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Pedestrian Safety

Walk SF Campaigns for San Francisco’s First Raised Intersection

A diagram of a raised intersection. Courtesy of NACTO.

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

Walk San Francisco is asking people to sign a petition to urge the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to install a raised intersection at Page Street and Buchanan, as part of the agency's Page Street Neighborway project.

From Walk SF's release:

The Page Street Neighborway is heading to the SFMTA Board Meeting this summer on July 17. However, we’re concerned: it’s not clear that the city’s first raised intersection is going to remain in the project. Help us keep the city strong in its commitment to putting pedestrians first!

The younger sibling of the raised intersection--the raised crosswalk--has been popping up on San Francisco's wiggle bike route. The first one, installed near Duboce Park at Steiner and Hermann, in September of 2016, isn't raised to sidewalk level and doesn't seem to work very well at slowing cars. However, SFMTA has since installed three sidewalk-level raised crosswalks along the Wiggle, including the one pictured below, at Waller and Steiner. There's also a sidewalk-level raised crossing in the Stonestown Galleria parking lot and a handful of others on some side streets around town.

The raised crosswalk at Waller and Steiner
The raised crosswalk at Waller and Steiner
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Anyone can watch the traffic at these crosswalks and see how well they work at forcing cyclist and motorists to slow or at least hesitate before entering the pedestrian space. The elevation and color of the crosswalks make it seem as if the sidewalk is extending across the street.

The rise of the crosswalk slows cyclists down a bit as they ramp up to sidewalk/crosswalk level, but riders get their hard-earned momentum back as they go down the other side. The only downside to a raised crosswalk is they're costlier to install. “The cost for a curb-to-curb raised crosswalk is approximately $110,000 and requires extensive design," explained SFMTA's Ben Jose, in an earlier post. That's mainly because of drainage issues.

A raised intersection takes the whole concept of a raised crosswalk a step further, as portrayed in the lead image, by forcing motorist to slow in both directions across the intersection. "A raised intersection is a design tool that transforms the whole intersection into a place that puts pedestrians first. It increases the visibility of people on foot, and gets cars and bikes to slow down through the whole intersection," wrote Josie Ahrens in Walk SF's statement. At Page and Buchanan "This will be especially important for families with children at John Muir Elementary School and neighbors who use Koshland Park."

That fits in perfectly with the city's plans to calm Page and make it a pedestrian and bicycle friendly "neighborway." So be sure to sign Walk SF's petition to keep the city from compromising on this important safety project.

Page and Buchanan, currently. Image: Google Maps
Page and Buchanan, current conditions. Image: Google Maps
Page and Buchanan, currently. Image: Google Maps

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