Major safety overhaul planned for Lombard Street

A roadway identified by The City as one of its most dangerous – Lombard Street– may soon net a major safety makeover.

If the $12 million safety overhaul is approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday, Lombard Street could be redesigned to feature numerous curb extensions called “bulbouts,” which help pedestrians become more visible behind parked cars, and also reduces the distance from curb to curb when crossing the street.

SFMTA would also paint “zebra” style high-visibility crosswalks all across Lombard, which the agency says reduces crashes with pedestrians by 37 percent. Leading Pedestrian Intervals, which let walkers cross briefly before cars allowed to move, would also be installed.

Advanced limit lines would also be painted at intersections. These are lines restricting cars to stopping ten feet before crosswalks.

“It is particularly useful for multilane approaches since vehicles do not encroach into the crosswalk,” SFMTA staff wrote of the limit lines.

Ultimately, the intersection will include constructing nine transit bulbs, nine pedestrian bulbs, three new pedestrian islands, and daylighting all intersections along the corridor.

These changes won’t take place on Lombard’s famous crooked portion – rather, they will happen between Francisco and Franklin streets, leading to the entrance of Golden Gate Bridge near the Presidio.

This portion of Lombard is more akin to a freeway, as it’s technically a leg of U.S. Highway 101, under the purview of Caltrans. Caltrans plans to repave Lombard in 2018, giving SFMTA a chance to revamp the street for safety.

City officials identified Lombard as one of its most dangerous streets in a study for its Vision Zero policy, in which The City pledged to end all traffic deaths by 2024. On Lombard between 2008 and 2013, there were over 150 collisions resulting in injuries, two of which were fatal and 20 severe, according to the SFMTA.

Collisions on Lombard are more frequent than elsewhere in The City, according to SFMTA – the citywide pedestrian collision rate is four per mile, but Lombard’s rate is 27 per mile.

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