25 mph. Is it right for Monterey Blvd?

25mph-aThe signs have sprouted up all over Monterey Blvd. on poles and in the windows of residents along the street. The message: Please slow down! It’s obvious that a chord has been struck in the community. People want a slower, safer and humanized boulevard but are window signs enough? Do drivers really slow down when they see them or is Monterey Dangerous by Design?

Our street is a place where kids walk (or should be able to walk) to three elementary schools and two preschools or  take the bus to Aptos Middle School. The time has come to move forward to and lower the speed limit to 25mph and take other measures to calm traffic.The Sunnyside neighborhood has been the subject of an MTA traffic calming project but Monterey is conspicuously absent from those plans.

The need  for lower speeds is self-evident. A 25mph limit would  mean shorter stopping distances, less chance of serious injury and far lower chance of pedestrian fatalities. If a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle traveling at 40 mph there is an 85 percent likelihood that the pedestrian will be killed. This percentage drops to 45 percent at 30 mph and 5 percent at 20 mph.

And if we combine a lower speed limit with the visual cues that tell drivers to slow down such as narrower lanes, and lighted cross walks, drivers will actually obey the new limit.

Seems like a no brainer! In exchange for a few extra seconds per trip to the freeway we can have a safer, quieter and more livable neighborhood.

The campaign will swing into high gear after Thanksgiving. In the meantime you can support the effort with an email to FOB containing your name and address and a statement of support from yourself or your organization. We will post it (minus your exact address) as a list of endorsers.

Discuss below and forward this post to your friends and neighbors!

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17 responses to “25 mph. Is it right for Monterey Blvd?

  1. Pingback: fomb unveils new monterey safety campaign « Sunnyside Herald

  2. 25 is too slow for this arterial. It’s a non-starter. Lighted crosswalks and other similar measures would be a much easier sell for city funding or a grant. Spend your energy where it has a chance of being successful.

  3. @anonymous

    Sure, its a starter. Since June there have been two injury accidents, a hit and run and four non-injury accidents on Monterey. And that’s only what’s been reported to the police. Better to start now, rather than wait till more kids get killed as has happened at Plymouth back in 2003.

    So far, this important initiative has support at Sunnyside Elem and St Finn Barr. We’ll post a full list of supporters after the holidays. In the meantime, write to info@friendsofmontereyblvd.org to add your name to the list.

  4. Pop quiz: What’s the current speed limit on Monterey?

    The “Slow Down” campaign got my attention (cool!) so I was curious. Scanning the length of Monterey in Sunnyside I only saw one sign in each direction. So it’s not surprising that people might not even know the limit.

    A few more official speed limit signs would help inform folks of the current limit. That would help… couldn’t hurt!

    Another quiz: How fast do cars really go on Monterey?

    In the Sunnyside Traffic Calming Project data, there’s one block of Monterey speeds, btwn Detroit and Congo:
    Average speed Westbound: 31.7
    Average speed Eastbound: 32.4
    85th percentile speed Westbound: 36.4
    85th percentile speed Eastbound: 37.6

    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/ocalm/Sunnyside.htm

    Is that the only non-anecdotal info the city officially has to go by? Does that represent the rest of Monterey?

    Answer to quiz #1: The official speed limit on Monterey is currently 35mph. Yes, 35. So, according to the data the city has, cars are mostly legal now. No wonder they are not rushing to change this.

    I’d bet a campaign to get the city to post more “35” signs would be more successful than getting the speed limit lowered. How about another neighbor-generated flyer that just says “Speed Limit: 35”?

  5. Tony, I am about to leave my home to go pick up my son so I will double check but I am pretty sure the speed signs on Monterey are for 30 MPH, not 35. I will make sure to double check that.

    If you look at the California Driver’s Handbook you will see that business and residential neighborhoods are supposed to be 25 MPH zones. You will also see that any street with in 500 feet of a school should be 25 MPH.

    This makes Monterey Ave a prime target for speed reduction. It also makes it a great place to talk about lighted crosswalks and pedestrian demand stop lights.

