The noise, inconvenience and hazards of traffic are unfortunate aspects of urban living. Despite its status as one of the nation’s most livable cities, San Francisco hardly remains untouched by these issues. In fact, the City ranks as the nation’s fourth most dangerous for pedestrians — a shocking statistic given San Francisco’s relatively small population.
Do not despair: the Traffic Engineering & Operations Division of the Department of Parking & Traffic (DPT) is taking steps to rein in the chaos with its Livable Streets initiative. Introduced in 2000, the program is a response to ever-increasing traffic and its associated issues: reckless driving and speeding, road rage, pedestrian and bicycle safety, traffic overflow from arterial roadways to neighborhoods, and excessive noise. The Livable Streets plan addresses these problems through a four-pronged effort: Traffic Calming; the Pedestrian Program; School Area Safety; and Red Light Photo Enforcement.
- Traffic Calming, as its name suggests, is an attempt to control speeders by installing special devices such as speed “humps” — the newer, quieter offspring of the speed bump — and traffic circles. Visit the SF Municipal Transportation Agency Web site for details. You’ll be able to review current projects, request educational resources for community meetings, and download a “Traffic Calming Request Form” to have the project implemented in your own neighborhood. Call the Livable Streets Hotline at (415) 554-2398 for more information.
- The Pedestrian Program focuses on the installation and improvement of pedestrian safety features at intersections, including enhanced crosswalk areas, crossing signals with countdown displays, sidewalk “bulb-outs” and median island upgrades. 2003’s Prop K, which mandated funding of transportation improvements through an extension of the half-cent sales tax, has opened up a significant source of funding for new signs and signals, as well as other pedestrian-safety items. For further details, call the Livable Streets Hotline: (415) 554-2398. Also see our Pedestrian Safety article for more information.