SFMTA Releases Early L-Taraval Boarding Pilot Results

L-Taraval boarding zone pilot at 26th Avenue and Taraval. | Photo: Fiona Lee/Hoodline
By Fiona Lee - Published on September 11, 2017.

The SFMTA has announced early results for its L-Taraval boarding zone pilot, which saw new street markings, signs and train lights along five stops on the route in an effort to improve safety on the corridor without removing parking spots. 

The agency chose inbound stops at Taraval at 26th, 30th, 32nd, 35th and 40th avenues for the pilot, which is part of the L-Taraval Rapid Project

If the pilot is successful, Muni will preserve parking spaces at the five stops; if not, it will install boarding islands.

However, the pilot has not yet reached the level of success that SFMTA was hoping for: 90 percent compliance from drivers. 

Image: SFMTA

SFMTA has collected data since April and tracked whether or not drivers are stopping behind light-rail vehicles.

The agency has seen a slight overall increase in drivers stopping, going from 72 percent before the pilot to 75 percent at the pilot's midpoint.

The most successful stop for the pilot was at 26th Avenue, which saw 83 percent of drivers obeying the law, while the 35th Avenue stop has only seen 65 percent of drivers stop, likely because it is only one block away from the Sunset Boulevard stop. 

"As the pilot moves into its final phase," wrote SFMTA, "canvassers will conduct a second distribution of educational posters to merchants on the corridor and enforcement may be increased."

The overall improvements for the L-Taraval are also part of the Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic accidents in San Francisco. Because riders for the L-Taraval embark and disembark in direct traffic, the high-injury corridor is regularly cited as one of the most dangerous in San Francisco.

According to SFMTA, 46 people have been hit along Taraval Street, with 22 people hit getting on or off the L-Taraval. 

Riders at the outbound stop at 30th and Taraval. | Photo: Fiona Lee/Hoodline

The boarding zone pilot was approved in September 2016, when the agency's Board of Directors approved a slew of changes to improve safety, including boarding islands, transit-only lanes, and stop consolidation.

Because adding new boarding islands requires the removal of parking spaces, the boarding zone project was implemented. Many merchants and locals in the area were upset over the loss of parking and called for a way to make the corridor safer without installing islands. 

To preserve parking spaces, SFMTA is also asking residents to vote on adding angled parking to the streets closest to Taraval. Residents received ballots in the mail in August and should turn them in by tomorrow, September 12th. 

SFMTA will release final results for the pilot in October. 

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