Thursday, February 17, 2011

MTA To Adopt Traffic Calming Urged by Fix Masonic, Traffic Engineer Manito Velasco to Guide Effort

Re-striping faded lanes is one of several traffic calming measures planned

The Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) will adopt several traffic calming measures on Masonic Avenue in the next few months to reduce speeding on the corridor from Fell to Geary Streets. Traffic lanes and crosswalks will be re-striped, 25 MPH and School Zone advisories will be applied to the street surfaces at a number of locations, and travel lanes will be more clearly marked for merging traffic. The changes are among several proposed last November by the grassroots group Fix Masonic to make the corridor safer during the many months leading up to a re-design of the street. They complement others that the MTA has already implemented.

Javad Mirabdal, project manager for the larger Masonic Avenue Street Design Study, said the re-striping and painting measures could be implemented within a month while other requests, such as installing a red light camera at Fell and Masonic, establishing a double-fine zone for speeding, and adding thumbnail medians with signs posting 25 MPH will take longer or require further review. He added that the interim traffic calming measures will be implemented under the guidance of veteran MTA traffic engineer Manito Velasco.

Fix Masonic representatives met with MTA staff on November 9, 2010 and submitted a dozen recommendations for discouraging speeding and increasing pedestrian safety. Although neither the community group nor the traffic engineers expect the traffic calming measures to eliminate all speeding on Masonic, they do hope the changes will reduce collisions and encourage drivers to stay within the 25 MPH speed limit.

In January city planning staff completed a final report for transforming the Masonic corridor into a safer, more attractive thoroughfare for all users. The document includes recommendations to adopt a set of changes dubbed the Boulevard, an option that resulted from a series of community meetings last year involving Masonic area residents.

In the months ahead the MTA will take the Masonic project to the next level – fine-tuning the design, conducting an environmental review, if needed, and seeking approval of the plan from an MTA public hearing officer and the MTA Board of Directors. Javad Mirabdal is a likely candidate to lead the process since he has steered the Masonic study through the community planning process and the drafting of the final report. Although Mirabdal did not confirm this possibility, he did suggest that "all steps of the approval process will move forward at the same time.” He also added that he hoped the hearing could be scheduled by the end of June.

For previous stories in the A Better Masonic series, check here.


  1. Fantastic news! Thanks everyone in the local community and at the MTA for their hard work! Just yesterday I witnessed a very near high-speed collision so the time is nigh.

  2. from "a masonic neighbor" via email:

    When I woke up in my house on Masonic this morning, I couldn't hear the normal roar of traffic that comes from the 3 lanes of speeding traffic.

    It turns out that construction workers were installing a vent atop the Luckys at fulton, reducing the morning traffic to one lane in each direction between mcallister and hayes. The traffic was moving at 25 MPH, when the light was red, I could easily cross masonic to get to the bus stop without worrying about a reckless driver, and even with a large crane, it was clearly more peaceful and pleasant than it is on a normal day.

    For those folks worried about the traffic calming in the boulevard option, I hope you had a chance to see masonic this morning. It was, for at least one day, a street I was happy to live on.

  3. Any news about painting sharrows until the new bike lanes are built on Masonic?

  4. to Mike: no news on that front. Personally I would not feel safer biking on Masonic with sharrows added right now, but perhaps when the new striping goes down as part of the interim measures.

  5. Red light cameras are going in now at Fell/Masonic!