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%.

 [Editor’s note: SFMTA corrected this last statement about bicycles:

“The actual rise in average daily bicycle ridership on northbound San Jose Avenue during was 15%, with an increase of 14% in the AM Peak Hour and 62% in the PM Peak Hour. “]

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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Filed under City road work

31 responses to “San Jose Avenue update

  1. Jon

    As I have said before, this is going to be an absolute disaster and an out-and-out nightmare for those of us who depend on this stretch of roadway to get to our places of work. It’s also likely to cause a backup clear onto 280 itself, further adding to the traffic backup there for folks heading further into the City or to the Bay Bridge.

    I am still incredulous that that SFMTA is implementing this over-the-top, incredibly ill-conceived plan that pays virtually no consideration to the thousands of commuters who will be severely negatively impacted. And every further change planned will just add to this…again, what about those of us who HAVE to use this stretch? Where is the impact study for us? What will you do if my predictions above come true (other than just close off more roadways and make it worse)?

    This stretch was NEVER intended to adapt to City speed limits so quickly after exiting a major freeway, nor should it be forced into doing so. The bike lane as is is well-protected already, and the buffer zone for the rarely-seen pedestrians is more than adequate.

    I’ll just be taking more surface streets now in other neighborhoods, as will other no doubt…it will just shift more traffic around is all.

    The City’s true goal is to eventually eliminate all cars, and this is just the latest gauntlet thrown down in the direction…

    • Bill

      Keep in mind the distance allowed to decelerate from freeway speeds starts at the beginning of the off-ramp, and not when one has emerged from the underpass. That distance still feels like a freeway because it looks like a freeway and can support those speeds safely. It’s an odd situation, but once the lane merge is in place it will be more apparent that one should not be doing 65mph on an off-ramp.

      Also, as a bicycle rider I can confirm traversing the Rousseau turnoff is terrifying as many drivers simply do no look for bicycles and aggressively cross the bike-land far before the designated merge area. Most drivers are considerate, I should stress, but the 10% who are not make further protections necessary.

    • Peter

      You are absolutely right that this has been an absolute disaster and the city is responsible for it. but what would one expect when the project manager is associated with the bike-first, car is evil group (see his signature includes the bayareabikeshare link).
      I am afraid that this anti-car lobby (mafia) has won and they prefer thousands of car commuters to suffer in favor of 5 or 10 bikes per hour (and that is how few there are on that stretch of road). Get realistic, Damon, this a freeway off-ramp, not a country or city road or parking lot. Get it back to how it was and traffic flowed.

    • Morgan Driver

      I completely agree with you. I am an up the hill neighbor from Miraloma Park and can’t believe the mess that has been made on Bosworth/O’Shaugnessy with the bus bulb outs and traffic backing up behind the 44, etc. I actually emailed your supervisor about it and he assured me that everyone in Glen Park supported these changes.
      Until I read this, I wasn’t aware of the additional nightmare being planned for San Jose – yikes.

      • noevalleyjim

        This area is still under construction. I will reserve judgement until it is complete, but if it improves Muni, it will be a success in my book.

    • Another Anon who is not Jon

      Like, omg, you have to slow down? Or are you on e of those drivers that speeds up and passes up traffic flow only to stop at the same light of those you passed up? And if you did make it through a light did you gain an extra minute at the cost of driving hazardously? Sounds like a stressful existance.

      Now, I drive this stretch a lot because I live along the stretch. I know ways to make rights to avoid crossing streets without lights or using other off ramps to get to where I need to go like Alemaney. I know my neighborhood and I do not drive over the speed limit if only to slow people down.

      More people are living along and using this corridor as a way to get the schools, BART, etc. I would not consider a 650% increase in bike riders “insignificant ” guess what ? I see them every day.

      The back up began long ago at the Randall light. I believe it is because of Dolores ST and MUNi light timing. And well, more people who have to slow the f- down anyway as there are schools at Randall and a gas station people use SJ to turn into.

