Transit Improvements, Red Lanes Approved for Ocean Avenue

The $34.2 million K Ingleside Rapid Project was approved Tuesday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors.

A woman waits for a streetcar stuck in traffic.
A K Ingleside streetcar sits in traffic as a passenger waits on the boarding island. | Courtesy SFMTA

K Ingleside light rail passengers could soon avoid that annoying switch between the second-car train to the first-car train at West Portal Station following approval of a transit project.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors approved Tuesday the $34.2 million K Ingleside Rapid Project that will extend boarding islands to ensure passengers can safely get on and off trains as well as expand capacity on the rail line by speeding it up on the street, said transportation agency planner Anna Harkman. Additionally, the transit-only lanes and safety improvements for pedestrians will be included.

Staff is looking into the feasibility of installing temporary concrete boarding islands at the eight transit stop locations as part of the quick-build construction phase of the project this spring or summer, Harkman said.

If feasible, the transportation agency wants to allow riders to begin using the second-car train sooner rather than later, said Michael Rhodes, a transit priority manager.

The K, which carries about 13,000 passengers a day, does not currently allow two-car train boarding between West Portal and Balboa Park stations because several boarding islands on Ocean Avenue cannot accommodate two-car trains. Train operators spend time at West Portal station to ensure passengers are no longer in the second-car train before locking the doors.

8 Boarding Island Extensions

To allow two-car train boarding, boarding islands will be extended at the following stops on Ocean Avenue in each direction for a total of eight boarding island extensions:

  • San Leandro Avenue
  • Aptos Avenue
  • Victoria Street
  • Miramar Avenue

Parking Removal

Harkman said there will be a reduction of 12 parking spaces along the project corridor to accommodate the new boarding islands. She added that the agency restored some parking by changing one block of Dorado Terrace from parallel to angled parking.

Additionally, parking spaces will return once two stops there are eliminated.

Elimination of Transit Stops

The project will remove the transit stops at Westgate Drive and Cerritos Avenue to improve the speed of the K. Harkman said the stops had low ridership and that the stop at Aptos Avenue was one block away.

Transit-Only Lane and Left Turn Restrictions

Another effort to speed up the K is to install a red transit-only lanes on Ocean Avenue between Junipero Serra Boulevard and Frida Kahlo Way (eastbound) and between Geneve Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard (westbound).

Harkman said the project will restrict left turns at transit stop locations to prevent traffic from queueing and delaying the trains. The following intersections will have left turn restrictions in the eastbound direction:

  • San Leandro Way
  • Westgate Drive
  • Lakewood Avenue
  • Plymouth Avenue

In the westbound direction, the following intersections will have left turn restrictions:

  • Brighton Avenue
  • Miramar Avenue
  • Dorado Terrace

Additionally, new left turn signals will be installed at Cerritos Avenue (westbound), Brighton Avenue (eastbound) and Plymouth Avenue (westbound).

Pedestrian Safety Improvements

The transportation agency will install sidewalk extensions on Ocean Avenue at San Benito Avenue, Westgate Drive/Cerritos Avenue, Manor Drive and Granada Avenue. Officials said the extensions will increase the visibility of pedestrians crossing the intersections and reduce the distance it takes to cross the street.

Flashing beacons will be installed at the intersections of San Benito Avenue, Manor Drive and Granada Avenue to improve the visibility of pedestrian crossings for drivers. The crosswalks at those intersections would be consolidated or relocated to direct pedestrians to intersections that are safer to cross.

The Ingleside Merchants Association requested more improvements such as parklets but they were not included.

Construction and Completion

The transportation agency anticipates implementing some of the elements this spring or summer as part of a quick-build phase. The staff report said some of the elements include the possibility of temporary concrete boarding islands, transit-only lanes, turn restrictions and parking changes.

The detailed design phase of the permanent changes will occur between now and 2026 with construction of the project of the permanent changes taking place in in 2027 and lasting until 2028.

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