urban space. The bicycle is a practical and economical transportation
alternative which produces no emissions or noise. In addition, each bicycle
user enjoys health benefits through increased physical activity.
To enable a large number of San Franciscans to
use the bicycle as a transportation option, several significant needs
must be met. The needs include, among others, safe and comfortable space
on the roadway for bicyclists, a system of identifiable bicycle routes
that will direct bicyclists to major destinations, safe and secure bicycle
parking, enforcement of laws protecting and regulating cyclists' rights,
safety and responsibilities, and education of both the bicyclists and
motorists about the safe sharing of the roadways.
ENSURE THAT BICYCLES CAN BE USED SAFELY AND CONVENIENTLY AS A PRIMARY
MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, AS WELL AS FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES.
Refer to the 2009 San Francisco Bicycle Plan as a guide for achieving this objective.
Expand and improve access for bicycles on city streets and develop a well-marked,
comprehensive system of bike routes in San Francisco.
- Recommended Near-Term and Long-Term Improvements to the Bicycle Route Network
It is essential that the city have a system of bike
routes which provide safe and reliable through travel to all areas of
the city. These bike routes will necessarily be mostly on city streets,
will provide space for the bicyclist, and may or may not have bicycle
lanes or other markings which separate the bicyclist's space from the
automobile driver's space. The bicycle routes should be clearly identified,
with signage, for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. They should conform
to the standards of the most recent California Highway Design Manual
or the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
(AASHTO) in its "Guide for Development of Bicycle Facilities," whichever is more rigorous. Use of these guides will provide maximum opportunity
to qualify for state and federal funding and will assist in avoiding city
liability based upon design. Advisory and permissive guidelines should
be observed whenever possible.
The Bicycle Route Network should provide efficient access
from all neighborhoods to the many popular business, cultural, entertainment,
and educational destinations in the city, and between those destinations.
Special attention should be paid to commuters to the downtown areas, connections
to the regional bicycle network, and the identification of recommended
routes to school for students. Nevertheless, bicycle access must be provided,
and enhanced if necessary, whether or not the streets are designated as
"bike routes," to enable all residents and visitors to use bicycles
as a viable means of transportation.
Where possible, opportunities should be taken to develop
bicycle-priority corridors, such as veloways (bicycle-only facilities),
bicycle boulevards and any other innovative solutions to improve bicycle
transportation space within the city.
Develop a rational classification system of bicycle preferential streets.
The bicycle preferential streets system should consider
the multi-modal functions of the street, the topography, and the existing
and potential volume of bicycle traffic on the street. Streets and pathways
in the bike route system that are relatively level, do not have conflicts
with high volumes of pedestrian traffic, and do not have the primary functions
of freight routes, major arterials and primary transit streets should
be designed and treated to prioritize the movement of bicycles. Other
streets and paths on the bike route system should be designed and treated
to balance the other modes of transportation with the movement of bicycles.
As with transit preferential streets, general traffic should be routed
away from the bicycle preferential streets system wherever possible, except when they are arterial streets. Note
that some bicycle preferential streets may have to be primary or secondary
arterials or transit preferential streets, if feasible alternatives do
not exist. In general, bicycle preferential streets should include design
treatments that encourage all segments of the population to bicycle, not
only experienced cyclists.
Remove conflicts to bicyclists on all city streets.
City departments should give particular attention to
eliminating conflicts on the Bicycle Route Network routes. Conflicts which may
be inconsequential to automobiles can be disruptive, disabling, or even
life threatening to bicyclists, and are often contributing factors in
collisions involving bicyclists. Design elements such as sewer grates
parallel to travel, unpaved or poorly paved shoulders, rough and/or obsolete
railroad tracks (especially those crossing bicyclists paths at a diagonal),
and conventional speed bumps all pose conflicts for cyclists and should
be removed. Intermittent disruptions such as uneven road surfaces, cracks and
pot holes, and refuse such as broken glass should be removed promptly.
The city should give increased attention to maintenance and more frequent
cleaning to Bicycle Route Network streets because of the increased needs
of cyclists for a debris-free road surface. Bicycle routes should be well
lit. Although priority shall be given to bicycle routes, conflicts to cyclists
should be eliminated on all city streets.
Maintain a presumption against the use of demand-activated traffic signals
on designated bicycle routes.
Demand-activated traffic signals favor motor-vehicle
traffic over bicyclists and pedestrians, and are relatively uncommon in
San Francisco. Where they do occur, the signal must be triggered to secure
enough time to cross. Otherwise, only a very short time is allocated --
for crossing motor vehicle traffic, not bicyclists. As such, demand-activated
traffic signals present an inconvenience to bicyclists.
Make available bicycle route and commuter information and encourage increased
use of bicycle transportation.
San Francisco's healthful climate and compactness make
travel by bicycle practical, but cyclists need to know the most efficient
ways to traverse the city's many hills. Optimum routes exist to cross
all areas of the city by bicycle, but these routes must be identified
to the public. The city should provide route maps to enable potential
bicycle commuters and others using the bicycle for transportation to find
the most efficient routes to their destinations. Such maps should also
identify recreational bicycle routes, including the San Francisco portions
of the Ridge Trail and the Bay Trail.
