San Jose Avenue update


Damon R. Curtis, PE

Construction & Design Services Engineer

Livable Streets – Community Projects

Hello Neighbors,


You have probably noticed that construction of Phase II for the San Jose Avenue and I-280 Off-Ramp Road Diet Pilot Project did not occur last week as previously planned.  Due to scheduling conflicts, construction of Phase II will now take place on June 9-10 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM each day.  Caltrans will close the San Jose Avenue off-ramp during these periods.  In addition, City crews will redirect or intermittently stop traffic on San Jose Avenue and Monterey Boulevard as needed to safely perform the striping work.  And just to clarify, Phase II consists only of restriping the freeway off-ramp to reduce it to a single lane.  There will be no changes to the current lane configurations on San Jose Avenue between the off-ramp and Randall Street.

I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all of the feedback we have received in the last few of weeks.  Several of you have expressed continued support for the project but many of you have questions and concerns.  Rather than attempt to respond to everyone individually, I have compiled the following information to address a few of the issues that have been mentioned most often.  Please contact me if you have additional questions that are not addressed below.

SFMTA collected Post-Pilot Phase I data in September 2014 and January 2015.  We also received over 400 responses to the online survey conducted last fall through the project webpage,, as well as dozens of emails and telephone calls with comments and first-hand observations.

A summary of the Post-Pilot Phase I data, along with pre-pilot data collected at the same locations last January, is attached.  Also included below is a summary of the anticipated next steps, which are based on the data, observations conducted by staff, and information learned from the feedback we have received.

Summary of Data Results

·         San Jose Avenue – AM peak hour traffic volumes decreased 21% and speeds decreased only 6%, a fairly minor drop from 49 MPH to 46 MPH.

·         Rousseau Street – AM peak hour traffic volumes increased 79% and speeds increased 18%.

·         Milton Street – AM peak hour traffic volumes decreased 22 percent and speeds decreased 4%.

·         St. Marys Avenue – AM peak hour traffic volumes increased 13% in the southbound direction and decreased 5% in the northbound direction.  Similarly, AM peak hour traffic speeds on St. Marys Avenue increased in both the southbound and northbound directions, 19% and 63%, respectively.  It also should be noted that during the PM peak hour southbound traffic volumes on St. Marys Avenue rose substantially by 125%.

·         Bicycles on San Jose Avenue – AM peak hour bicycle volumes increased tremendously by 651%.


As mentioned above we have received feedback from a great number of residents, and by and large the comments and concerns expressed fall into three main areas: increased congestion on San Jose Avenue; increased traffic on St. Marys Avenue; and, vehicle encroachment into the separated bikeway.

Next Steps

  • June 2015
    • Implement Phase II of the Pilot, which consists of reducing the freeway off-ramp to a single lane (June 9-10).
    • SFMTA staff to observe San Jose Avenue traffic conditions in the field and be available to answer questions (date, time and location to be determined).
    • SFMTA staff to contact residents on Rousseau, Milton and St. Marys (and Glen, Marsily, and College) directly to determine the level of support for possible changes designed to decrease cut-through traffic on their streets, and to slow down the traffic that is there.  This separate communication will include information about the potential benefits and likely drawbacks associated with each change, but for now here is a preliminary list of the potential changes:
      • Install speed humps on Rousseau between San Jose and Bosworth.
      • Make Milton two-way south of San Jose; right turns from San Jose would continue to be prohibited.  Install a bulbout at the northwest corner to shorten pedestrian crossing distance and physically deter right turns from San Jose.
      • Install speed humps on St. Marys between San Jose and Mission.  Prohibit right turns from San Jose to St. Marys.  Install a bulbout at the northwest corner to shorten pedestrian crossing distance and physically deter right turns from San Jose.
  • June – August 2015
    • Collect Phase II post-installation data.
    • Install additional delineators in the bikeway buffer between Rousseau & Milton, between Milton & St. Marys, and approaching Randall, to further deter vehicle encroachment into the separated bikeway (date to be determined).
    • Investigate possible signal timing adjustments at Randall to increase green time for northbound San Jose traffic (Note, this analysis will be done in conjunction with proposed changes by the Muni Forward project).
    • Develop post-pilot recommendations.

  • September – December 2015
    • Vet recommendations with community stakeholders.
    • Environmentally clear and legislate recommended changes.

  • January 2016 – May 2016
    • Coordinate implementation of post-pilot preferred design with DPW repaving project.

Thank you to all of the residents and commuters who have sent feedback about the pilot project so far.  We appreciate your continued patience, cooperation and support.