      Now, I do not like the new lane change at the FWY exit and I really hoped they wouldn’t have had to do
      That in order to slow people down, but they did. I just think the merge happens awkwardly right now because it’s just paint and not permanent. So the right lane merges instead into that left off freeway.

      I think the merge should happen at the underpass because they have to solve the overpasses before Rousseau.

      It will work out. Just remember that the crazy off ramp before SJ is freaky if in that right lane so while are already slowing down to avoid the congestion at that ocean light backup or using the left lanes of the freeway as a freeway to pass up those of us exiting the next exits. All along the fwy there is slow in right lanes and super fast in left because we use the stretch to commute daily like others. I know how frustrating it is to be “stuck” behind someone going 40 mph SB 280 between glen park and mission street. But i understand why those right lanes are slow.
      There is a ton of congestion and construction right now. And so many of us who use this stretch daily – because we live here – absolutely were for traffic calming. It was frightening making a right into St’ Marys with someone like you speeding up our butts. We don’t just pass through . We are slowing down for our St. Mary’s exit , etc and being mindful of bikes is just common curteousy. Which, I realize, impatient people in vehicles speeding to their stops have so little.

      Just slow down. You know it’s coming.

  2. Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more with Jon’s assessment of the planned changes for San Jose Ave. via 280. The changes clearly benefit the minority of residents along Rousseau, who are newbie home owners, at the expense of countless commuters. It reminds me of the residents, who purchase homes next to an airport, only to later complain that jet planes are noisy.

  3. Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree less with Jon’s assessment. I don’t see how making the exit one lane is a disaster. It’s just the exit, and this exit has a very long staging area it’s unlikely it will ever cause any backup. Let’s see what it actually does; if it doesn’t result in an “absolute disaster and out and out nightmare” then how about you both hang up your prognositicating privileges for the rest of your lives.

    • Jon

      How about you give your name? Heaven forbid some of us voice our opinions on this situation only to be told to “hang up” our opinions “for life.” I present my admittedly strong opinion on the subject, give my lucid but respectful reasons for my objections, and you return with an anonymous comment that just insults me? What are you? 10 years old? Shame on you!

      I give you this opportunity right now to regain your dignity and give me more cogent reasons as to why the benefits of the SFMTA’s plans here outweigh the bad consequences. And to state them politely without insults…it’s in your court friend…

      We will certainly see what happens towards the end of this week. I am even more concerned when I read the SFMTA’s update and see that every future plan merely involves making it even more difficult for commuters rather than try to find a better compromise/solution that takes into account commuters’ concerns also. Any fair solution MUST take into account both, and right now and based on the SFMTA update, I just don’t see the latter being given any real say in this matter.

      Let me ask the SFMTA this: If my predictions come through and the backup is as horrendous as I envision, will you even consider returning this stretch to at least 2 lanes? Frankly, commuters have just as much right to use the road as anyone else, moreso when you consider that we also pay much of the taxes that were used to build and now maintain the roads.

      I will be watching. And I will be contacting the SF Supervisors, the local media, you name it if this is as bad as I predict it will be. I strongly encourage anyone else who feels as I do to do the same.

      • Noevalleyjim

        Bicyclists are commuters too. And home owners pay the majority of taxes for this roadway, not car drivers. You have been getting a free ride from the tax payers for decades.

    • Peter

      Have you seen the traffic jam recently?

      • noevalleyjim

        From the MTA congestion study:

        Congestion approaching Randall Street has increased, but has not affected the freeway off-ramp. Staff noted congestion on San Jose Avenue prior to the implementation of the pilot, and are currently measuring detailed queueing times. Additional wait time is only present for up to half an hour during the AM and PM peak periods.

        I think you a whiny cry-baby who insist that he always get his way over everyone else and does not care who dies in the process.

  4. Jon

    Oh yeah…anonymous:

    You say it never backs up? Are you kidding? Do you ever actually use and/or see this stretch during morning and/or afternoon commute times? I have used this exit for 17+ years to get to my place of work, and it backs up almost every single weekday during these times. It’s somewhat less when the schools are out for the summer (as they are now), but it is ALWAYS there otherwise (again during commute times). And this backup has most definitely worsened since the installation of the bike lane.