Where appropriate, methods of identifying bikeways
will include a clear, efficient system of bicycle route signs. Destination
directions should be indicated with each sign.
Accommodate bicycles on local and regional transit facilities and important
regional transportation links wherever and whenever feasible.
The ability to integrate bicycle use and regional transportation
systems is essential to maximizing the bicycle's transportation utility.
The Bay Area is fortunate to have a number of quality public transportation
services. The expansion of bicycle access on each of these systems increases
the bicycle's range and usefulness and further decreases the number of
auto trips made in the Bay Area.
Every effort must be made to maximize bicycle access
on BART, CalTrain, all ferry systems, and on AC Transit, SamTrans and
Golden Gate Transit buses and on selected Municipal Railway routes. Further,
CalTrans shuttle service across the Bay Bridge should be expanded so it
is available at all hours. Twenty-four hour access to all Bay Area bridges
is essential to maintain these vital links within the bicycle transportation
Many commuters to San Francisco work outside of downtown and drive
alone, contributing to peak hour congestion. If regional transit expanded
peak hour bicycle capacity and reduced peak hour bicycle time restrictions,
these commuters could bicycle to and from transit at one or both ends
of their transit trip - an attractive choice to driving alone. This would
also reduce parking demand at BART stations and park-and-ride lots.
Include bicycle facility funding in all appropriate requests.
Bicycle transportation funding should be integrated
into all appropriate state and federally funded transportation projects,
especially those related to safety, transportation, recreation, and mass
transit. Funds earmarked specifically for bicycle facilities should be
pursued, based on an identified list of priority projects. Transportation
planning should be integrated to include consideration of present and
potential bikeways in all analyses.
Prevent bicycle accidents though bicycle safety education and improved
traffic law enforcement.
Education of bicyclists and appropriate training should
be made available at a wide variety of sources. These may include education
of employees at work sites as part of alternative transportation education,
to students at schools and colleges, and to new riders through bicycle
shops and dealers.
Cars that fail to use turn signals, park in bike lanes,
travel at excessive speeds and car passengers which open doors without
looking pose serious threats to the safety of bicyclists. Education of
motorists, bicyclists and the public should be actively and vigorously
pursued. Such avenues may include billboards and public service messages,
motor vehicle licensing procedures, traffic schools, and driver education
and driver training courses. The cyclist's equal right to the road, as
well as the responsibilities in using this access, should be emphasized.
Traffic enforcement should extend to protection of
bicyclists' rights-of-way which are often violated by motorists. Special
emphasis also needs to be placed upon theft prevention and investigation.
Special training for police officers concerning bicycle-related laws and
concerns should be included in their academy and in-service training.
Identify and expand recreational bicycling opportunities.
Although many of the commuter routes will also serve
recreational cyclists, such as those accessing tourist attractions and
natural and scenic areas, other routes should be designed to accommodate
recreational cyclists. Special attention should be paid to identify and
map popular recreational destinations which may not be on regular through
commuter routes, such as around Lake Merced, routes to the zoo, or parts
of the Bay Trail and the Ridge Trail. Such routes should also be designated
on the bicycle route map developed for San Francisco.
Accommodate bicycles in the design and selection of traffic control facilities.
As the application of new technology to traffic control
increases, traffic engineers more frequently are using automatic sensing
devices to detect, count and monitor traffic and to control traffic signals,
signal timing, and other traffic control devices. The technology of such
sensing devices should be improved to detect and respond to the presence
of bicycles as they use the roadway.
Ensure completion of the Bay and Ridge Trails in San Francisco.
The Bay Trail is a planned 500-mile hiking and bicycling
trail that will form a continuous loop around San Francisco Bay and San
Pablo Bay, linking the shorelines of nine counties and 47 cities. The
trail functions as a regional recreational and commute route along the
edge of the bay and across seven toll bridges. Over 250 miles are complete,
but there are numerous gaps to fill.
The Bay Trail alignment in San Francisco is part of
the city bicycle network extending 20 miles along the length of the city
shoreline from the Golden Gate Bridge to Candlestick Point State Recreation
Area. Approximately 12 miles are complete. Improving the remaining segments
will ensure designated bicycle access along the of the city linking the
city bicycle network to adjacent counties and the regional trail system.
The Bay Area Ridge Trail is another regional trail that is being developed in the Bay. The trail is envisioned as a 550+ mile recreational trail encircling San Francisco Bay that is aligned along the ridge tops. The Bay Area Ridge Trail ultimately will be a 550+ mile trail encircling the San Francisco Bay along the ridge tops. The Ridge Trail is open to hikers, bicyclists and in some areas is available for equestrian use. Approximately 310 miles of the Ridge Trail have been dedicated for public use, but there are significant gaps to fill.
In San Francisco, much of the Ridge Trail is in place, primarily running on public rights-of-way and use is limited to pedestrians, hikers and bicyclists. The Ridge Trail alignment links a number of parks in San Francisco, primarily those along the City’s primary ridgeline and hilltops, including Twin Peaks, the Golden Gate Panhandle, and the Presidio. The trail alignment continues across the Golden Gate Bridge, establishing the connection with the Bay Area Ridge Trail in Marin County and the North Bay. While the trail alignment is in place in San Francisco, improvements to Ridge Trail segments in San Francisco would improve the City Bicycle and Pedestrian trail network as well as the regional trail network in Cities and Counties throughout the Bay Region.
