Bike and pedestrian safety changes coming to Arguello Boulevard

Photo: SFMTA

Photo: SFMTA

According to a page on the SFMTA website, changes will be made to Arguello Boulevard for the purpose of improving pedestrian and bike safety.

Known as the Arguello Boulevard Safety Project, the plans include:

Buffered Bike Lane: Narrowing the existing 15-foot wide vehicle travel lanes allows for space to paint a buffer zone alongside the existing bike lanes on Arguello Boulevard.

Daylighting at Intersections: Removing one parking space on the approach to crosswalks.

Bike Boxes and Two-Stage Left Turn Boxes: Paint treatments that allow bicycles to make safer turns into and out of side streets and that create a space for bicycles waiting at red lights.

Left-Turn Prohibition – McAllister Street: This project will restrict southbound vehicles from turning left onto eastbound McAllister Street and will paint a median across the mouth of McAllister Street to physically block this turning movement. Drivers will also be unable to turn left from westbound McAllister Street to southbound Fulton Street.

Signal Upgrades to Fulton Street/Arguello Blvd Intersection: Upgrade the traffic signal at Fulton Street to allow for a protected left-turn for vehicles making a southbound left turn from Arguello to Fulton Street, plus a “lagging left-turn” from eastbound Fulton Street to northbound Arguello Boulevard. Changes will also restrict cars from turning left from westbound Fulton Street to southbound Arguello Blvd. into the park.

Reconfigure Turn Pockets: Remove the left-turn pocket on northbound Arguello Boulevard at Anza Street and replace it with a right-turn pocket. Other turn pockets on the corridor will be reconfigured to add bicycle wayfinding markings.

The approval for the initial phase of work will be on the agenda at the upcoming August 16 SFMTA Board of Directors meeting. This includes “paint-only” improvements like the buffered bike lanes, intersection daylighting, the painted median at Arguello/McAllister Street, some changes to turn pockets, and intersection wayfinding for bikes.

Proposed changes for the McAllister and Arguello intersection

Proposed changes for the McAllister and Arguello intersection

In late 2017, the final phase of work will take place in coordination with a repaving project on Arguello Boulevard. These 2017 improvements include making the current painted pedestrian islands at McAllister, Cabrillo, and Golden Gate into raised concrete islands, building pedestrian bulbouts and a new Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon (pedestrian crossing beacon) at Arguello/Cabrillo, and making the painted median across McAllister Street into a raised median.

In case this project is news to readers (it was to us), it was because there hasn’t been any media outreach yet on it. In January there was a public walkthrough of the project. The public was notified by the SFMTA via a mailer that was sent to all residential and commercial addresses on Arguello (and to all side street addresses within a one block radius of Arguello Boulevard).

Another public walkthrough was held on May 25th to address the proposed alteration to vehicle circulation at McAllister Street and Arguello Boulevard, which had been revised since the original concepts.

For more information on the project, including the ability to sign up for email updates, visit the project website.

Thanks to Charles Ream at the SFMTA for providing us with the latest information and drawings.

Sarah B.




  1. Prohibit right turns from Turk to Arguello, resetting timers on stop light to 1min. For lights on major intersections on Arguello. Extensive use of speed bumps to slow tragic on Arguello.

  2. Visually, this seems just more confusing (I do ALOT, ALOT of biking). Just allow vehicles to get where they need (time lights to keep flow at 35 mph) to go and I think things will be safer with the old school original configuration. Will save the environment too to keep cars going at constant speed. Cars are not going away too soon- like it or not.

  3. Nice. Incremental improvements. Need to slow down the traffic a bit on this boulevard. This is a major bikeway and pedestrian zone.

  4. Bradley Akey that may be the most absurd and unrealistic solution I have ever heard.

  5. I’m really looking forward to the buffered bike lanes. I bike on Arguello with my kids and it’s nervewracking to be so close to the cars. That said, why are parked cars still to the right of the bike lane? Why not use them as a buffer like on JFK Drive in the park? I thought that was best practice now.

  6. David Marcus, the practice of “buffering” bike lanes with parked cars leads to cyclists being trapped in a single narrow lane, with nowhere to go should there be an obstruction, stopped bicycle, slower bicycle, oblivious pedestrian, car door, huge puddle, etc. With the current configuration as well as the proposed one on Arguello, cyclists can move with traffic to avoid obstacles.

  7. arguello is already super safe for cyclists and pedestrians, although needs a left turn arrow at Geary intersection to avoid car/pedestrian conflicts. the neighborhood has become increasing difficult to park in and congestion has gotten worse as a result of cars circling for parking. one thing that can be done to make it safer is to actually ticket all the cyclists who constantly run the stop signs and red lights. It is a major problem on Arguello especially on Sat and Sun. The cyclists coming down the hill from the presidio blow every stop sign all the way to sacramento, some without slowing down. we need more enforcement of this.

  8. @JIMBO, Arguello is actually one of the city’s high bike/ped injury corridors, so it’s not that safe. I don’t know the data specifically for Arguello, but in general most pedestrian injuries occur with pedestrians in crosswalks with a walk sign. Similarly, most bicycle injuries are left hooks and right hooks by turning vehicles failing to yield the right of way. http://sfgov.maps.arcgis.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=335c508503374f5d94c95cb2a1f3f4f4

  9. most bike accidents are self inflcited with no car involved. we cannot have bikes running stop signs at 20mph on arguello as they do now. too many kids around.

    i need some stats to beleive there are car inflicted bike injuries on arguello where it is not the cyclists fault.