    Therefore, logic dictates that it will backup even more when it goes down to only a single lane.

    • noevalleyjim

      That is really good news, hopefully people like you will get a clue and start using another way of getting around. Car pollution is the number one cause of global warming and kills 100,000 Americans every year.

      • Peter

        what alternative do you have when you commute to the South Bay or Peninsula for work? Fly like Peter Pan?

      • Noevalleyjim

        You could get a job closer to where you work or move closer to your job. Why don’t you move to Sacramento and drive to a job in South Bay everyday? It is not societies responsibility to absorb the cost of your bad choices.

      • Another Anon who is not Jon

        Or you know, they could slow down.

  5. This is a great plan and will help slow down the speeders and others who recklessly zoom through our neighborhood. It was a big mistake building this freeway like stretch during the Freeway Era and will help reduce pollution and make this whole area safer and nicer.

  6. Ana M

    Here’s another voice against, for the reasons Jon listed above. I sent an email to the person in charge of the project and got no reply, but I have observed no benefit from the changes. I have driven, or been a passenger, on this exit for over 40 year. And also have ridden my bicycle. I never felt worried on a bike or in a car , but these days it seems much more dangerous for all. Now I see crazy back ups especially in the morning, accidents, and too much traffic on surrounding streets…

  7. Ana M

    Beth, any chance you could post the data summary from Mr. Curtis’ email? I’d rather see some raw data than rely on his summary.

  8. HI All. This is Elizabeth Weise, the blog owner and moderator. I have kids, and I’m going to tell you exactly what I’d tell them–be polite or you’re going in a time out!
    If you have something to say, say it in a respectful manner. I expect everyone here in Glen Park to behave like adults, and if you can’t behave like adults, with kindness and courtesy to your neighbors, then I’ll start blocking the comments.

  9. Jay

    The single lane merge is indeed a horrible idea. I wonder how many accidents have occurred since this configuration was established. This along with the Bosworth-Diamond construction plan (essentially removing the bus lanes) have really made this area a nuisance to drive through.

  10. Anonymous

    Jon – I think you’re bringing this on yourself. Your post was not “lucid or respectful” and your followup comments show your true colors. My post was a mere challenge to what you and another person were predicting and contained no actual insults. Yours did. Dignity? Really? Because I didn’t chose a fake name like most others here? As the moderator said, you should be more polite.

    Now, as far as my challenge to you, you turned out to be at least partially correct regarding the exit. As “another anon who is not not jon” stated, the way they did it isn’t ideal. That’s true and it is causing some problems, but a different setup could fix this. So congratulations. You turned out to me partially correct, although I do think it falls short of being an out and out nightmare. I shall cede the win to you though. Congratulations, you can keep making hyperbolic predictions.

  11. Jonathan

    Anonymous –

    You are being disingenuous if you don’t think telling me to hang up my “prognositicating privileges” for the rest of my life is not a direct insult. I’m sorry, but it is.

    My opinions are strong on this subject, and I freely admit this, but please point out to me where I insulted you or anyone else in my post. I want direct quotes with full backup. I just re-read my post, and I don’t see any insults to anyone, just again my opinion and my observations. And if someone took something the wrong way, I will be glad to say that I’m sorry, but again only if it is appropriate to do so.

    I agree with the moderator that we all need to be adults here and this is what I always aim for when posting anywhere, but I would point out that it is mostly the folks who are for this change who have taken to personal insults. Just look at Noevalleyjim’s posts if you want proof as he calls us “whiny cry babies” and unnecessarily drags the “global warming” debate into the mix. And he’s even wrong about taxes in one of his posts…only a small portion of homeowner taxes go to fund roads and not even in all cases. The majority comes from commuters who pay the gas and other income taxes so we drivers do not get a “free ride” as he puts it by any means. Bottom line: His are the kinds of posts that are aggravating in that they are so immature in addition to being factually inaccurate that they are hardly worth bothering to respond to.

