Columbus Avenue Planned Improvements


Before and After


Columbus Street Transit Bulbs and Sidewalk Improvements Under Construction


The SFMTA will be constructing transit bulbs (widening the sidewalks) on Columbus Avenue between Filbert and Union streets (click here to see area affected). The proposed changes will help improve service reliability, reduce travel time on transit, and improve the customer experience for customers of the 30 Stockton and the 8X Bayshore Express. These changes also support the WalkFirst program’s goal to add pedestrian improvements, such as pedestrian bulbs and more visible crosswalks, on priority corridors including Columbus Avenue.

Construction will begin on this project on June 16th, 2014 and will continue through mid-August. Construction will be between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on most weekdays. Lane closures during construction will be 24/7.  The plans for the bulbs were presented at the January 30 and March 14 public hearings and are being constructed as part of the Central Subway restoration work on Columbus Avenue.  We understand that construction for other builbs on Columbus Avenue will begin on a date TBD in 2015.  Please click here to see the proposed changes.

Current Proposal (as of March 2015)

The 30 Stockton Transit Priority Project includes pedestrian safety and transit reliability enhancements within the following project areas:


North Point, Van Ness, Columbus and Stockton

30 Stockton



























 2013 Proposal

columbus ave repaving

Figure 1
– General intersection improvements are north at Columbus and Union streets
– Proposals to widen the sidewalks (bulb outs) into bus lanes
– Shortening crossing distance.
– No change in parking.

On November 13, 2013, Neal Patel (Safe Streets), James Shahamiri, (engineer with MTA’s Livable Streets), John Thomas, and Rachel Hiatt, with Joaquin Torres of Mayor Lee’s Office, attended a North Beach Neighbors board meeting where they discussed the upcoming planned Improvements to Columbus Avenue.  Figure 1 shows the area covered in  the proposed repaving project plan. Click here to view MTA’s Columbus Avenue Streetscape Project.  The other figures show planned changes in major intersections.






columbus-union prooposal  green-stockton
  • Primarily a transit improvement
  • Proposals to widen the sidewalks
  • No change in parking
  • New continental crosswalks
  • Space for pedestrians and landscaping would try to be maximized
  • Improvement of aesthetics at the intersection
  • New continental crosswalks
 vallejo-plaza  transit-lanes
  • Privately sponsored project
  • Perhaps community outreach involved
  • New continental crosswalks


The Next Step

Neal will consider the feedback from the community and might consider having a larger community meeting.


What’s Going to Happen

  • The San Francisco County Transportation Authority, together with SFMTA, are preparing the first phase of the Columbus Avenue NTP for implementation, with planned street resurfacing in 2014.  
  • They reported that the plan called for expanding pedestrian space along this high  priority pedestrian corridor from Filbert to Broadway that could eventually widen the street’s sidewalks permanently.
  • The designs also support the SFMTA’s  proposed Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) Travel Time Reduction Project and SFMTA’s Bicycle Strategy. SFMTA has developed a bicycle lane component for that can be incorporated in this first phase.

2014 Proposal

Below is a note from James Shahamiri, P.E. of the SFMTA | Municipal Transportation Agency regarding the Columbus Avenue Streetscape project.


“Since we last met, we have continued to refine the designs we showed during the fall based on the feedback we have received.  We are also conducting a traffic analysis of the Columbus Ave corridor.  We will be in touch to schedule time to come back and show the neighborhood the updated designs. 

I’d also like to update you on two Muni Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) proposals related to the streetscape project:


Columbus/Union Bus BulbsColumbus_Ave_Conceptual_Bulb_Designs_Union

The Central Subway project will be rebuilding a portion of Columbus Ave just north of Union St.  This work includes rebuilding the sidewalks, median island, and repaving the roadway.  They have scheduled the work for April of this year.  We have asked them to consider building the proposed bus bulbs instead of restoring the original curb lines.  These bus bulbs are the same ones we showed in our presentation back in the fall. Please refer to the attached PDF for a diagram. 

These bus bulbs will widen the sidewalk by six feet where there are existing bus zones.  The project will add one parking space because the bus bulb next to Washington Square will be slightly shorter than the bus zone it replaces.  By having the Central Subway contractors build them now, construction and associated disruptions on Columbus Ave will only happen once. 


Stockton Bus Bulb

TEP is legislating a bus bulb on the east side of Stockton St, just south of Columbus Ave.  This is a five foot sidewalk widening where the existing bus zone is today.  This bus bulb does not remove any parking.  The construction of this bus bulb will be done along with the rest of the streetscape/repaving project.  The design of the corner of Columbus/Stockton has not been finalized.  This is something we will bring back to you as we continue outreach on the project.

The two above proposals are scheduled for public hearing on Friday, January 31st at 10:00 a.m.”



In 2007 about a dozen people in the neighborhood, in addition to City representatives, attended the first of two workshops regarding improving Columbus Avenue.

  • Area Covered:  The Columbus Avenue corridor, between the Transamerica Pyramid and Ghiradelli Square.
  • Purpose:  To identify changes to transportation, infrastructure, and policies that could enhance the Columbus Avenue corridor and could benefit residents, merchants, and visitors.  The meeting were called to share information and gain neighborhood input.  The second workshop was held in 2008 and three alternative designs for Columbus Avenue were discussed.
  • Partners:

RENEW SF (Revitalize and Energize the Northeast and Waterfront of San Francisco),
The San Francisco Country Transportation Authority, and
The Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates.



30 Stockton Transit Priority Project

Make North Beach sidewalks more pedestrian friendly! Columbus Ave is due to be repaved beginning in summer of 2014. Let’s use this opportunity to expand crowded sidewalks!


Make Columbus Safe and Friendly


Columbus Ave is slated to get repaved—a "once every 20 years" repaving project—and the SFMTA has proposed adding a…

Posted by San Francisco Transit Riders on Thursday, December 12, 2013