  10. Would love to see more streets in the Richmond receive this type of attention too! Especially Clement Street!! I see near collision misses between cars/bikes/pedestrians/muni on a daily basis.

  11. clement should just have 4 ways stops at every intersection. people dont seem to understand which are 4 way and which are 2 way anyway. there is also a big problem with people taking uturns to get into opened parking spaces. alittle enforcement would help. the cars are the problem on clement for sure. but on arguello, there are a lot of scofflaw cyclsits who just dont care about stop signs and new infrastructure wont fix that.

  12. I’ve seen these new bike lanes around, and they look horrifying. Trapping bicycle riders between cars & buses just seem like a bad idea.. and some of the lanes randomly disappear and/or are moved over after intersections, leaving the bike riders in a bad fix in the middle of the traffic (near Cliff House area on Geary). Who came up with this stuff?

  13. Any improvement to bicycle safety is a fantastic thing in a city that is rapidly becoming more and more bike friendly. Thanks SFMTA!

  14. The best thing that can be done for the safety of all is to raise the traffic fines a lot and then enforce them.

    Years ago the Richmond District Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) did a traffic enforcement with the Station Captain and several of the officers at Arguello and Lake. Almost every bicyclist coming down from the Presidio rode past the stop signs at a high rate of speed. Many of the pedestrians ignored the traffic lights and signs. A few of the auto drivers, rolled stop signs and ignored the no right turn sign at Lake.

    You should have head all their excuses.

    Some would argue that bicyclists and pedestrians only generally do damage to themselves if they flaunt the law. But, when a car does it they hurt others. In a narrow sense that is a valid point. But, in the larger sense it is not. Behavioral Traffic Scientists know that all those little transgressions by bicyclists and pedestrians add up to angst in auto drivers heads. They get pissed off by what they perceive as unfairness. Rarely do bicyclists and pedestrians get ticketed.

    So, the drivers see them as receiving special treatment with respect to the law. This can lead to drivers consciously or unconsciously having aggressive thoughts toward those modes of transport. That can result in subtle road rage or in the extreme people getting run into or over.

    The changes in the roadway is doing more to exacerbate that cognitive issue in drivers minds. All that work for those who disobey the rule and don’t get cited. So, the Traffic Engineers are screwing up as they don’t look at the entire issue in context. They look to what they see as a “solution” because their is not political will to raise fines and also crack down enforcement wise.

    There is also the phenomenon of transportation trends. About every 10 years or so some “new thing” some into favor in transportation planning circles. People build their professional life on these trends. The roadwork being done is just the latest trend. The actual science is tenuous at best for these developments.

    These ideas are brought to you by the same people who made a $100M mistake with the count down pedestrian sign’s. People do not pay any attention to the big red hand. Their brain just sees the numbers counting down and they start off from the curb even though the big red hand is telling them to stay put. This “little problem” causes those in the traffic lanes trying to make left turn have to wait until the light changes color. The entre point of that time (the count down) is to let people know how much time they have to finish crossing AND allow for clearing the left turns of cars. When 2 or 3 frustrated drivers blow through the red so they do not have to wait another cycle to make a left, due to the late pedestrians, this ad’s of course to the risk at that intersection and puts pedestrians and bicyclists at risk in the other direction.

    The only thing that will make everyone safe is for there to be fines that really hurt and meaningful enforcement on automobiles drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians equally.

    Redoing a section of roadway will just increase and push the angst of the auto drivers to some other block where such road work has not been done. Of course, on the block in question the accident rate will go down, as it will just get shift to someplace else. But the Traffic Engineers and Planners will pat themselves on the back and think they have done good.

  15. @JD, this sentence in your comment caught my eye. “Behavioral Traffic Scientists know that all those little transgressions by bicyclists and pedestrians add up to angst in auto drivers heads.”

    I geek out on urban studies and I’ve never seen such a study or heard of this field. When I googled “Behavioral Traffic Scientist” in quotes, google found zero results. Is this really a thing and is there really a study behind this? Pardon my skepticism.

  16. thanks JD. all the bike lane and red public transport lanes that stay empty 90% of the time are really causing tons of increased congestion in SF

  17. I realize this is slightly off topic, but speaking of “safety” improvements, can anyone explain the reason behind the new changes on Fulton in the Outer Richmond, where the city is widening the sidewalk at bus stops? As a frequent bus rider, I don’t see the point, and as a driver, it irks me that each bus stop that’s been widened now takes up 3-4 parking spaces. I feel like the city is just throwing money at anything that has safety in the name, without thinking it through. Like another commenter said, cars aren’t going away anytime soon. Maybe SF just needs to come to terms with that.

  18. Also curious if 8th Ave (between Geary and Fulton) is actually going to be left as is. The road condition is in HORRIBLE shape from all the construction. Dangerous uneven road for biking and the middle of the road looks like it caves in. If San Francisco ever had a major rainstorm – I can imagine the water would pool everywhere.

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