    But back to the topic on hand: Minor backups have begun at this offramp that so far have not been too bad in the morning actually, but I have noticed them getting worse during the evening commute.

    But the true test will be when the schools restart in August. I predict a backup that will extend well onto the freeway and effect the traffic well back until the previous exit.

    We shall see if I am right come August, and I will be very happy if I am wrong. But if I am right, my question will be:

    What will SFMTA do about it (if anything) to help ease this backup should it play out as I and others predict?


  12. Jonathan

    Driving in this morning, I saw a flashing sign saying that San Jose Avenue would be closed starting on 7/19 until 8/9. Nothing more was on the flashing sign as to whether this would be an all day closure, or perhaps just during the late evening hours, for instance. Nor was there any information regarding how much of the roadway would be closed.

    SFMTA: Does this mean that the exit off-ramp and the entire stretch is being closed 24/7 for this length of time? I certainly hope not, but I and a lot of other commuters would need to know this ASAP so we can plan out our alternate routes. Or is this just a partial and/or off-hours closure of some sort?

    And I also would like to know why the road is again being closed? What is being done this time? My hope would be for a widening of this stretch to add an extra lane, but I’m pretty sure that that won’t be happening. Hey, I do have a sense of humor at least about all of this… 🙂

    But maybe it’s just being paved…either way, please let us all know.

    Thank you.


  13. Anonymous

    Jon – The closure is during night time only. It is so they can work on the Highland Bridge.

    • Jonathan

      Yea…I saw now that the sign gives a night time for the closure. I could have sworn it did not at first, but it’s there now. Whew ! 🙂

      Noevalleyjim – As I stated before, whether or not global warming is an issue is not a topic that this forum is intended to discuss. Whether I or you adhere to the theory is not relevant for the purposes of this forum, and I will not debate this issue here.

      But I would point out that if the goal is to reduce car emissions, this change to this exit ramp will create significantly more emissions as the resultant backups will keep commuters stuck in their cars for longer periods of time thus increasing the amount of emissions overall. And you are being naive if you think that everyone will just happily give up their cars and find other means of transportation and/or move closer to their job locations. The realities of life for the vast majority of people simply do not allow for this option (i.e. can’t afford housing nearer to work, childcare obligations, time restrictions, etc.).

      To give you an example: I work in the City from 8AM-5PM. Working from home is not an option as my job requires my on-site presence. I cannot afford a home in SF so I live in a nearby suburb that fortunately has good schools also for my son. If my town did not have good schools, I would move to a town that did as this is of paramount importance to me and my wife (as it would be for pretty much any responsible parents I like to think).

      I must pickup my son by no later than 6PM from his after school program lest I be charged a significant fee for every minute that I am late, and my wife works the same hours and even further away from our home than I do at yet another job that requires her to be there. If I were to try to take public transportation from my workplace to his after-school care site, it would take me well over 1 hour to so do (for a commute that now takes me only about 20 minutes), thus I would not make the 6PM deadline. Do you see the problem here?

      And just arbitrarily suggesting that we get jobs closer to our homes suggest quite a bit of hubris on your part, wouldn’t you say? We both enjoy our jobs, our co-workers, and have established ourselves as hard-working professionals at our respective companies. To just “dump” all of that and try to find something similar nearby our place of residence is not so easy as there is really nothing available nearby in our respective fields of expertise.

      So once again…do you see the problem here? All of things you suggest sound rosy on the surface, but the reality is that it’s just not that simple. And of course it really isn’t anyone else’s place to tell others what they should and should not do with their lives in a free society anyway.

      I’ll close by just asking you to, in the future, think a little more on what you say and consider my words above.

      Or not…it’s your choice, good sir :).


  14. Stephen

    My family has used this exit to get home for at least 40 years. Recently, i was appalled to see a half mile back-up onto the freeway because one lane has been virtually blocked out for no apparent reason other than to accommodate the bicycle fetish that has popped up among those recently relocated 20 year-olds and techies from other cities. Their voices are the loudest now, I need access to St. Mary’s Park in order to get to my elderly parents home.

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