Guidelines from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) establish a policy for how best to design streets and sidewalks to be safe for all users in an urban, multi-modal environment
San Francisco - Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Supervisor Scott Wiener's legislation adopting street design guidelines established by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). These new guidelines - reflecting a forward-thinking, progressive approach to urban street design - will extend San Francisco's Better Streets Policy, which focuses on sidewalks, to include the entire cross section of the street, including not only sidewalks but also travel lanes, bike lanes, and intersections. This policy will guide all future street projects.
"Safe and livable streets start with smart street design reflecting the needs of all users," said Supervisor Wiener. "Safe streets and livable neighborhoods require the three 'e's - education, enforcement and engineering. Importing NACTO's urban design policy will guide us to deliver on that third e - engineering - by ensuring we design streets for all users, including not just cars but also pedestrians, transit riders, and cyclists. For San Francisco to have a more sustainable future, we need an environment that encourages and allows people to safely and enjoyably walk, bike, and use transit, in addition to driving."
The legislation passed today adopts the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide and the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide into the San Francisco's Better Streets Policy, which establishes the City's approach to designing streets and sidewalks. The Better Streets Policy already contains suggested minimum sidewalk widths, suggests improvements for enhancing pedestrian safety, as well as enhancements that support our natural environment, such as storm water recapture. The NACTO guidelines will extend this policy to include the entire street cross section of the street - from building face to building face.
One of the NACTO guidelines adopted includes the policy that individual lane widths on most streets not exceed 10 feet. Many studies show that wider lanes - and especially lanes wider than 10 feet - encourage vehicles to speed and in doing so, make those streets dangerous for pedestrians and other users. While most existing lanes in San Francisco are 10 feet or less, certain departments recently attempted to require that streets approved for the Candlestick and Hunters Point Shipyard be widened to include travel lanes that were 13 feet wide. Supervisor Wiener worked with the project developer, city departments, and community advocates to ensure that the streets at these developments remained safe for pedestrians.
Ed Reiskin, the Director of Transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, is the current NACTO President. He will preside over NACTO's third annual Designing Cities conference being held here in San Francisco from October 22nd through October 25th.