By Janelle Wong, SFTR Interim Director

The Welcoming West Portal Committee has had 2 of 3 scheduled meetings, with its final meeting scheduled for Monday, June 3, 2024 from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm. The committee consists of a mix of merchants and residents of West Portal and surrounding neighborhoods. The committee’s role is to review the proposed SFMTA plan and discuss suggestions for changes to the proposed plan or provide answers to questions being raised in the community. To be clear, the committee understands that it has no decision-making power; it is a space for discussion and dialogue about how to make the area in front of the West Portal station safer and more efficient for transit users, pedestrians, merchants, and drivers.

Here is a recap of the proposed design for the area in and around the West Portal Station.

Protection would be added to the bus stop where the crash occurred, certain turn restrictions would be implemented to reduce speed and confusion around the station’s busy crosswalks, and parts of the streetscape would be pedestrianized or turned into transit-only lanes, making it harder for cars to get up to the high speeds necessary to plow straight through a Muni bus shelter.

After two meetings, the committee members are currently in discussion about alternatives to the design and also evaluating some of the concerns raised by merchants and residents on the proposed design. There is currently no consensus around a specific design, but members of the committee broadly agree that the intersection of Ulloa and West Portal Avenue is a confusing, complex, and unsafe intersection, and that there is a need to slow down approaching drivers. The point of disagreement is whether turn restrictions accomplish the goal of slowing drivers down and discouraging cut-through traffic through the intersection, which adversely impacts trains entering the West Portal Tunnel.

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