Traffic Circles Come to Western Addition to Speed Up 5-Fulton Bus Service

Street redesigns, including two traffic circles, were approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors Tuesday between the Western Addition and the Tenderloin neighborhoods to reduce travel time by up to 20 percent from the Outer Richmond to Downtown San Francisco along the 5-Fulton Municipal Railway line.

Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA board, said in a statement Tuesday that these street improvements would also increase pedestrian safety and support the city’s commitment to Vision Zero, which aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the SFMTA, as promised, is increasing service, reliability and cleanliness for its riders through the Muni Forward initiative.

“Improvements like the ones to the 5 Fulton, with more than 20,000 riders every day, helps us deliver on that promise and helps us improve the entire transportation system as a whole,” Lee said in a statement Tuesday.

The approval of the street improvements comes in the wake of the 5L Fulton Limited Pilot Project, which was adopted into regular service under the new name “5R Fulton Rapid,” according to the SFMTA.

Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation said the 5R bus line has resulted in increases in both service and ridership for the route.

“Ridership grew by an impressive 10 percent along the entire corridor,” Reiskin said.

Muni collisions also dropped by 36 percent on Fulton Street between Central and Stanyan streets, according to the SFMTA.

Capital infrastructure improvements to the corridor, approved Tuesday, aim to decrease transit times along an eight-block stretch of McAllister Street, between Central Avenue and Steiner Street.

While most of the intersections have stop signs, resulting in a start/stop experience for bus riders, the SFMTA will be putting in traffic circles at both McAllister and Lyon streets and McAllister and Steiner streets.

Traffic lights will replace stop signs at the intersection of McAllister and Broderick streets.

Pedestrian refuge islands and pedestrian bulbs will also come to intersections along the bus line, to make pedestrians more visible to drivers.

Other intersections along the corridor will receive treatments including bus bulbs, bus stop optimization changes and extended bus zones, according to transit officials.

The project is partially funded by the 2014 Transportation and Road Improvement Bond passed by San Francisco voters and intended for critical investments in the city’s transportation system. The $500 million investment aims to make Muni less crowded, more reliable and safer, according to the SFMTA.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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