Valencia Signals Re-timed to Improve Traffic Flow and Safety

v.jpg

As Streetsblog San Francisco reported last month, cities around the world have timed their traffic signals to favor slower moving modes, and now San Francisco has started a trial on one of the busiest bicycle routes in the city, Valencia Street.

On Thursday February 19th, the MTA re-timed six traffic signals from 16th to 21st, a pilot for a few weeks that will enable the agency to gauge the real-world impacts of reduced speeds on traffic flow.

The main goal is to improve vehicle flow and calm traffic to prevent energy intensive starting and stopping. The slower synchronized timing will also likely prove to be a great convenience to cyclists along the route.

Motorists are already seeing a benefit. Initial studies show
the re-timed signals improve overall travel time by more than a minute during peak commute hours.
Additionally, motorists will save gas and reduce pollution if they
drive at a steady 15 mph pace.

In 2002, Portland, Oregon implemented a citywide traffic signal optimization project,
which saves motorists over 1,750,000 gallons of gas and 15,460 tons of
CO2 each year. It cost $533,000, paid for by the Climate Trust of Oregon carbon offset program. The majority of streets in downtown Portland are timed at 12-15 mph for pedestrian safety and optimal traffic flow.

Untitled_2.jpgUK DOT statistics on vehicle/pedestrian collisions

In Amsterdam,
both trams and buses save time from signal re-timing. On average
trams move 1.5 minutes faster and buses 3 minutes faster.

This is expected to benefit pedestrians as well. Studies show
the severity of pedestrian
injuries in crashes with cars increases exponentially with only slight
increases in vehicle speed. Pedestrians face a 5 percent chance of
dying when hit by a vehicle traveling 20 mph, though that figure jumps
to 45 percent for a vehicle going 30
mph and 85 percent at 40 mph.

Flickr Photo: pbo31 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bicycle Signal Priority Green Wave Project Stalled

|
Green Wave in Copenhagen Valencia Street is one of the most heavily biked corridors in San Francisco but its current traffic signals are timed at an auto-only capable speed of 25 mph, leaving bike riders stymied at intersections, or gasping for breath after a mad 15-block sprint. Unfortunately, most riders choose the third option of […]

Green Wave Becomes Permanent on Valencia Street

|
Valencia Street’s nearly two-year-old Green Wave signal re-timing aimed at prioritizing bicycle traffic speeds continues to please street users, city leaders, and advocates alike. What started as a temporary pilot will become a permanent institution this week with the installation of four new Green Wave signs along the corridor. “Green Waves are the most recent […]

Accomodating Bike Speeds by Re-timing Signals on Valencia Street

|
As the cyclists in this video point out, re-timing signals for bike speeds (Green Wave) would make roads safer for all street users on Valencia Street. Before even mentioning re-timing signals, this was many cyclists’ top request to improve their journey. Recently, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) found that during peak commute times […]

Tomorrow: Hearing on Traffic Signals to Speed Muni on Haight, McAllister

|
On the agenda [PDF] for tomorrow’s SFMTA public engineering hearing are proposals to speed up Muni lines with transit-priority traffic signals and bus bulb-outs along Haight and McAllister Streets. These types of changes are central to the Muni Transit Effectiveness Project, but some residents have voiced concerns about replacing stop signs with traffic signals and […]

Bikes Now Get Green Waves Along Folsom, North Point, Fulton

|
The SFMTA has recently re-timed traffic signals to give green waves for bicycle riders on three street segments: North Point from Stockton to Polk Streets, Folsom from 15th to 24th Streets, and Fulton from Laguna to Steiner Streets. With Bike to Work Day set for tomorrow, the SFMTA reviewed its completed projects in a press release today. It […]

City Slow to Improve Pedestrian Safety in High-Crash Areas

|
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment in our series of occasional stories on how to improve the streets for pedestrians in San Francisco. Top 12 Intersections with Most Pedestrian Injury Crashes – Past 10 years (SWITRS) We already know the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities is increasing in San Francisco. The response by […]