The San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board signed off on funding for The City’s first raised intersection Tuesday, paving the way — literally — for safer pedestrian crossings at Page and Buchanan streets, located in the heart of a residential corridor.
Similar to a speed bump, raised intersections elevate the entirety of a four-way crossing so the road is flush with the sidewalk, forcing drivers to slow down and yield to pedestrians. Surrounding bollards — short, sturdy posts — create a physical barrier between motorists and the sidewalk.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials include the use of raised intersections as part of its “best practices” to make streets safer, for their ability to slow down vehicles, create separation between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and make those on the sidewalk more visible.
“This project represents the kind of solution our city needs more of to calm traffic and protect people in the crosswalk,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk SF.
When Medeiros says “project,” she isn’t only referring to the changes to Page and Buchanan streets, she’s also speaking about the entire Page Street Neighborway Project, of which the raised intersection is a small part.
Though conceived before the pandemic and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Slow Streets program, the project seeks some of the same outcomes on a more permanent basis, with more extensive infrastructure changes.
The two-stage initiative will use raised crosswalks, corner bulb-outs, wayfinding and other tools, to make the neighborhood corridor more approachable for non-motorist travelers and connect destinations such as parks, schools and community centers by streets slowed to cars.
“We need a network of safe streets across The City for cyclists and pedestrians, and Page Street is a crucial part of that,” said Supervisor Dean Preston, whose district includes the neighborhood. “My office is fully committed to projects like this that make it safer for San Franciscans to travel without leaving a carbon footprint.”
Page Street has also been identified as part of The Planning Department’s Green Connections Network, a 2014 proposal to improve 115 miles of streets citywide using landscaping, greening and rain corridors.
Approval by the county transportation board, which is composed of members of the Board of Supervisors, is needed to allocate nearly $1.2 million in funds from Proposition AA and Central Freeway parcels to finance the project. Much of the funds for the rest of the estimated $2.5 milion in total costs have already been identified by the SFMTA.
Now that it has identified adequate funding, SFMTA can solicit applications for a construction contract as soon as this month, with implementation beginning early next year.
The first phase will target Page Street between Market and Webster streets with improvements at the intersections of Gough, Laguna and Buchanan streets.
Given Page Street’s hallmark position in the Slow Streets network, the second phase of the project that will extend work from Webster Street to Stanyan Street will be made in concert with any changes to Slow Streets or its permanence, beginning in 2021.