PROVIDE SECURE AND CONVENIENT PARKING FACILITIES FOR BICYCLES.
Theft and vandalism of locked bicycles is a major problem
in San Francisco. This ever-increasing threat is a significant deterrent
to increased bicycle use. Cyclists will use their bicycles more frequently,
and for more different types of trips, if they have a secure and reasonably
convenient parking facility at their destination. Adequate parking is
crucial to the increased and continued use of bicycles.
Provide secure bicycle parking in new governmental, commercial, and residential
Bicycle parking should be provided in all new public
and private buildings. The Planning Code should provide clearer regulation, guidance and exemptions for bicycle parking, as well as the necessary monitoring and enforcement of requirements. Review, update, and consolidate the Planning Code
criteria for bicycle parking in garages and new or remodeled government
and commercial buildings. The Planning Code should be reviewed to reconcile
contradictions, and amended to forge a more comprehensive approach to
bicycle commuting facilities. This approach should include such elements
as expanded shower access and improved commercial district bicycle parking
unbundled from automobile parking space requirements. The Planning Code
should require a greater residential bicycle parking requirement, structured
as a ratio of dwelling units rather than as a ratio of auto parking spaces.
In order to provide additional storage options to bicyclists, consider requirements that building owners allow tenants to bring their bicycles into buildings unless Class I bicycle parking is provided. In addition, consider requirements for bicycle parking in each individual building of large, multiple-building developments.
Provide secure bicycle parking at existing city buildings and facilities
and encourage it in existing commercial and residential buildings.
The city should encourage the owners of existing commercial
and residential buildings to provide safe and secure bicycle parking,
and encourage such building owners to provide storage lockers and shower
facilities where feasible.
Managers of city buildings and other city facilities
should endeavor to provide safe and convenient bicycle parking facilities
at these locations. Storage lockers and shower facilities should be provided
Provide parking facilities which are safe, secure, and convenient.
Bicycle parking facilities must provide reliable security,
adequate bicycle support, safety, and must be conveniently located. Bicycle
parking facilities are preferably located where bicycles are sheltered
from the weather and visible to attendants and security guards, accessible
(such as by key or code) only to those who have parked bicycles, or located
entirely inside non-garage parts of the building. If these resources are
present, bicyclists will use such bicycle parking in increasing numbers.
Proper bicycle parking design is critical to its usefulness
and effectiveness. Bicycle parking must be of a design to support the
bicycle without damage and permit at least the frame and one wheel to
be locked with a U-lock, but provide reasonable security with any type
of lock. Bicycle parking facilities should be conveniently located at
building entrances, provide sufficient space for access, and be physically
separated from automobile areas. Bicycle parking in publicly-accessible
garages should be well signed to notify the public of the presence of
bike parking (e.g., at garage entrances and other appropriate locations), as well as direct cyclists to the location of the parking. Also, maintain a SFMTA bicycle parking outreach campaign in various formats to provide relevant bicycle parking information such as garage locations with bicycle parking and bicycle locker availability.
Prepare additional guidelines for the placement and design of bicycle parking within City rights-of-way, including curbside on-street bicycle parking where feasible, and “sleeve” ring racks on parking meters.
Provide bicycle parking at all transit terminals.
Enabling bicycle access to transit connections encourages
transit use and further decreases automobile use. In order for cyclists
to consider using bicycle transportation to go to and from bus terminals,
BART stations, train stations, ferry terminals, and park-and-ride lots,
such locations must provide safe and secure bicycle parking. Such parking
should be ample and should be of a high security type.
Provide bicycle parking at major recreational facilities and at all large
sports, cultural, or other heavily attended events.
Provide convenient, secure, and inexpensive bicycle
parking at major recreational facilities and large sports, cultural, or
other heavily attended events to encourage bicycle use and further decrease
automobile use. In order for cyclists to consider using bicycle transportation
to go to and from these facilities and events, safe and secure bicycle
parking must be provided. Such parking should be ample and should be of
a high security type. Free valet bicycle parking, such as provided at
the baseball stadium, has proved very successful. Promotional materials
for these events and facilities should highlight the provision of secure
bicycle parking, especially if valet bicycle parking is provided.
Provide for improved regulation of bicycle parking.
The Planning Code should provide for the citywide regulation of bicycle parking facilities. A comprehensive review of the existing regulatory structure could improve the monitoring of requirements in new and renovated buildings; existing parking garages requiring increased enforcement; city schools and local colleges; residential development requiring new ratios based on the number and occupancy of housing units and bedrooms; and city-owned and city-leased buildings requiring increased bicycle parking capacity. City leases should be negotiated to include the required level of bicycle parking through the efforts of the Real Estate Department and the MTA.
CITY GOVERNMENT SHOULD PLAY A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN INCREASING BICYCLE USE.
City government should play a leadership role in enabling
more people to use the bicycle as their primary means of transportation.
