Taraval to Get Boarding Islands at All Stops

croppedTaraval

Yesterday afternoon, the SFMTA Board agreed to install concrete boarding islands at all stops on the L-Taraval line as part of the L-Taraval Rapid Project. “This is a big win for pedestrian and rider safety,” wrote Rachel Hyden, Executive Director of the San Francisco Transit Riders, in an email to Streetsblog.

Streetsblog readers will recall that in September of 2016, the SFMTA board approved concrete safety boarding islands on the L-Taraval line, but instructed staff to try a “pilot project” at the inbound stops at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues.

The pilot was a compromise with merchants who didn’t want to give up the handful of street parking spots that concrete islands require. The idea was to improve markings, rather than build concrete islands, to get motorists not to pass stopped streetcars that are loading and unloading passengers. The inbound stops in the list were picked because of a lack of incidents at them. Overall, however, some 22 people were hit in the past five years getting on and off the trains.

Pilot boarding zone on Taraval at 40th Avenue. Photo: SFMTA
Pilot boarding zone on Taraval at 40th Avenue. Photo: SFMTA

But the deal with the merchants was that if motorists failed to comply with the improved markings, even those stops would get concrete.

And the results were clear: despite the markings reminding motorists that it is illegal to pass a train stopped at a station, compliance did not improve appreciably. “The compliance rate rose slightly, to 74 percent, up from 72 percent prior to changes. Since these measures failed to increase the share of drivers who stop to the 90 percent target rate, boarding islands will be installed at the pilot locations,” wrote the SFMTA in its report. “In total, 36 parking spaces will be removed as a result.”

The timeline for the project implementation. Image: SFMTA
Image: SFMTA

Advocates for safety and better transit didn’t get everything they wanted, however, such as the elimination of sparsely used stops as a way to speed up run times. “Although we are a bit disappointed the Board couldn’t fully support better balanced stops along the L, we do recognize that the decision to remove stops is difficult and should not be done lightly. The Board came to a compromise,” said Hyden. They voted to remove the inbound 35th and 17th avenue stops, “though 17th will be re-evaluated over the next 6 months. The 44th Avenue stops will remain for the time being, under the condition that they too will be re-evaluated in the coming months.

The SF Transit Riders full comments are available here.

  • So, what’s the deal? Muni scrapped a few of the stops in its pilot program. Will these stops be restored? As for the boarding islands, are we talking islands long enough for 2-car trains? How many of these islands will be ADA compliant? Isn’t the whole point to speed up service in addition to address safety concerns? Stops should be 1/4 mile apart and all boarding islands should be ADA-compliant. Get with it.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

SFMTA Board Unanimously Approves L-Taraval Boarding Islands

|
Late this afternoon, after listening to testimony from some 50 speakers for more than three hours, the SFMTA board unanimously approved the Muni-forward project to consolidate stops, create red transit-only lanes, and install concrete boarding islands on the L-Taraval line. This morning Streetsblog ran an opinion piece from Walk San Francisco’s Executive Director, Nicole Ferrara, […]

L-Taraval and the Concrete Boarding Island Question

|
Back in February, Streetsblog reported on one of three meetings about SFMTA’s planned “Muni Forward” improvements to the L-Taraval line. Since then, SFMTA has held various smaller meetings with local stakeholders, confirmed SFMTA. But rumors have grown that, under the direction of Supervisor Katy Tang, the SFMTA was backing off safety improvements, such as adding […]

More Grumbles at Final Hearing on Taraval Changes

|
SFMTA, at long last, held its final hearing on the proposed Muni Forward safety and speed improvements to the L-Taraval. The two-hour meeting, which started at 10 a.m. at City Hall, was attended by some 60 people. Streetsblog readers will recall the last large hearing for Taraval was held in February and, as with many of […]

Was the Turning Point on Taraval a Teachable Moment?

|
A week ago today, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency decided unanimously to move forward with concrete boarding islands on the L-Taraval. And maybe, just maybe, it was also a concrete turning point towards finally putting safety first. As Streetsblog readers know all too well, every time SFMTA develops transit improvements as part of its Muni Forward […]

Guest Editorial: Safety Must Come First on Taraval

|
Every day 29,000 Muni riders and countless walkers travel on Taraval Street, one of the city’s 12 percent of streets responsible for over 70 percent of traffic deaths and life-changing injuries. On average, every five and-a-half weeks someone is hit while walking on Taraval. This afternoon, walkers and MUNI riders will have a once-in-a-generation chance […]