Bond M. Yee, Director of Traffic Engineering for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), provided NOPA and Alamo Square residents last week with an update on the agency's plans for a range of neighborhood concerns centered on Fell and Oak Streets. As previously reported here, SFMTA will undertake no further installation of the SFgo signs, as Yee wrote in the October 16th email, "until there is further discussion with the Supervisors and, we hope, a mutually agreed solution." Yee affirmed MTA's resolve to work with Supervisor Mirkarimi's office to "engage the community" to discuss alternatives to the signs.
Yee also detailed agency plans for increasing pedestrian and bicyclist safety and for slowing traffic along the Fell/Oak corridor:
- The Oak Street SFgo sign will be removed, but Yee provided no date for doing so.
- MTA will consider a smaller, more neighborhood-friendly SFgo sign for Fell Street with a new pole structure as well as other alternatives.
- MTA will "evaluate travel speeds and potentially reduce traffic signal cycle length during evening hours in an attempt to address the speeding concerns." MTA's intentions here are unclear: Will the evaluation only be directed at later evening hours, after the commute, and, if so, why focus on the time period with the fewest number of pedestrians and bicyclists and motorists using the Fell/Oak corridor? Was Yee proposing to look at the evening commute and not the morning commute? No timeline was provided for when this evaluation will be undertaken.
- MTA will "evaluate the possibility of removing a travel lane on Fell Street between Baker and Shrader Streets and replace it with a bicycle lane to alleviate the current congestion at the shared pedestrian and bicycle path along the Panhandle." This option will certainly require MTA to "engage the community" as it touches so many other issues: the need to upgrade the current Panhandle Path, improvements to the southside Panhandle Path, removal of a traffic lane, and the need to slow traffic overall.
- As previously announced here, MTA "plans to install a new red light camera at Fell and Masonic." MTA traffic engineer Jack Fleck informed neighbors of this decision at NOPNA's September 17th meeting. FIX Masonic and other advocacy groups, including the SF Bicycle Coalition, have urged installation of a red light camera at this location for several months to alleviate motorist's confusion with the bicycle/pedestrian light. Yee did not provide an installation date.