According to the 2009 San Francisco Bicycle Plan, the city should
provide the facilities, programs and regulatory structure to enable such
use, and should encourage the use of bicycles for work trips as an alternative
to city cars.
Consider the needs of bicycling and the improvement of bicycle accommodations
in all city decisions.
Genuine recognition and active accommodation of bicyclists'
needs by all city departments in decisions related to transportation and
land use is essential to the development of a significant bicycle transportation
presence in San Francisco. Bicycle planning should be integrated into
all short-range and long-range planning in all relevant City departments.
Coordination between the Department of Parking and Traffic's Bicycle Program
and other City departments should be improved. A working group should
be created with representatives from relevant City departments, and should
meet on a quarterly basis to discuss departmental and agency issues relevant
to bicycle planning. In addition, periodic meetings should be held between the SFMTA and the Planning Department to update bicycle parking compliance status and review bicycle parking information.
Often, minor and inexpensive adjustments at a project's
design phase can provide considerable benefits to bicyclists. Furthermore,
inclusion of accommodations for cyclists when a project is designed can
avoid expensive retrofitting later.
Through the cooperative efforts of the City’s Real Estate Department, the Planning Department, and the SFMTA, pursue a citywide policy that provides secure bicycle parking at all City buildings in areas to be specified by the individual agencies, subject to safety regulations and available space.
Coordination with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) should focus on making bicycle theft investigation a higher priority, creating a better system for returning recovered bicycles to their owners.
Integrate bicycle planning into regular short-range and long-range planning
activities for all city departments.
Every effort should be made to ensure that bicycle
transportation is given thorough consideration in all planning activities.
Full integration of bicycle transportation requires evaluation of the
range of impacts which any transportation or development proposal may
have upon bicycle use and bicyclists' safety. This applies not only to
city departments but also to the various other entities whose activities
affect mobility in San Francisco. Insofar as is possible, city departments
should endeavor to develop an effective network of bicycle facilities
Ensure adequate and appropriate environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act for the Bicycle Plan and all discretionary actions under the Bicycle Plan that may have a direct or indirect physical environmental impact. Consider updating the transportation impact guidelines to include analysis of bicycle-related issues when evaluating impacts of new projects.
Work with the responsible San Francisco agencies to collect where appropriate: bicycle counts; an inventory of existing bicycle parking within a two-block radius of the study site; and the project's potential impacts on any existing or proposed bikeways.
Designate appropriate staff to coordinate all bicycle related activities.
A successful bicycle program requires cooperation among
a variety of city departments, including the Departments of City Planning,
Parking and Traffic, Public Works, the Chief Administrator's Office, the
Public Transportation Department, and the Transportation Authority, as
well as various State and other government agencies. Appropriate staff
should be designated to be responsible for the coordination of bicycle-related
activities to ensure that projects and plans that involve many departments
are carried out effectively. Work with the responsible San Francisco agencies to collect where appropriate: bicycle counts; an inventory of existing bicycle parking within a two-block radius of the study site; and the project's potential impacts on any existing or proposed bikeways.
Encourage non-cyclists to become cyclists and encourage cyclists to ride
The city should create opportunities for new cyclists
to have a positive bicycling experience, provide incentives for bicycle
users, and promote public awareness and acceptance of bicycle transportation
and recreational cycling. The city should establish programs to encourage
bicycling by city employees including, where practical, for work-related
travel, urge private employers to encourage and accommodate bicycle commuting
(by providing, for example, incentives and parking, showers, and lockers),
and encourage bicycle tourism through existing tourism promotion channels.
This section is organized to first address the Objectives
and Policies related to parking citywide, then specifically to the distinct
areas of downtown (primarily the area zoned C-3), and then the residential
and commercial areas outside downtown.
ENSURE THAT THE PROVISION OF NEW OR ENLARGED PARKING FACILITIES DOES NOT
ADVERSELY AFFECT THE LIVABILITY AND DESIRABILITY OF THE CITY AND ITS VARIOUS
Assure that new or enlarged parking facilities meet need, locational and
A proposed parking facility should be evaluated as
carefully as other proposed additions to the transportation system. Proposed
new or enlarged facilities should be reviewed according to Master Plan
policies, and Planning Code criteria for parking facilities. The facility
should not be developed unless the following criteria are met:
- There is a demonstrated demand for additional
parking space in the surrounding area in relation to the supply provided
or resulting from a specific development.
- All or part of this demand cannot reasonably be
diverted to or served by existing transit service or transit which could
reasonably be provided in the near future.
- This demand cannot be met by existing available
facilities or more efficient use of existing facilities.
- In the case of desired accessory parking (i.e. parking
customarily provided incidental to a permitted use and directly related
to the activities conducted on the site of the use) its need is clearly
established and not presumed.
- Provision of the facility does not result in the
demolition of sound residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
- The traffic generated by the facility will not create
a substantial adverse effect on the surrounding city streets (especially
residential streets) and corridors leading into the city.
- The facility, viewed in the local and citywide context
of parking supplied and trips generated, will not discourage the possible
diversion of current automobile users to transit.
- The location is appropriate in terms of adjacent
- The proposed site and facility are in close proximity
to or readily accessible from freeway ramps or major arterials.
