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Release date: June 7, 2012

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, today announced the completion of speed limit reductions to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in the SoMa neighborhood. Like most downtown streets the speed limits on segments of Howard, Folsom, Harrison and Bryant streets are now 25mph.

“Last summer I directed city staff to prioritize pedestrian safety by implementing projects and policies that have a direct and immediate reduction in auto-pedestrian accidents,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “San Francisco has established aggressive targets to reduce pedestrian injuries, 25 percent reduction in serious and fatal pedestrian injuries by 2016 and a 50 percent reduction by 2021.”

"Pedestrian safety must be a priority for everyone," said District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim. "The injuries and deaths that continue to impact our South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods are absolutely preventable if drivers slow down. The few minutes saved by rushing through our city are not worth human lives."

“By analyzing vehicle speeds, traffic volumes and collision rates, the SFMTA determined that this 5mph reduction would be an effective way to improve pedestrian and traffic safety in the area,” said Edward D. Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “When traveling at a slightly reduced speed motorists have more time to react making the roadway safer for everyone.”

“Traffic safety is one of the many missions of the San Francisco Police Department,” said SFPD Chief Greg Suhr. “Through the combined efforts of SFMTA traffic engineers and SFPD education and enforcement campaigns, we can make the City's streets safer for all who use them.”

"Calming traffic on the city's wide, fast, freeway-like streets is a priority for Walk SF,” said Elizabeth Stampe, Director of Walk SF. Every day, more people are living, working, and walking in SOMA, and safer speeds here will be better for everyone."

The four SoMa street segments with the speed limit reductions from 30mph to 25mph:

  • Howard Street from The Embarcadero to South Van Ness Avenue
  • Folsom Street from The Embarcadero to 13th Street
  • Harrison Street from The Embarcadero to 13th Street
  • Bryant Street from The Embarcadero to 11th Street

As part of the state-required speed survey renewal, the SFMTA measured vehicle speeds, vehicle volumes and collision rates as well as special conditions such as bike lanes, dense mixed commercial and residential use and commercial driveways to determine the new speed limit on these street segments. To implement the speed limit change, the SFMTA installed 13 additional speed limit signs along these four streets to enhance awareness of the lowered limit, which is effective immediately.

One of the most important steps to reduce fatal and serious injuries is designing streets so that motor vehicles travel at speeds that are safe for everyone, including pedestrians. When vehicles are traveling at 30 mph, studies show that pedestrians are six times more likely to die than in collisions with vehicles traveling at 20 mph or less. The prima facie speed limit on San Francisco streets is 25 mph, unless signs are posted to dictate otherwise.

The Mayor’s Office and city agencies have undertaken many efforts to reduce driving speed to posted speed limits. These efforts include the installation of speed humps, traffic circles, median islands, curb bulbs, edge lines, road diets, and traffic signal modifications.

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