Folsom Street due for bike, pedestrian improvements

A section of Folsom Street that sat underneath the old Embarcadero Freeway Terminal Separator is getting a number of pedestrian and bike improvements.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors approved changes on Folsom between Hawthorne Street and The Embarcadero, including wider sidewalks, bulb-outs at intersections, protected bike lanes in both directions, and opening the street to two-way traffic.

The project is part of the Folsom Street Streetscape Project.

Greg Riessen, a SFMTA transportation engineer, said the project is a collaboration with the San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure,the Public Works Department, the SFMTA and the Planning Department.

SFMTA documents said the section of Folsom Street is growing with a number of new residential towers and street level retail stores in the area. The transit agency said it expects a high volume of visitors in the future to the street while taking all modes of transportation in to get there:

“In order to support this new community, the Folsom Streetscape Project aims to transform this segment of Folsom Street into both a sustainable multimodal corridor and a
destination unto itself.”

Riessen said the project includes widening both north (25-foot) and south (15-foot) sidewalks. Corner bulb-outs will get placed at every intersection to provide pedestrians to shorten crossing distances at crosswalks.

Bicyclists will get protected by bike lanes in both east and west directions of Folsom Street. Between the protected the bike lane and parked vehicles will be a 4-foot buffer.

Other amenities added to enhance the street include rain gardens and bench seating.

Riessen said:

“We really are building a protected network of bikeways with this project as well as enhancing access for pedestrians and transit and even cars as well by making it a two-way street, much better for local circulation.”

Transit documents also said two-way traffic operation would calm traffic down.

Officials said they plan to restore Muni service along Folsom Street in the future. The project includes transit shelters in preparation for the restoration of service.

The total cost of the project is $15.75 million. Redevelopment and SFMTA revenue bonds are funding the project along with funds from the Interagency Plan Implementation Committee.

Construction will begin in 2017 with completion in 2018 when the new Transbay Transit Center at First and Mission streets opens to the public.