MTA pilot plan for San Jose Avenue “road diet” to start in March

On February 3 The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency presented its pilot traffic calming plan for San Jose Avenue at a meeting at the Glen Park School. There was a large turnout from Glen Park and College Hill. Unfortunately, the presentation conflicted with the SNA general membership meeting so Sunnyside was under-represented.

Currently, the northbound I-280 off-ramp at San Jose Avenue is two lanes with a posted advisory speed of 35 MPH. The top 85% of cars driving there hit speeds of 57 mph. The northbound San Jose Ave. “cut” between Glen Park and Randall is generally three lanes plus a bike lane with a posted speed limit of 45 mph and an 85th percentile speed of 48 mph.

MTA’s objective is to reduce the 85% speeds on San Jose Ave and the I-280 off-ramp to 35 mph with no significant increase in congestion on the freeway or in the rate or severity of collisions.

The plan is to put the northbound side of San Jose Avenue on a “road diet” by duplicating what was done several years ago on the southbound side. The three northbound lanes will be reduced to two at Glen Park. The third lane will reappear a few hundred feet from Randall Street so as to avoid a backup. The bike lane will be upgraded to a “buffered” lane with a striped painted area that will add more space between cars and bikes.

Phase one of the new street layout will be started in March and will be evaluated by MTA until November. If, at that time there is congestion in the cut Phase two will be implemented removing one of the two exit lanes that funnel traffic onto San Jose Ave. (Old timers will remember that the second exit lane was “temporarily” added after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 while the double deck section of the freeway was rebuilt. Since then, drivers from the Peninsula have habitually entered the city at San Jose, even if they were headed to points further north.)

The plan was well received by residents who attended the meeting and there was little or no opposition.

Questions or comments may be directed to Project Manager Mike Riebe at 701-2467 or

The Project web site is


One response to “MTA pilot plan for San Jose Avenue “road diet” to start in March

  1. I didn’t know who else to contact at the MTA, but please pass along my deepest concerns.

    The new surprise configuration of the San Jose Ave. offramp from SB I-280 is absolutely deadly. When exiting the tunnel, there is a rapid dogleg to the left, and I nearly smashed into the plastic barriers. The driver in the other lane was not expecting the dog leg and nearly sideswiped me. The tiny little “slowdown” signs are completely ineffective.

    My husband sat through SIX light cycles in San Jose tonight. Everyone in the neighborhood and the cyclists are forced to inhale that smog. How is that environmentally better?

    I can’t believe that bicyclists would be put at such risk to merge with freeway traffic. The changes are very startling to motorists, and potentially deadly for bicyclists. Despite the speed limit, I saw cars traveling well over 50 mph on San Jose Ave. while bicyclists ride < 10 mph in what was once the right lane.

    Additionally, the left offramp lane now suddenly merges with San Jose Ave. on what is nearly a blind merge, at the exit of the tunnel, similar to what reminds me of the very dangerous and archaic Pasadena freeway in LA.

    If we want to have bike lanes, we need to do it right, and have them completely separated from traffic. Instead of removing traffic lanes, and startling and infuriating the public, I would simply have created a wider sidewalk for bicyclists to use and made it a bike lane, since pedestrians never ever use that. High-speed freeways and bike lanes don't mix.

    I am absolutely shocked that city planners would create this deadly configuration. It's only a matter of time before someone is killed or in an accident. This is exactly what happened on Folsom street when the right lane was removed, and bicyclists began to ride in both directions against traffic.

    The city is opening themselves up to huge lawsuits over wrongful death. But more importantly, we're actually endangering those we wish to protect, by providing a false, ineffective sense of security.

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