- Conflict between pedestrian and bicycle movements
and driveways or ramps is minimized and additional auto traffic through
areas of heavy pedestrian concentration is avoided.
- There is not substantial conflict with existing
or future patterns of other forms of transportation, especially transit,
and access avoids use of transit preferential streets.
- Consideration has been given to the inclusion of
other uses in order to maximize use of scarce land resources and integrate
the structure into the surrounding neighborhood.
- Access or egress is not primarily from streets or
alleys having predominantly residential use.
- When a parking garage is proposed, the structure
is in scale with existing structures in the area, and when located in
commercial districts includes commercial frontage in order to avoid
blank street level facades.
- The design and operating policy of the facility
is such that vehicles can be admitted rapidly, to avoid the use of the
street as a waiting area for entrance into the facility and to avoid
the situation of automobiles idling for a long period of time.
- A portion of spaces is reserved for compact automobiles
- Adequate provisions are made to accommodate parking
and egress for people with mobility impairments.
- Secure, convenient bicycle parking is provided.
- All or portions of the facility are convertible
to other uses if demand for parking is reduced in the future.
- An equity program for patrons and employees who
do not use auto parking facilities is offered at establishments where
private auto parking is validated or subsidized, such as the provision
of transit fare validations or "cash-out".
- All relevant provisions of the Traffic Code and
the ADA are met.
Discourage the proliferation of surface parking as an interim land use,
particularly where sound residential, commercial or industrial buildings
would be demolished pending other development.
As an integral part of the transportation system, the
location of any parking supply must be evaluated in like terms to the
location of any roadway or transit line. Where parking lots are temporary
uses on land in the development process, autos are attracted to these
areas, creating a travel pattern based on expected availability of parking,
which creates even greater difficulties whenever such a temporary facility
is eventually terminated.
Maximize the efficient use of land devoted to parking by consolidating
adjacent surface lots and garages into a parking structure, possibly containing
residential, commercial or other uses.
This applies both to existing and planned parking facilities.
Surface parking may be particularly undesirable when it results in the
demolition of needed housing or inexpensive industrial space suitable
for incubator industry.
Restrict long term automobile parking at rapid transit stations in the
city in favor of development of effective feeder transit service and enhanced
access for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Many of the rapid transit stations in San Francisco
are located in densely developed downtown areas or in residential or shopping
areas where additional automobile impacts are undesirable. These stations
are located in such a manner that they may generally be reached by San
Francisco residents either by connecting transit by walking, or by bicycling.
The commuter use of the automobile to park at a rapid transit station
in San Francisco should be discouraged. While it is desirable to provide
bicycle storage and parking facilities at rapid transit stations, long-term
automobile parking facilities are undesirable because such facilities
would attract automobile traffic and otherwise be disruptive to the neighborhoods
where they would be located.
In any large development, allocate a portion of the provided off-street
parking spaces for compact automobiles, vanpools, bicycles and motorcycles
commensurate with standards that are, at a minimum, representative of
their proportion of the city's vehicle population.
Make existing and new accessory parking available to nearby residents
and the general public for use as short-term or evening parking when not
being utilized by the business or institution to which it is accessory.
A major reservoir of parking spaces, accessory to particular
businesses or institutions, is currently in use only during the daytime
working hours of those particular businesses and remains vacant and inaccessible
at other times. In many instances this space could be used in the evening
by residents of the immediate neighborhood or their guests, and in the
evening and on weekends by visitors and patrons of adjacent businesses
that operate during those hours.
Limit and screen from view from public access areas parking facilities
over the water, and near the water's edge where such parking interferes
with public access.
Where feasible, existing and proposed non-maritime
parking facilities over or near the water's edge that impede public visual
or physical access to the Bay should be removed or relocated.
Consider lowering the number of automobile parking spaces required in buildings where Class I bicycle parking is provided.
ESTABLISH PARKING RATES AND OFF-STREET PARKING FARE STRUCTURES TO REFLECT
THE FULL COSTS, MONETARY AND ENVIRONMENTAL, OF PARKING IN THE CITY.
Set rates to encourage short-term over long term automobile parking.
Where off-street parking near institutions and in commercial areas outside
downtown is in short supply, set parking rates to encourage higher turnover
and more efficient use of the parking supply.
Encourage equity between drivers and non-drivers by offering transit fare
validations and/or cash-out parking programs where off-street parking
is validated or subsidized.
LIMIT PARKING IN DOWNTOWN TO HELP ENSURE THAT THE NUMBER OF AUTO TRIPS
TO AND FROM DOWNTOWN WILL NOT BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE GROWTH OR AMENITY
Discourage new long-term commuter parking spaces for single-occupant automobiles
in and around downtown. Limit the long-term parking spaces to the number
that already exists.
When it must be provided, locate any new long-term parking structures
in the areas peripheral to downtown. Any new peripheral parking structures
should be concentrated to make transit service convenient and efficient,
connected to transit shuttle service to downtown, and provide preferred
space and rates for van and car pool vehicles, bicycles and motorcycles.
Encourage short-term use of existing parking spaces within and adjacent
to downtown by converting all-day commuter parking to short-term parking
in areas of high demand.
