SFMTA Polk Street Improvement Project Public Meetings

From SFMTA:

The SFMTA will be hosting two open house meetings to explore the opportunities and challenges of various options for enhancing the safety and attractiveness of Polk Street. The meetings will be identical in scope, and we hope that by providing two meeting time options we will give ample opportunity for public input. Feel free to drop in during the posted times to learn more and share your feedback.WHAT: Polk Street Corridor Improvement Project Public Meeting
WHERE: 1300 Polk St (at Bush) at the First Congregational Church Fellowship Hall
WHEN: Saturday April 27th from 10am-1pm (open house) &
Tuesday April 30th from 5pm-8:30pm (open house)

Background

Project Overview Slides

Polk Street Transportation and Purchasing Intercept Survey

Polk Street Parking Study

This project seeks to implement aesthetic and safety improvements for all users of Polk Street between McAllister and Union Streets. In accordance with the City’s Transit First policy, improvements will primarily be focused on people who walk, use transit and ride a bicycle along Polk Street. The project is funded by Proposition B General Obligation Bonds and is part of an overall citywide effort to curb pedestrian and bicycle collisions and to provide a safe north-south connection for people on bicycles. Pedestrian and bicyclist collision and injury data on Polk Street point to a corridor in need of safety improvements for all those who share the road. In fact, the southern portion from Sacramento to McAllister Streets is part of the 7% of San Francisco streets that have more than half of the City’s most severe pedestrian collisions.

In addition to increasing safety, other retail-centric districts have experienced unexpected benefits resulting from improved bicycle and pedestrian safety conditions. Similar improvements in other areas have been shown to draw people more visitors and shoppers to city streets:

  • People who visit businesses on foot or by bicycle spend 15% more overall than people who drive, according to seven studies, one of which was done in San Francisco (Clifton, Kelly, et al, “Business Cycles: Catering to the Bicycle Market.” TR NewsMay-June 2012).
  • In New York, vacancy rates decreased by approximately 50% and sales tax receipts increased by 50% along streets where protected bicycle lanes and streetscape improvements were built (Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets, NYC Department of Transportation, October 2012).
  • On Valencia Street, 65% of business owners feel that the introduction of bicycle lanes has positively impacted their business (Drennen, Emily, Economic Impacts of Traffic Calming on Small Urban BusinessesPro Walk/Pro Bike Conference, 2004).

 

Some of the changes being discussed involve adjusting or moving parking. While we understand that this is a sensitive issue for business owners and others in the area, we do believe that it will be possible to achieve the goals of improved safety while retaining parking options that meet the needs of the business and residential community. Each alternative that removes parking includes some replacement parking nearby to help offset parking loss.

 

One way we propose to test these ideas is through a demonstration project this summer. We believe by running a short demonstration and observing its results, we will have the opportunity to test drive any changes and share them with the Polk Street community. In the meantime, we will continue gathering feedback and building upon our collective ideas as well as best practices from other cities.

 

This spring we will host another round of public meetings working with the community to finalize the project’s design. As the preferred design comes to life, it will be subject to a public hearing and legislative process that provide additional opportunities for public input.

Online Survey
We want to know what you think about our Polk Street proposals! Please take some time to review the Polk Street Overview and Design Alternatives (pdf), and then complete our Polk Street Preferred Alternatives Survey (surveymonkey). The survey takes around 20 minutes to complete and includes the proposed designs featured at the December community meetings.

Outreach to Date

  • Friday, December 7th  If you were unable to join us at the Polk Street community meeting on December 1st, we have scheduled an alternative Open House Workshop held at Velvet Da Vinci on Polk Street.
  • Saturday, December 1st – the SFMTA held an open house and invited community members to review several options for increasing safety and comfort on Polk Street. Staff presented thePolk Street Overview and Design Alternatives (pdf), and attendees had the opportunity to complete ourPolk Street Preferred Alternatives Survey (surveymonkey)
  • Saturday, October 27 – local residents and business owners participated in a design workshop to discuss potential improvements to Polk Street in detail. Participants let us know what types of changes might be appropriate for Polk Street and discussed potential trade-off.
  • In October, staff led a number of walking audits along the corridor to discuss both positive existing features and areas in need of improvement.Click here to view the Walking Audit Checklist (pdf).
  • Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 – SFMTA staff held its first public meeting to develop the goals of the project and solicit feedback. We had about 60 members of the Polk Street community to discuss how we can build on Polk Street’s strengths as part of the upcoming repaving. We were encouraged by the positive attitudes and big ideas expressed by the stakeholders genuinely interested in improving Polk for those who walk, take transit and ride a bike. Supervisor Chiu also attended the meeting as he has been a long time resident of the Polk neighborhood. Click here to view the Polk Street Community Workshop Presentation (pdf).

Supervisor Chiu speaking at the Polk Street Community Meeting on September 26 2012.
Image: Photograph from first community meeting

Questions, comments, or for accessible versions of any of the linked PDFs, please contact Darcie Lim atdarcie.lim@sfmta.com or (415) 701-4545.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

SFMTA Polk Street Project Open House

|
From SFMTA: After reviewing all of the public feedback from the community meetings and surveys, analyzing the technical feasibility of each option, and considering how best to balance the project goals, we will finalize a recommendation for how to improve the safety and comfort of Polk Street.

This Week: Support a Safer Polk Street

|
It’s San Francisco’s first Bike to School Week, and safer Polk Street supporters can help get the word out about the two open house meetings held by the SF Municipal Transportation Agency this Saturday and next Tuesday. Here are all the highlights from the Streetsblog calendar: All Week: Forget Bike to School Day — this year, it’s Bike […]

85 Percent of People on Polk Street Arrive Without a Car

|
Updated 4:36 p.m. If San Franciscans were to believe the hyperbole and fearmongering spread by merchants leading the “Save Polk Street Coalition,” removing even a small proportion of car parking along the corridor to make the street safer and more inviting will kill businesses. But new survey data from the SF Municipal Transportation Agency shows that […]

Safer Polk Street Supporters Rally for Neighborhood Meeting Monday

|
With flyers stuck on storefront windows along Polk Street spreading misinformation about the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s developing plans to make the street a safer, more inviting place to walk and bike, local supporters of the project are rallying neighbors and merchants to attend a public meeting on Monday. There, city officials including SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin […]