Traffic plan aims to curb speeding in busy S.F. neighborhood 

click to enlarge Radar trailers and medians are part of an SFMTA effort to calm 17th Street traffic. - JOSEPH SCHELL/SPECIAL TO THE SF EXAMINER
  • Joseph Schell/Special to The SF Examiner
  • Radar trailers and medians are part of an SFMTA effort to calm 17th Street traffic.

Increased enforcement and new traffic-calming measures could finally give residents in the Buena Vista and Cole Valley neighborhoods relief from speeding motorists.

Most of the traffic problems occur on 17th Street, a key east-west thoroughfare that links Market Street with connections to UC San Francisco’s Parnassus Campus in the Inner Richmond district. Motorists ignore stop signs, don’t yield to pedestrians and generally drive too fast, said Richard Magary of the community group Buena Vista Neighborhood Association.

Another problem is Roosevelt Way, a steep downhill road that connects with 17th Street. Its design tends to send motorists flying into that intersection, Magary said.

Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF, said streets in the area are wider than needed, which encourages speeding.

In 2008, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates traffic in The City, began studying ways to improve conditions in the neighborhood, but the project stalled for years without any major improvements. Now, the agency is set to install traffic medians, including trouble points at Roosevelt Way and 15th Street and at Temple and 17th streets.

Also, the Police Department is stepping up its presence. Responding to recent community concerns, Park Police Station increased patrols last weekend on 17th Street. The SFPD also installed a radar trailer on the roadway in an attempt to slow down motorists. Cops also have engaged in decoy campaigns where officers cross sidewalks and hand out citations to drivers who don’t stop, station Capt. John Feeney said.

Magary said he’s optimistic the efforts will finally pay off for residents.

“People are just careless and disrespectful now,” Magary said. “The idea is to raise enough awareness for them to slow down and drive safe.”

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Will Reisman

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