14 - Downtown Short-Term
Where residential streets that are adjacent to or within the downtown
area are used for on-street, long-term commuter parking, implement measures
to promote short-term parking and discourage long-term commuter parking.
When the priority functions of service vehicle access and pedestrian movement
are sufficiently accommodated on downtown alleys, the function of remaining
alley space should be designated for motorcycle parking, primarily short-term.
CONTAIN AND LESSEN THE TRAFFIC AND PARKING IMPACT OF INSTITUTIONS ON SURROUNDING
Many institutions already have physical expansions
planned, and the employment levels projected indicate that institutions
will have even greater traffic and parking impacts on residential areas
unless strong efforts are made to accommodate the employment growth by
transit or other alternatives to the automobile.
Limit the provision of long-term automobile parking facilities at institutions
and encourage such institutions to regulate existing facilities to assure
use by short-term clients and visitors.
Although there are some trips to institutions which
are appropriately made by automobile, especially for medical appointments
and hospital visits, work trips should be made by transit wherever possible.
Institutions should take effective measures to reduce the amount of traffic
and parking generated by the development and should develop and implement
transit action plans accordingly. In addition to the criteria for new
parking facilities in Objective 30, Policy 1, new parking provided by
institutions should be carefully designed to favor short-term, carpool
or bicycle parking for trips which cannot reasonably be made on transit.
Protect residential neighborhoods from the parking impacts of nearby traffic
Residents should be given preference in the use of
residential neighborhood on-street parking spaces where traffic congestion
and parking shortages generated by institutions, schools, shopping districts,
recreational facilities or rapid transit stations have contributed to
the deterioration of the residential environment. The preferential parking
concept may reduce parking congestion in residential neighborhoods caused
by long-term non-residential parkers, facilitate residents access to on-street
parking close to their homes, provide for access to convenient parking
by visitors of neighborhood residents and allow convenient parking for
vehicles being used by people providing essential services to neighborhood
RELATE THE AMOUNT OF PARKING IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS AND NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL
DISTRICTS TO THE CAPACITY OF THE CITY'S STREET SYSTEM AND LAND USE PATTERNS.
The increasing level of vehicle ownership by city residents
indicates the need for improved transit services throughout the city.
It also indicates the need for parking facilities is continuing and raises
serious questions about the level of automobile ownership which can be
supported by the street and parking system. Since much of the city's housing,
especially in the more densely developed areas, was built prior to the
time when the automobile became the dominant mode of travel, off-street
parking spaces do not exist in adequate numbers. The size of many streets
and the need to provide free flows for traffic limits the number of on-street
spaces. Just as the street system cannot accommodate all potential traffic,
so the city cannot provide for an unlimited level of automobile storage.
A reasonable level must be provided for and measures should be considered
to discourage vehicle accumulations beyond that level.
Regulate off-street parking in new housing so as to guarantee needed spaces
without requiring excesses and to encourage low auto ownership in neighborhoods
that are well served by transit and are convenient to neighborhood shopping.
Some neighborhoods have large numbers of persons using
transit to go to work and have significant numbers of no-auto or one-auto
households. This pattern should be encouraged and reflected in off-street
residential parking requirements, and in the provision for safe, secure
bicycle parking facilities for all residential units.
Use of common parking facilities for several buildings
should be encouraged where existing buildings can be used for this purpose
in nearby commercial areas. There may be a place for public provision
and leasing of long-term resident parking in already developed parking
facilities in high-density neighborhoods.
Use existing street space to increase residential parking where off-street
facilities are inadequate.
Local streets are of such width in many areas that improved parking conditions can be obtained by shifting from parallel to diagonal or perpendicular parking without a major investment. Care must be taken, however, to avoid conflicts with transit operations and safe bicycle movement (considering both adequate lane width and potential conflicts with vehicles backing out of parking spaces), and to ensure that the street is more than a parking lot. Proper landscaping is required to prevent lights from shining into dwellings at night and breaks in rows of cars should be provided to avoid the monotony and unsightliness of unending rows of vehicles. Back-in diagonal or perpendicular parking should be considered as an option to reduce bicycle-motor vehicle conflicts.
Permit minimal or reduced off-street parking supply for new buildings
in residential and commercial areas adjacent to transit centers and along
transit preferential streets.
Where there is a high concentration of transit service,
as in the northeastern portions of the city, census tract figures indicate
that residents are less likely to own automobiles and more likely to use
public transit. High-density housing and housing for the elderly are already
eligible for reductions in the standard provisions for off-street parking,
enabling the building sponsors to build more economically. These buildings
should be encouraged where transit service is plentiful and comprehensive.
Where parking demand is greatest in city neighborhoods, consider wide-scale
transit improvements as an alternative to additional parking garages as
part of a balanced solution.
A great demand for parking in city neighborhoods indicates
that available transit services are insufficiently attractive or convenient.
Transit improvements could not effectively relieve or replace the demand
for expanded off-street parking unless they were extensive and well-connected
to local crosstown and radial transit lines and regional transit.
Minimize the construction of new curb cuts in areas where on-street parking
is in short supply and locate them in a manner such that they retain or
minimally diminish the number of existing on-street parking spaces.
