May 1, 2024 - News

San Francisco city officials pause West Portal changes

person walks under overhead wires

The intersection of West Portal Avenue and Ulloa Street in 2019. Photo: Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Following backlash from community members and local businesses, city officials are holding off on implementing a plan that sought to make major traffic design changes to the West Portal area.

Why it matters: Following a crash that killed a family of four waiting at a West Portal bus stop in March, city officials in April unveiled a plan that would prevent cars from driving through the intersection of Ulloa Street and West Portal Avenue.

  • But some residents and business owners quickly opposed the plan, arguing the city was "undermining" the thriving business district.

Driving the news: Supervisor Myrna Melgar, whose district includes West Portal, recently announced the creation of the Welcoming West Portal, which was asked to evaluate potential street design changes in the area.

  • The group will look at loading and passenger drop-off zones, the number and location of bus stops on Ulloa Street and more, according to a press release.
  • The committee will include business owners, neighbors and those who frequent the area.

What they're saying: The committee's purpose is to "come to a consensus that works for all parties," according to a joint statement from Melgar and Deidre Von Rock, president of the West Portal Merchants Association.

The other side: Luke Bornheimer, a sustainable transportation advocate who supported the original plan proposed in April, said in a written statement that the city's creation of a committee is a delay tactic.

Between the lines: The intersections surrounding West Portal didn't land on the police department's list of the 10 most dangerous, but San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director Jeffrey Tumlin previously called it a "high-conflict corridor," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

What to watch: The committee will meet at least three times over the next few months to develop a proposal to present to the SFMTA board to coincide with the return of the L-Taraval this fall.

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