Eighth Avenue targeted for ‘neighborway’ redo

A popular street for pedestrians, bicyclists and even tour buses in San Francisco’s Richmond District to get to and from Golden Gate Park may soon see changes transit officials say will make the street more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency held an open house on Saturday at the Richmond/Senator Milton Marks public library to share ideas with the public on ways to slow down vehicles and reducing traffic on Eighth Avenue from Lake to Fulton streets.

Transit officials are calling it a “neighborway” project, where the transit agency focuses on making improvements on residential streets by using traffic calming measures such as traffic circles in the middle of the intersection, speed humps, upgrading crosswalks and applying traffic restrictions to motorists.

Eighth Avenue is one of the first neighborway projects.

According to the SFMTA, Eighth Avenue is the official north and south bike route and the flattest route for bicyclists heading to Golden Gate Park. It is also a popular route for tour buses heading to Golden Gate Park. Transit officials also said the traffic volume was high compared to other surrounding avenues.

One idea staff presented to the public a “traffic diverter” to help reduce some of traffic volume.

Staff presented two different options of diverting traffic that included a forced right turn for northbound and southbound motorists onto Geary Boulevard while still allowing motorists to make left turn onto Geary Boulevard at Eighth Avenue to reduce some of the traffic along the avenue.

Another idea was to force northbound drivers to either make a left or right on Anza Street and for southbound motorists to either make left or right turn on Balboa Street.

Some other traffic calming measures suggested from the SFMTA staff included speed humps on all blocks of Eighth Avenue, a traffic circle on Lake Street to reduce speeding and daylighting, which would remove one parking space near a crosswalk so that motorists would have more visibility when a pedestrian is crossing the street.

Following the open house, SFMTA staff plan to continue outreach to the neighborhood and follow-up with a recommended staff proposal based on the feedback received from the public.

SFMTA staff are also working on a second neighorway project on Page Street.