Northbound San Jose Avenue & I-280 Off-Ramp Road Diet Pilot Project

Project Overview

Improved conditions on Northbound San Jose Avenue

The Northbound San Jose Avenue & I-280 Off-Ramp Road Diet Pilot Project seeks to implement a pilot project that will determine the impact of removing a lane of traffic on northbound San Jose Avenue between: A) the triple merge point of San Jose Avenue, the northbound I-280 off-ramp to San Jose Avenue, and the Monterey Boulevard connector to San Jose Avenue; and, B) Randall Street.

The goals of this pilot project are to:
- Reduce traffic speeds on northbound San Jose Avenue by reducing the number of traffic lanes on the I-280 off-ramp and on San Jose Avenue
- Increase safety for those who walk, drive and bike along the corridor
- Upgrade the existing northbound bicycle lane with a wider, more separated bikeway (where space allows)

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Project Details

Prior to 1992 (and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake), the northbound I-280 off-ramp at San Jose Avenue was a single lane off-ramp.  At the time, I-280, north/east of its junction with US 101, and US 101 (Central Freeway) were closed for post-earthquake removal, repairs and retrofitting, and the off-ramp to San Jose Avenue was widened to assist traffic arriving in San Francisco.  When the retrofit work was completed the ramp was not reduced back to its original single lane width.

Neighborhood residents have expressed concerns about high vehicular speeds on northbound San Jose Avenue and the negative effects this speeding has on the safety for those who walk, drive and bike along the corridor. After an initial community engagement period initiated by District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, the SFMTA proposes to implement traffic calming measures intended to:

  • Increase safety for those who walk, drive and bike along the corridor
  • Reduce traffic speeds on northbound San Jose Avenue by reducing the number of traffic lanes on the I-280 off-ramp and on San Jose Avenue
  • Upgrade the existing northbound bicycle lane with a wider, more separated bikeway (where space allows)
  • Facilitate safer turning movements to and from northbound San Jose Avenue and adjacent residential streets
  • Reduce cut-through traffic from northbound I-280

proposed measures

In the case of any unforeseen and significant impacts, conditions may be reverted to the pre-pilot conditions. The pilot project measures proposed are as follows:

Phase I:
  • Merge the left lane on the San Jose Avenue off-ramp with the lane from San Jose Avenue coming from south of I-280 downstream of the existing I-280 tunnel
  • Reduce San Jose Avenue to two lanes north of St. Mary’s Avenue, then open up to three lanes just upstream of Randall Street to maintain the traffic calming effect of the road diet
  • Upgrade the San Jose Avenue bicycle lane to a more comfortable, separated bikeway (where space allows)
Phase II:
  • Maintain Phase I changes on the surface street portion of San Jose Avenue
  • Merge the two lanes of the off-ramp into a single lane upstream of the existing I-280 tunnel, which then merges with the Monterey Boulevard lane

The northbound I-280 San Jose Avenue off-ramp is currently two lanes and posted with a speed limit of 35 MPH. The San Jose Avenue off-ramp is approximately 1,900 feet long from mainline I-280 to the triple merge point at San Jose Avenue and Monterey Boulevard.  Northbound San Jose Avenue, within City limits, has the following advisory speed limits posted: 45 MPH at approximately 350 feet north of the tunnel; 45 MPH at approximately 125 feet north of Milton Street; 25 MPH (when children are present) at approximately 250 feet south of Randall Street; and  30 MPH at approximately 75 feet north of Randall Street. 

At the end of Phase I, the pilot project shall be deemed successful and sufficient if the 85th percentile speed on the surface street segment of San Jose Avenue is reduced by 15 MPH.  If this speed reduction goal is achieved, Phase II need not be implemented. 

If this speed reduction goal is not achieved, Phase II of the pilot project shall be implemented as soon as possible after Phase I.  Upon completion of Phase II, or sooner, if mutually agreed upon by the SFMTA and Caltrans, appropriate steps will be taken by SFMTA to make the desired elements permanent in accordance with applicable CEQA/NEPA and other federal, state and local requirements.  Otherwise, portions of the project within State right-of-way shall be reverted to original conditions, or as determined appropriate by Caltrans.

Timeline

What follows is a tentative implementation timeline for the pilot project

Phase I

  • December 2013 – March 2014: Planning
    • Community Outreach
    • “Before” Data Collection & Analysis
    • Detailed Design
    • Environmental Revie
  • April/May 2014 – Installation Coordination
  • June 2014 – Construction
  • August 2014 – March 2015 – San Francisco Public Works overpass construction at Richland & Highland Avenues. During this time, construction will require periodic lane closures on San Jose Avenue
  • Spring 2015 – Data Collection & Evaluation
  • Summer 2015 – Repaving of San Jose Avenue (If warranted, phase II measures will be implented with the repaving) 

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