Mayor Lee Sends $500 Million Transportation Infrastructure Bond To November 2014 Ballot
Smart Investment in Transportation Network Improves Pedestrian Safety Including New Traffic Signals Activated at Sunset Boulevard & Yorba Street as Sunset Boulevard Corridor Speed Limit is Reduced to
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today signed the $500 million general obligation bond for transportation infrastructure for the November 2014 ballot that would significantly improve San Francisco’s transportation network without raising property tax rates. Joined by District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), Mayor Lee also celebrated the installation of new traffic signals at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Yorba Street, and announced that the SFMTA has reduced the speed limit on Sunset Boulevard from 35 MPH to 30 MPH between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Lake Merced Boulevard, a 2.5 mile stretch of roadway.
“This November, with my support and the support of every member of the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco voters will have a historic opportunity to invest in the future of transportation in our City without raising property tax rates,” said Mayor Lee. “This $500 million transportation bond is the first recommendation of our Transportation 2030 Task Force and will be a major step toward delivering a more reliable, safe, and affordable transportation network today and keep our City moving into the future. This bond invests $300 million in street safety upgrades that will prevent traffic injuries and fatalities and keep pedestrians safe. The new traffic signals and the reduced speed limit here on Sunset Boulevard bring us closer to reaching our Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities in San Francisco by 2024.”
“San Francisco streets are showing real improvements, from better street paving to engineering measures that make our streets safety, but more is needed,” said Supervisor Tang. “Our office has advocated for these improvements on Sunset Boulevard after receiving extensive feedback from the community regarding the safety of our streets. Our city needs to continue to support smart investments into our City’s aging transportation infrastructure to ensure safety and keep up with growth.”
Key investments planned for the $500 million general obligation bond include:
• Muni Forward Rapid Network Capital Projects and other transit improvement projects: $230 million
• Transit stop accessibility improvements: $30 million
• Muni maintenance facility upgrades: $70 million
• Pedestrian safety enhancements: $68 million
• Traffic signal replacement: $22 million
• “Complete Streets” projects, including new or enhanced bikeways: $52 million
The transportation bond will not raise property tax rates, and would include citizen oversight and regular audits to assure accountability and transparency. The bond measure will be on the November 4, 2014 ballot. To pass in November, the general obligation bond requires a 2/3 majority vote by San Francisco voters. To learn more about the November 2014 transportation bond, go to: http://sftransportation2030.com/.
The $500 million general obligation bond is one of several recommendations of the SF 2030 Transportation Task Force, which Mayor Lee convened last year to examine San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure needs and prepare for the City’s future. The Task Force found that to meet current need and future demand the city requires a $10 billion investment in transportation infrastructure through 2030. The City has identified $3.7 billion in funding, leaving a $6.3 billion funding gap over the next 15 years. For the final recommendations of the Mayor’s SF 2030 Transportation Task Force, go to: www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=3427.
The new traffic signals on Sunset Boulevard and Yorba Street replace a push-button activated flashing yellow beacon system that warned drivers when a pedestrian was crossing. The new signals, which include pedestrian countdown signals, will still work with pedestrian push buttons but will instead show the conventional red, yellow and green signal indications. Work on the signal installation was expedited in February 2014, closely following previous traffic signal and pedestrian countdown signal work completed at other Sunset Boulevard intersections such as Kirkham, Lawton, Pacheco, Rivera, Santiago, Ulloa and Vicente Streets.
Since 2012, the SFMTA has invested approximately $3.3 million in safety improvements for people walking on Sunset Boulevard. Using a combination of Proposition K local funds administered by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, as well as federal dollars, the Agency has installed traffic signals at five Sunset Boulevard intersections and implemented pedestrian countdown signals at another six Sunset Boulevard intersections. The Department of Public Works provided design and construction engineering services for this series of improvements.
People walking are among the most vulnerable road users, accounting for half of all San Francisco traffic fatalities. On average, 100 people are severely injured or killed in traffic collisions every year in San Francisco.
In addition to ongoing efforts to improve safety by implementing traffic control devices such as traffic signals, the SFMTA has also been focused on lowering speed limits on streets that experience speeding. Today, Sunset Boulevard joins a list of 10 other city streets where the speed limit has been reduced since 2012 and in 2011, San Francisco lowered the speed limit to 15 miles per hour on one-lane streets near all San Francisco schools.
Other streets that have seen recent speed reductions include Howard Street between the Embarcadero and South Van Ness, John Muir Drive between Lake Merced Boulevard and Skyline Boulevard and the Broadway Tunnel. The SFMTA regularly reviews existing speed limits and makes adjustments if warranted. These efforts follow-up a major SFMTA initiative in 2012 where the agency implemented new 15 MPH speed zones around 181 public and private schools in San Francisco, installing 803 new speed limit signs citywide.
High traffic speeds are the strongest predictor of whether people are seriously injured or killed when hit by a car; seniors are also more vulnerable to more serious injury. On average, if hit by a vehicle travelling at 40 MPH, 50 percent of people will die compared to only 10 percent at 25 MPH.
The new traffic signals and speed reduction on Sunset Boulevard is also among the SFMTA’s 24 Vision Zero projects which will be implemented by January 2016. Since April 2014, the SFMTA has completed four Vision Zero projects, including bicycle safety improvements at the intersection of Market St., Duboce Ave. and Buchannan St., signal timing improvements on Fulton Street from Laguna to Steiner streets, and pedestrian safety improvements at 6th and Howard streets.
“Sunset Boulevard is among the six percent of streets that account for more than 60 percent of the City’s severe and fatal traffic injuries. We have been working hard to change that statistic by increasing safety for people who walk on this street,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “Everyone walks at some point. These new signals and lower speed limit, coupled with all the other recent improvements made on this corridor, will make Sunset Boulevard a better, safer walking environment for the Sunset District’s communities.”
Total project cost for the new signals at Sunset and Yorba was $266,000, including contract cost, design, construction and coordination. Total cost for the speed limit reduction was $5,000 for engineering work, procurement and installation. The SFMTA is also continuing work to install traffic signals at the Sunset Boulevard intersections of Moraga and Wawona by the end of 2015.