A major artery for Golden Gate Park visitors in the Richmond District may soon see car traffic cut nearly in half.
Cars will be diverted off Eighth Avenue onto nearby streets and slowed with speed humps for the creation of a “neighborway,” a street concept that emphasizes smoother bike and pedestrian access.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency concluded its last public hearing on the Eighth Avenue neighborway in mid-October, and the effort is now entering its final design stage, with SFMTA
board approval scheduled for January.
For neighbor and Go Geary advocacy group member Winston Parsons, the effort to make Eighth Avenue safer is too little, too late. He lives above the intersection and has witnessed multiple car collisions there, which he attributed to speed and vehicle volume.
“The worst crash I saw there was a car flipped over into the intersection,” Parsons said. This was in January, under the watchful eyes of the prowling cougar and bear statues at either side of the Golden Gate Park entrance.
Drivers frequently roll up Eighth Avenue from Geary Boulevard to head to Golden Gate Park and, similarly, exit the park down Eighth Avenue back to Geary.
The SFMTA clocks the daily traffic on Eighth Avenue, from Anza to Balboa streets, at 4,700 vehicles a day — far above the “ideal” for a neighborway, which is 1,500 vehicles a day.
The creation of a neighborway would drop that number to 2,100 vehicles a day, according to the SFMTA, which would increase car traffic along Seventh, Ninth and 10th avenues. That’s in no small part due to proposed forced turns on Eighth Avenue and Balboa Street for southbound vehicles, and Eighth Avenue and Anza Street for northbound vehicles, creating a safer path of travel for cyclists and pedestrians.
Vehicle access at Fulton Street would not change under the proposal.
“Daylighting” techniques to make walkways more visible, as well as new signage and paint, would be installed along the corridor. About 10 speed humps would be installed along Eighth Avenue as well, four on Ninth Avenue and four on Seventh Avenue. A four-way stop sign would also be installed at Eighth Avenue and Lake Street.
In emails to Supervisor Sandra Fewer, who oversees the Richmond District, neighbors were mixed on the proposals.
Dana Tam, who lives on Eighth Avenue near Clement Street, said that she, her husband and two young children were in favor of the speed humps, but noted, “… forcing cars to turn at either Anza or Balboa is a huge and unnecessary inconvenience.”
Will Riffelmacher said he often bikes to Golden Gate Park with his 2-year-old son in tow, and supports the traffic diverters because “the section of 8th Avenue between Cabrillo and Fulton is one of the most difficult that I navigate on my commute.”
“The level of concern from the neighborhood is worrisome,” Fewer said in a statement, adding that she will continue listening to the neighborhood for “their vision for street safety.”