Damon R. Curtis, PE

Construction & Design Services Engineer

Livable Streets – Community Projects

415.701.4674 – office

510.708.6911 – cell

From: Curtis, Damon
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2015 4:46 PM
Subject: San Jose Avenue & I-280 Off-Ramp Road Diet Pilot Project

Dear neighbors,

Thanks for your continued interest in the San Jose Avenue and I-280 Off-Ramp Road Diet Pilot Project.  The SFMTA has been working with Caltrans on measures to reduce speeding on San Jose Avenue and we have some new information to share.

Phase I of the pilot project reduced the number of travel lanes and provided a safer and more comfortable bikeway design in the hopes of reducing speeding on San Jose Avenue.  These changes did not bring about the desired 15mph speed reduction along the corridor and we will be moving forward with Phase II beginning on June 2.

Phase II includes merging the two lanes of the I-280 off-ramp into a single lane upstream of the existing I-280 tunnel.  Phase II construction will take place on June 2-3 and we will once again be collecting speed data to understand the impacts of these changes.

Thank you for your continued interest in the project.  We will keep you updated as this project moves forward.

Damon R. Curtis, PE

Construction & Design Services Engineer

Livable Streets – Community Projects

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: cid:image001.png@01CDA630.9EE87D50 SFMTA | Municipal Transportation Agency

Sustainable Streets Division

One South Van Ness Ave, 7th Floor
San Francisco, California 94103-5417

T:415.701.4674 | C:510.708.6911 | F:415.701.4343 |


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Bird & Beckett celebrates its Sweet 16

Street ad for May 22, 2015 Bird & Beckett Friday evening jazz, announcing sixteen years of playing music

Street ad for May 22, 2015 Bird & Beckett Friday evening jazz, announcing sixteen years of playing music

Story and photos by Murray Schneider
Bird & Beckett Books and Records threw a sweet sixteen-birthday party for itself on May 22, featuring a quintet of bookstore musicians very familiar to its jazz-loving Glen Park audiences.
“Back in 1999 Chuck Peterson proposed the preposterous idea that we have jazz each Friday night,” said bookstore owner Eric Whittington, studying a standing room-only crowd at his Chenery Street bookstore.
The Boys in the Band listened behind him, their instruments laid temporarily to rest. It would be the only time that evening the men would remain silent.
They’d just completed a rendition of “Yardbird Suite,” a composition Charlie Parker had made famous.
“Why’s it called “Yardbird Suite”? Whittington joked with his audience.
“Why’s this place called Bird & Beckett,” fired back saxophonist Chuck Peterson.
Four players, all of whom had perfected their musical chops playing with him, surrounded Peterson. He was the one who started it all, with a modest proposal when Glen Park’s preeminent bookstore was located on Diamond Street.

The Boys in the Band - Howie Dudune, horn, Jimmy Ryan, drums, Don Prell, bass, Scott Foster, guitar, and Chuck Peterson, horn

The Boys in the Band – Howie Dudune, horn, Jimmy Ryan, drums, Don Prell, bass, Scott Foster, guitar, and Chuck Peterson, horn

Guest reed player Howie Dudune sat at Peterson’s right. Behind Dudune, Jimmy Ryan leaned over his drums, and to Ryan’s left Don Prell hugged his bass. In front of Prell, Scott Foster swiped a handkerchief across his forehead while his guitar rested upon his knees.
Three of the players had begun with Peterson; each now fronts his own jazz ensemble once a month at the bookstore, which Whittington named after horn player Charlie “Bird” Parker and playwright Samuel Beckett.
“Thank you all for coming,” said Whittington. “We’re calling this the ‘Founders Quintet,’ and we’re going to bring them back in October for another reunion.”
The band fiddled with their instruments while Rick Elmore walked to the stage apron. Elmore positioned himself in front of Peterson, below the raised stage. Elmore, a trombonist, was an earlier regular in the Whittington musical repertory company.

Bird & Beckett book store window, featuring a Chuck Peterson Glen Park News story

Bird & Beckett book store window, featuring a Chuck Peterson Glen Park News story

