Protected Intersections? So Hot Right Now

The next big thing just broke ground. Are you ready for San Francisco’s first protected intersection?

We are! San Francisco joins a small handful of U.S. cities implementing smart, innovative street design to physically protect people biking and walking at intersections. Construction is underway at Ninth and Division Streets to help the hundreds of people biking there every day and elevate San Francisco’s standards for what our streets can and should look like.

Protected intersections grab from a menu of design of elements, creating a unique design whenever two streets meet. But why should they be considered the new standard for San Francisco?

1. Protected intersections take the chaos out of crossing a street.


Protected intersection, Salt Lake City

Protected intersection in Salt Lake City, UT (Source: Alta Planning)

Whether you’re walking, biking or driving, intersections are where every travel mode intersects and it’s not always easy making sense of when or where to go. Protected intersections clearly show where bicycles should wait at a light, elevate pedestrians with raised crosswalks and can add guidance to connect bike lanes across an intersection.

2. Biking and walking gets priority.


Protected intersection, Chicago

Protected intersection in Chicago, IL (Source: John Greenfield)

With advanced bike boxes and pedestrian safety islands, protected intersections gives people biking and walking a head start at the intersections. This means less mixing with vehicle traffic, decreasing right hooks and reducing other conflicts when crossing the street or making a turn. Dedicated space and bike signals mean you belong on our streets, and they work for you.

3. Everyone slows down, making intersections far more safe.


Protected intersection, Salt Lake City

Protected intersection in Salt Lak City, UT (Source: Matt Johnson)

Not only do protected intersections add physical barriers between vehicle traffic, they also decrease conflicts between people biking and walking. Pedestrian safety islands means that people walking have dedicated space separate from where people are biking, whether you’re turning or heading straight at an intersection. This helps to slow everyone down at intersections, and slower speeds reduce the likelihood of collisions.

The protected intersection at Ninth and Division Streets will add several of these elements: Physically-protected bike lanes at the intersection, raised pedestrian crosswalks, pedestrian safety islands, narrower lanes to slow drivers down and a brand new sidewalk on Ninth Street.

SoMa Member Committee Meeting
Wednesday, Sep. 7 from 6:00-7:00pm
SF Bicycle Coalition at 1720 Market Street

We know that this is just the start to better, smarter design. Want to help us advocate for more? Join our SoMa Member Committee meeting next Wednesday and get the latest scoop on plans for Seventh and Eighth Streets as well as preliminary results from our Folsom and Howard Bike Survey.

Become a member and you'll improve your commute and get discounts at shops across the city.