Fulton Street is home to the busy 5 Fulton and 5R Fulton bus lines. (Courtesy SFMTA)

Plans in the works to make Fulton Street safer

The San Francisco Transportation Municipal Agency is weighing plans to make Fulton Street safer.

At a public meeting Friday, agency staff gave a presentation on the Fulton Street Safety and Transit Project, an attempt to make the highly trafficked corridor between Stanyan and La Playa streets safer for those traveling by foot or bicycle.

The busy roadway borders the northern edge of Golden Gate Park, making it a popular crossing for residents looking to recreate or commute through the City’s largest green space.

However, it’s also dangerous. Between January 2014 and December 2019, 249 injuries from traffic collisions occurred on Fulton between Stanyan and La Playa, according to SFMTA data. Of those, 56 involved a cyclist or pedestrian and 20 resulted in severe injuries and one fatality.

The agency plans to implement a corridor-wide daylighting strategy, which will remove parking spots from directly around a crosswalk and paint the curb red to improve visibility for all travelers.

Along with painting safety zones for pedestrians at higher-risk crossings, SFMTA believes these changes will make crossing Fulton Street safer for pedestrians and slow down cars turning into the Richmond District neighborhood.

Though SFMTA also intends to install two additional speed radar signs — one eastbound between 38th and 39th avenues and one westbound between 40th and 41st avenues — the question of how to further slow speeding ars still came up during Friday’s public hearing.

Some were wary the changes wouldn’t affect adequate reductions in speed and suggested changing speed limits.

Tom Folks, an SFMTA operations manager who conducted the meeting, said altering speed limits requires a distinct process dictated by the state.

Two of Muni’s busiest bus routes also run along this street: the 5 Fulton and 5R Fulton Rapid. Together, they averaged 22,000 boardings a day before shelter-in-place.

As part of its efforts to improve safety, SFMTA will build transit bulbs at six bus stops on Fulton Street between Arguello Boulevard and 10th Avenue. These sidewalk extensions allow Muni vehicles to drop off passengers without crossing traffic to approach the curb, keeping protecting pedestrians and drivers alike as well as cutting down on bus travel times.

These aren’t the “shiniest tool in the box, but they make a big difference in our effort to make getting around safer and easier,” the SFMTA website says.

The changes would only require the removal of two auto and three motorcycle parking spots.

Additional improvements include installation and maintenance of more bike signals and making minor tweaks to existing bike routes.

SFMTA’s recommendations have come after nearly a year of community outreach, beginning with a two-month long online neighborhood survey last October. That was followed by an open house at Argonne Elementary School in February, where residents met with the agency and district supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer to provide feedback on the initial proposal.

Much of the plan presented Friday, including the aggressive daylighting efforts and increased number of painted zones, was a result of the comments received during this process.

No decisions were made at the public hearing, but staff said comments would be incorporated into its determinations about next steps. An update is expected by this Friday at 5pm.

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