While most Tenderloin residents walk or use public transportation to get around, the neighborhood they live in is designed for drivers zipping through The City’s urban core or heading out to the network of freeways. That is causing safety problems that city officials are trying to solve.
Fewer than 20 percent of households in the district own vehicles, yet its residents are six times more likely to be hit by a vehicle than in other areas of The City, according to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.
However, through The City’s Tenderloin-Little Saigon transportation plan adopted earlier this year, the area’s residents are hoping to change the way people move around in the working-class neighborhood known for high rates of poverty and crime.
“The streets are all these one-way arterials with a lot of traffic capacity,” said Rachel Hiatt, a senior transportation planner with the agency who spoke at a recent forum at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research association, a local think tank. “The residents’ needs and the way the streets were designed are very different.”
A new plan, created after a series of community workshops, includes recommendations for improved pedestrian safety, transit service, streetscapes and traffic calming. Various projects are already under way to increase pedestrian safety, including sidewalk widening and the installation of pedestrian-countdown signals and cameras to catch drivers who run red lights.
Some changes to services are also being considered, said Matthew Lee, a Muni transit planner. Officials are considering turning various one-way streets in the Tenderloin into two-way thoroughfares, which would allow some current bus routes to operate on a single street, giving riders better opportunities to transfer.
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