It is desirable to maintain a balance in the supply
of adequate on- and off-street parking. The creation of curb cuts to increase
the supply of off-street parking often deprives the neighborhood of a
community on-street parking space in exchange for a private one. New buildings
may be designed so that entrances to off-street parking are pooled or
configured to minimize curb cuts and preserve the supply of on-street
parking. An increased number of curb cuts also increases the number of
potential conflicts between motor vehicles and bicycles.
MEET SHORT-TERM PARKING NEEDS IN NEIGHBORHOOD SHOPPING DISTRICTS CONSISTENT
WITH PRESERVATION OF A DESIRABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR PEDESTRIANS AND RESIDENTS.
Provide convenient on-street parking specifically designed to meet the
needs of shoppers dependent upon automobiles.
Automobile use is often necessary for shopping trips
involving the purchase of bulky items such as groceries or where there
are many stops to be made at different places far apart. Where additional
short-term parking is demonstrated to be needed and essential to a shopping
district, it should be provided at the least economic and environmental
cost to the neighborhood and the city. As an alternative, however, retail
delivery services should be encouraged.
Assure that new neighborhood shopping district parking facilities and
other auto-oriented uses meet established guidelines.
In addition to the criteria for new parking facilities
in Objective 30, Policy 1, the following guidelines should be considered
in the review of proposed new facilities in Neighborhood Commercial Districts.
- Parking Facilities should be located to provide
convenient access to desired shopping destinations. However, they should
be located in such a manner that lessens the amount of traffic traveling
through the district, does not disrupt the continuity of the shopping
district, and that neither gives it priority over nor impedes access
to destinations for persons arriving by transit, bicycle or on foot.
- Multiple use of parking structures and lots should
be provided wherever feasible. The use of roof tops of garage structures
as game/play areas in densely populated neighborhoods, use of surface
parking lots as tennis courts or soccer fields on days when the shopping
districts are closed, or use of the facilities for resident parking
in the evening are all possibilities which should be considered.
- The location and configuration of curb cuts
and entrances to off-street parking should be designed to minimize safety
hazards and access conflicts to pedestrians, transit operations and
bicyclists, and to be sensitive to the design and scale of the urban
This section is aimed at improving the movement of
goods (as distinct from people) by all modes to, from, within, and through
San Francisco. Although the Transportation Element is primarily focused
on person movements, much of our public infrastructure for transportation
serves the movement of both people and freight. Managing urban goods movement
serves to enhance economic development, reduce traffic congestion, and
contribute to other social goals. Adverse effects such as traffic accidents,
noise, vibration, emissions and truck intrusion into residential areas
are concerns which must be addressed.
These objectives and policies highlight issues related
to intra-urban goods transport internal to San Francisco. This section
also distinguishes between traffic with both origin and destination in
the city's boundaries, such as unloading/pickup activities downtown, and
goods transport of greater distances. The movement of goods to and from
the San Francisco Bay Area involves other transportation modes in addition
to roads, including intermodal freight terminals at port piers and backlands,
rail terminals and airports. San Francisco in particular, with its peninsular
location, poses complicated challenges in the development of routes, facilities
and access points. Enhanced connections to consolidated intermodal terminals,
multiple rail servers and regional highways are key to the efficient movement
Across the country and, in particular, for San Francisco,
future trends in the movement of urban freight can be characterized as
follows: An increasing suburbanization and containerization of urban freight
warehousing; a growth in location dependent service industries; policy
debate on the preservation of industrial zones; a move toward "just
in time" production methods; customers demanding higher levels of
capacity, frequency, punctuality, reliability and flexibility to accommodate
the higher value of goods which modern industry is producing; a proliferation
of commercial and courier vehicles; telecommuting and its potential impacts
on the demand for courier and messenger services; increasing awareness
and regulation of hazardous materials transport; rising costs of waste
disposal; increased importance of infrastructure upgrades and the associated
logistical problems; accelerated pressure for parking and curbside facilities;
and a greater community concern about the impacts of the freight industry.
PROMOTE FREIGHT DELIVERY/PICKUP TRAFFIC AS NECESSARY FOR THE ECONOMIC
VITALITY OF SAN FRANCISCO AND THE BAY REGION.
Support urban goods movement networks in San Francisco, especially in
the areas reserved for industrial development and in neighborhood commercial
Coordinate with appropriate governmental agencies to anticipate and accommodate
the needs of both local and through freight traffic in future growth areas
in San Francisco.
Encourage and facilitate the bicycle as a courier vehicle in congested
areas, especially in the downtown area.
Bicycle messenger services are often the fastest, most
efficient and most economical means of transporting small goods, particularly
in the downtown area. Provisions for safe and comfortable bicycle -- as
well as pedestrian -- movement should be made in the design and improvement
CREATE A PHYSICAL AND ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE TO THE EXPANSION
OF SAN FRANCISCO'S INDUSTRIAL, MARITIME, AND AIRPORT ACTIVITIES BY ENSURING
TRUCK/SERVICE VEHICLE AND RAIL ACCESS AND EGRESS TO THESE USES.