Directly behind Peterson, guitarist Scott Foster waved a sheet of music.
“Bill Perkins was unable to be here tonight,” Foster informed the audience. “Bill wrote out sheets like this for each of us, beautifully handwritten. We can’t forget Bill.”
Each musician thumbed through his music, pulling out a Perkins interpretation of the standard, “Emily.”
When they finished this piece, they continued for another hour, each taking solo riffs. Then they broke for a set break.
Whittington, as he does each Friday, stood before the appreciative throng. He pointed to a jar behind him, which was already filling up with cash and coin.
“Help pay the band. It’s a nice thing to do,” he said. “Otherwise it comes from the till. Oh, and buy a book, too.”
The audience rose, some immediately heading for the jar, jamming the suggested 10 bucks through its top while others milled around bottles of white and red wine next to shelves of non-fiction books. Still others squeezed through the crowd and walked out side, some to light a smoke, others to grab the ear of a relaxing musician. Still others inched up to Whittington, who stood behind his counter, and handed him a book or two to tote up.
Just another Friday night of music and community at Glen Park’s treasured bookstore.
Recently, on May 15, Whittington had to pony up $416 to the City for an entertainment license, which he’s not quibbling about since he’s served up on average 150 concerts a year if you count his Saturday and Sunday gigs along with his Friday shows.
Factor in his author talks, his poetry readings and now his son, Jack Whittington’s fine arts Gallery Ex Libris, whose current show “The Death of the Book” runs through mid-June, and Whittington’s not picking any fights with City Hall.
He has, however, 30 days before he must return to Civic Center for a routine hearing on June 16, which is enough time for his legions of loyal customers to write or call the powers-at-be and spill the beans to officialdom, enlightening them as to what a neighborhood resource his bookstore has become.
The set break over, the jazz players began separating from their fans and friends and trickled back to the stage.
Taking the microphone, Whittington greeted them. Turning, he faced the audience.
“It’s time to get Dorothy up here,” he said.
The audience gave it up for familiar chanteuse Dorothy Lefkovits, who began singing with drummer Jimmy Ryan’s ensemble.

Jazz chanteuse, Dorothy Lefkovits

Jazz chanteuse, Dorothy Lefkovits

Lefkovits stepped to the stage, her set list of three songs rehearsed. Each tune was familiar to anyone who’d ever tuned into KJAZ and still listens to KCSM.
Lefkovits is a master of the American Songbook, and her take on the venerable “Teach Me Tonight,” “Them There Eyes,” and “It Had To Be You” can still be heard today on radio shows with names such as Dinner Jazz and The Jazz Oasis.
Her performance over, Lefkovits left the stage with a helping hand from Rick Elmore and regained her chair among Whittington’s stacks of books.
The band continued playing for another 40 minutes or so. As he’d done earlier in the evening, Eric Whittington took the mic, introducing each player.
“That’s our show for tonight,” he told the audience. “Keep coming and there’ll be 16 more years of Friday night jazz.”
The audience clapped with sustained applause.
From the stage, his guitar resting against a shelf of travel books, Scott Foster got in the last word.
“Can we do it again for Eric,” he said, “for giving us the 16 years.”
Bird and Beckett’s audience applauded even louder. Indeed, it couldn’t have been sweeter.

Dorothy Lefkovits looking over lyrics.

Dorothy Lefkovits looking over lyrics.

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Report: Glen Park Association and Business Association meeting with SFMTA about intersection

Members of the GPA and GPMA are continuing to meet with SFMTA in response to concerns about street construction in the neighborhood. Tuesday’s meeting with traffic engineer Damon Curtis and project planner David Greenway gives us this update:

1. In response to community concerns, there will now be a “protected/permissive light” for northbound Diamond. (That means first it’s a green arrow, then it’s a plain green light and you have to yield to oncoming traffic if you’re turning left.) Northbound and southbound Diamond cannot take simultaneous protected lefts because they aren’t lined up well with each other and cars would have to jockey in a weird way. (see note below)

(The existing protected left off Bosworth going south on Diamond will remain.)

2. The light phasing at this intersection was originally 75 seconds. In the first iteration of this plan, the phasing would have gone to 90. Now with the protected left, it will be 110. At some point they’ll likely signalize Arlington and Lyell on Bosworth, so they can’t just lengthen the signal to something totally unusual.

3. NOTE: Damon will check if it’s feasible to switch the protected left on Diamond to be southbound for evening to accommodate rush hour traffic. He’ll also check again to see if simultaneous turning can be achieved.

4. Three parking spots on the west side of Diamond between Kern and Bosworth are being removed because the only other lane on that street is a dedicated left, and you need one lane for folks going straight or turning right.

5. San Jose Avenue
Phase II of the pilot project will start June 2/3. Phase 2 reduces the number of exit lanes off 280. Currently there are 2. Phase 2 will mean one exit off 280, as it existed before the Loma Prieta earthquake. In response to our concerns, SFMTA promised to host a meeting for Bernal Heights, Glen Park and Upper Noe neighbors to update them on the project (ultimate goal of the project is to reduce speeds of cars on San Jose Avenue).

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