S.F. transit agency unveils temporary sidewalk extensions on Sixth Street

The red painted zones along Sixth Street between Market and Howard streets are exactly what they appear to be – sidewalk extensions.

Complete with landscaping and safe hit posts, the six painted zones are intended to shorten the pedestrian crossing distance and reduce the number of collisions, in which the corridor has ranked among the highest.

From 2005 to 2009, Sixth Street had 17 collisions at the Market Street intersection, seven at the Mission Street intersection and 14 at the Howard Street intersection, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. They are the top three intersections for pedestrian collisions in The City.

“That area frankly has plenty of challenges beyond pedestrian safety,” said Transportation Director Ed Reiskin. “We just want to make sure at minimum that people have an opportunity to walk safely in that neighborhood.”

While other places including New York City already use painted sidewalk extensions, these are the first in San Francisco. Installation occurred between Oct. 23 and Nov. 1 and Reiskin, Supervisor Jane Kim and others took their first walk-through on Wednesday.</p>

The $15,000 project has the dual benefit of providing some immediate safety and the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness before designing more permanent infrastructure, Reiskin said.

“I think in the long run, assuming we find that these are effective and they don't cause unintended consequences, we would eventually replace them with constructed bulb-outs,” he said.

Decisions for more permanent measures on the corridor will be made as part of the Sixth Street Improvement Project, which has a community meeting scheduled on Nov. 21.

Improvements to the corridor last year include removal of an eastside tow-away commute hour lane and restored parking from Folsom to Market streets.

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