Provide sufficient curbside and off-street facilities to rail, piers and
air terminals where freight movement is dominant, and particularly where
it conflicts with other transportation modes and functions.
Improve and maintain intermodal rail freight handling capacity to the
Port and other industrial areas by improving bridges and tunnels along
the waterfront to accommodate all types of freight rail cargo.
Enhance access and circulation between highways, freight facilities and
intermodal transfer points on the waterfront for trucks and other service
Promote water-based transportation such as freight ferries and waterfront
shuttles between San Francisco and other waterfront terminals around the
Bay to supplement land-based modes of freight travel.
Shuttling freight across the bay by "freight"
ferries between Bay Area ports and landside railheads allows for the transfer,
staging and intermodal movement of goods at a greater number of Bay Area
locations, including San Francisco. Such efforts would strengthen the
ports of the region as a whole, and help make them competitive with other
metropolitan ports on the West Coast.
DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN SELECTED MAJOR AND SECONDARY ARTERIALS TO PROVIDE
EFFICIENT AND DIRECT ROUTES FOR TRUCKS/SERVICE VEHICLES INTO AND THROUGH
SAN FRANCISCO WITHOUT DISTURBING NEIGHBORHOOD AREAS AND INHIBITING THE
SAFE MOVEMENT OF TRANSIT VEHICLES, BICYCLES AND PEDESTRIANS.
- Freight Traffic Routes
Improve the existing regional network of truck routes by making designated
routes in San Francisco convenient for non-local freight trips with the
aim of making the routes direct and connected to other routes.
Reduce truck trips through San Francisco that have origins and destinations
outside the City and the peninsula by promoting viable alternate truck
routes and access across bay bridges that are not as subject to traffic
congestion as the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Many freight trips through
the Bay Area that do not need to travel to San Francisco or the peninsula
may be made more quickly and efficiently by taking routes such as 680
or I-5 that bypass the congested conditions of the bridges and freeways
in the central Bay Area.
MAKE FREEWAY AND MAJOR SURFACE STREET IMPROVEMENTS TO ACCOMMODATE AND
ENCOURAGE TRUCK/SERVICE VEHICLE TRAFFIC IN INDUSTRIAL AREAS AWAY FROM
Establish and maintain advisory truck routes, with clear signage, between
industrial areas and freeway interchanges to enhance truck access and
to clearly and visibly attract truck traffic away from residential neighborhoods.
Accommodate heavy vehicles with extra-legal loads on major truck routes
by ensuring vertical clearances, appropriate intersection design for maneuvering
and providing signal timing to allow smooth truck progression.
Implement measures to reduce adverse affects from trucks/service vehicles
and rail traffic by enforcing restrictions on certain routes, specific
areas or times of day.
ENFORCE A PARKING AND LOADING STRATEGY FOR FREIGHT DISTRIBUTION TO REDUCE
CONGESTION AFFECTING OTHER VEHICULAR TRAFFIC AND ADVERSE IMPACTS ON PEDESTRIAN
Provide off-street facilities for freight loading and service vehicles
on the site of new buildings sufficient to meet the demands generated
by the intended uses. Seek opportunities to create new off-street loading
facilities for existing buildings.
One way to address deficiencies
in freight- loading facilities for existing buildings is to make short-term
parking for loading and deliveries a high priority use of adjacent curb
Discourage access to off-street freight loading and service vehicle facilities
from transit preferential streets pedestrian-oriented streets and
alleys, or on the Bicycle Route Network by providing alternative access
routes to facilities.
Off-street loading facilities and spaces in the downtown area should be
enclosed and accessible by private driveways designed to minimize conflicts
with pedestrian, transit, bicycle and automobile traffic.
Driveways and curb cuts should be designed to avoid maneuvering on sidewalks
or in street traffic, and when crossing sidewalks, they should be only
as wide as necessary to accomplish this function.
Loading docks and freight elevators should be located conveniently and
sized sufficiently to maximize the efficiency of loading and unloading
activity and to discourage deliveries into lobbies or ground floor locations
except at freight-loading facilities.
Encourage consolidation of freight deliveries and night-time deliveries
in the downtown C-3 zoning districts to increase efficiency of freight
movement and reduce congestion.
Strictly enforce yellow and special truck loading zones throughout San
Francisco to facilitate delivery/pickups and reduce traffic congestion
caused by double-parking.
Provide limited curbside loading spaces to meet the need for short-term
One of the major sources of
transit operation and traffic conflicts is the extent of double-parking
by courier services and other short-term delivery vehicles. Places of
business that use courier service extensively should accommodate deliveries,
pick-ups and drop-offs through the provision of on-street or off-street
parking and loading space.
Where possible, mitigate the undesirable effects of noise, vibration and
emission by limiting late evening and early hour loading and unloading
in retail, institutional, and industrial facilities abutting residential
This policy presents conflicts
that need to be worked out on a case-by-case basis as a balance between
the livability of these residential neighborhoods and goods movement activity.
In certain areas, deliveries may be confined to early evening post-peak
hours without difficulty, but on the other hand, intensive truck traffic
and freight rail movement must occur during off-peak hours because of
congestion on highways and shared passenger/freight rail facilities during