Muni / SFMTA, Pedestrian Experience, San Francisco, Streetscape, Tenderloin / Mid-Market, Transit Effectiveness Project

Two-way conversion of Ellis and Eddy moving forward

Eddy & Leavenworth. Photo courtesy of FoundSF, Chris Carlsson.

Eddy & Leavenworth. Photo courtesy of FoundSF, Chris Carlsson.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency finally seems to be pursuing two-way conversion for a handful of one-way blocks in the Tenderloin on Ellis and Eddy streets.  Ellis and Eddy, as well as other streets in the Tenderloin, host relatively minimal vehicle traffic.  Yet despite the neighborhood’s very low vehicle ownership rate [1], these streets are designed for the principal purpose of allowing motorists to pass quickly to and from downtown with nary a thought for the neighborhood through which they are passing.

Collisions in the Tenderloin involving pedestrians are not limited to those that are graphically captured on video.  The fact that pedestrian “accidents” occur relatively uniformly at intersections throughout the Tenderloin, with many of those involving serious injury or death, suggests that it would be desirable to rethink street design throughout the neighborhood in a way that prioritizes vulnerable users.

Tenderloin pedestrian accidents.  Courtesy of SFCTA.

Tenderloin pedestrian accidents. Courtesy of SFCTA.

A plan to convert thoroughfares like Ellis, Eddy, Jones, and Leavenworth into two-way streets could carry multiple benefits, including improving safety, consolidating difficult-to-describe transit routes running on one-way couplets into more legible routes running on two-way streets, and infusing the feel of a genuine neighborhood into one of San Francisco’s densest neighborhoods.  Despite the fact that converting streets to two-way operation has long been recognized and supported in community surveys (PDF) as an important tool for calming traffic, the plan has mostly been collecting dust on the shelf, left unrealized for years. [2]

It looks now to be moving forward, at least partially.  Excerpted from the list of proposals that will be heard at the SFMTA engineering hearing this Friday, April 13 is the following:


Eddy Street, between Larkin and Leavenworth Streets (2 blocks)

Ellis Street, between Polk and Jones Streets (4 blocks)

The SFMTA’s Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP), which is now undergoing environmental review, has considered revising the current route of the 27-Bryant line.  The concept of two-way conversion is harmonious with the proposed revisions (PDF) as the route could be consolidated onto Ellis and Leavenworth, which is currently the routing of just the inbound direction.  The above proposal for Ellis does not completely facilitate that change but, pending implementation of the TEP, still provides independent benefits.

[1] According to the 2000 Census, 82 percent of Tenderloin households did not own a car, compared to Manhattan, where 77 percent of households did not own a car.

[2] One opportunity that was identified to make a transit route more legible through two-way conversion has been implemented.  The inbound 5-Fulton’s jog over to Market Street via Hyde was eliminated in favor of a simpler and more direct path via McAllister.



12 thoughts on “Two-way conversion of Ellis and Eddy moving forward

  1. Eric, why does converting a street from one-way to two-way make it safer? Wouldn’t it just mean that pedestrians could get hit from both directions?

    Posted by Hadar Aviram | 10 April 2012, 7:56 am
  2. The 27-Bryant is quite possible my least favorite bus in the entire city. It stops at EVERY. SINGLE. CORNER. going through the loin. It’s brutal.

    Posted by egoldin | 10 April 2012, 8:06 am
  3. Eric,

    Great to see you blogging again. 2 way travel on McAllister has been a boon for Busses and Bikes, so great to see this moving forward in the adjacent neighborhoods.

    Posted by shanan | 10 April 2012, 8:30 am
  4. Hadar,

    2 way streets slow down traffic. It makes drivers more aware of both directions.

    Posted by Chris | 10 April 2012, 1:05 pm
  5. Welcome back?

    Posted by Steve | 10 April 2012, 1:38 pm
  6. @ Hadar – Following up on Chris’s remark, the slowing down of traffic is key because even if collisions do occur, lower speed collisions for the most part wouldn’t be fatal.

    @ egoldin – Not only that, but stop spacing on Leavenworth or Jones is especially short because north-south blocks are shorter.

    @ Shanan – thank you, it is nice to be back! My experience with riding the two-way 5-Fulton has also been positive.

    @ Steve – is that a statement or a question? ;-) I suppose your skepticism is fair.

    Posted by Eric | 10 April 2012, 1:47 pm
  7. Yay! So glad you’re blogging again :)

    Posted by Rebecca Saltzman | 10 April 2012, 2:09 pm
  8. May I just also add my “yay- i’m glad to see this blog active again”? I’ve kept this bookmark active waiting for the day…

    Posted by Troy | 10 April 2012, 9:38 pm
  9. What a waste of resources; Just causes more back-up with those turning right when there’s only one lane. One of the most stupid thing (out of endless #) San Francisco has done.

    Posted by BadBill | 7 June 2012, 8:48 pm
  10. badbill: anything to keep up car LOS? sf isn’t the burbs. you would be welcome – and perhaps already live – there?

    Posted by newoaktown | 17 June 2012, 9:31 pm


  1. Pingback: Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog San Francisco - 10 April 2012

  2. Pingback: more on conversion to two-way streets | Getting Around Sacramento - 26 March 2013

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