    I have made a point in the last few weeks of making sure I always drive at 30 in both directions. I always get a back up and honked at for not moving fast enough. So we certainly do have an issue worth discussing.

    Perhaps you and Annon. would be interested in starting something to get some better signage and intersection control? That would be fantastic!

  6. Hi again-

    I remembered it wrong, you’re right, it is 30mph. Sorry ’bout that. (I wasn’t able to get out to look at the signs yet, so I called around to various city depts to ask. Turns out the data is not on the web anywhere but the “traffic engineering” dept answered the question by phone.)

    We really should have started this topic with that tidbit. I’m not an advocate either way on this topic. But if even those closely involved with the topic don’t know the current speed limit, how can we expect those passing through our hood to respect it?

    So, I think more “Speed Limit 30” signs would be a simple first step, and more concrete than the vague “Slow Down.” And if that doesn’t work, sure, get the limit dropped to 25. Either way, make it known!

  7. I would also like to throw my hat in support of lowering the speed limit to 25 mph on Monterey Blvd. not only for increased safety but also as a means of reducing the noise pollution that is currently unacceptable in a residential neighborhood. I live one block north of Monterey and often I can’t hear my radio because of the noise. Does anyone know if any studies have been done concerning noise levels? I am also in favor of lighted crosswalks, increased greenery in the islands separating east and west bound traffic as well as bike lanes for those scary, evil cyclist, with their dastardly agendas, to use.

  8. Tony- if the numbers you presented earlier are accurate, then we most certainly have a speeding problem There are no numbers there for the highest end of the speed spectrum nor the percentage of drivers exceeding the limit. That would be interesting to know.

    Karen- The DPH has a noise pollution map. Monterey Blvd comes in at a rating of 75-79 decibels (80 dec. is considered to be hazardous to health)

    Whether we are drivers, walkers or cyclists I think we can all agree that there is a great deal that can be done to improve Monterey Blvd.

  9. I worry daily for our school children who walk over, or wait for the bus on Monterey Blvd. So often I have seen cars ignore children as they step out onto the crosswalk and speed by, barely stopping, especially at Edna and Monterey. Frustrated drivers are starting to use the side streets like Hearst and Flood to avoid the heavy traffic on Monterey, thus increasing the speed of traffic there and ignoring stop signs in the residential neighborhoods. Once again, as our children walk home, they are in danger. Something needs to be done to slow traffic on Monterey. Perhaps more police presence and stoplights, instead of stop signs, which are often ignored.

  10. adriennejohnson

    Tom- Glad to have you join the conversation! Have there been any students injured by cars at your school?

  11. We of the FixMasonic coalition succeeded in lowering the speed limit on Masonic Avenue, also an arterial route, to 25 MPH. By law, this is the appropriate speed limit for a residential street. Our reason for lobbying for this lower speed limit was not that we thought drivers would immediately obey the lower limit – they haven’t – or that SFPD would enforce it strongly – again, negative – but that a 25 MPH street can utilize many forms of traffic calming that are not available – again, by law – on higher speed streets. So for our group it was a first step which must be supported by a redesign of the street itself if it is to have any actual effect. Stay tuned.

  12. adriennejohnson

    Mark- That is exactly why we thought starting with a lowered speed limit was the way to go. There is no way to stop people from using Monterey to get across San Francisco, but we can re-design it so that the people who pas through see a neighborhood instead of an extended freeway on ramp.

  13. Pingback: 25mph Monterey Speed Limit Campaign Picks Up Support « Friends of Monterey Boulevard

  14. Its been proven again and again that lowering limits does NOT improve safety or lower traffic speeds, but the knee jerk safety mavens conveniently ignore that.

  15. Pingback: Speak out this Tuesday for lower speeds on Monterey and in the neighborhood! | Friends of Monterey Boulevard

  16. Pingback: 25 on Monterey is becoming a reality! | Friends of Monterey Boulevard

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