Mobility and Access
Where We Want to
Be in the Future
Travel in South San Francisco is safe and is perceived to be safe by all.
Transit is the first choice for regional travel. South San Francisco’s BART and Caltrain stations, and ferry terminal are all critical hubs of local and regional travel in the Bay Area.
SSF is a city where daily activities and functions can be performed without the need or desire for a single occupancy vehicle.
Plans and development activity emphasize transportation modes and strategies that ensure healthy air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the need to devote additional lands to transportation uses.
All South San Francisco residents have reliable access to commercial centers, schools, and recreation regardless of their mode of travel.
Transportation injury collisions
Eliminate severe injury and fatal collisions on the City’s roadway network
Total collisions between vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists from 2009-2018: ≥481 Incidents
Ridership at South San Francisco BART, Caltrain, SamTrans, and ferry facilities.
Double SamTrans and BART ridership, quadruple ferry ridership, and achieve 10x growth in Caltrain ridership by 2040
- South San Francisco BART station usage as of 2018: approximately 3,500 passengers on an average weekday
- South San Francisco Caltrain station usage as of 2018: approximately 470 passengers per day
- South San Francisco ferry ridership as of 2018: approximately 580 passengers per day
Transit, walk, and bike trips account for 40 percent of all trips
- Drive alone: 43%
- Carpool: 47%
- bike: <1%
- transit: 4%
- walk: 6%
East of 101 Area traffic volumes
East of 101 Area traffic volumes remain within the area’s street capacity
City to begin tracking data and provide in the future.
How Our Plan
Gets Us There
Transportation policy choices are key to achieving the equity, environment, and quality-of-life outcomes discussed throughout the General Plan. Currently, South San Francisco residents and employees have few convenient choices to travel without a car: approximately 90 percent of all trips by residents and over 80 percent of commute trips by employees occur via driving. The auto-centric nature of the city’s transportation system generates traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and inequitable access to jobs and services.
South San Francisco relies on transportation infrastructure that was built for a different era when life was lived closer to home and the city had more heavy industry and fewer people and jobs. Today’s reality is more regional in nature, spanning commutes between employment centers, goods movement, and travel to retail, medical, hospitality, and recreational facilities. Freeways are fully built out, yet traffic congestion continues to worsen. With the Bay Area expected to add another 1.5 million people in the next two decades, cleaner, less space-intensive forms of travel will be necessary to keep the region and South San Francisco moving. South San Francisco is well-positioned to capitalize on this shift, with access to two BART stations, a new Caltrain station expected to see a substantial increase in service, a ferry terminal serving regional commuters, and a local network of buses, shuttles, and bikeways. Nonetheless, further modernization of the city’s infrastructure is needed.
Health and safety are inextricably linked to the transportation system. Roadway collisions are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 55, and more than half of all road traffic deaths occur among vulnerable road users — pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. For South San Francisco to achieve Vision Zero – eliminating all injury collisions on roadways – requires making tradeoffs to prioritize safety, such as reducing vehicle speed limits on local streets or allotting more street space to vulnerable users in the form of bikeways and sidewalks.
Transportation policy offers an opportunity to deliver mobility in a more equitable manner. On average, transportation is the second-largest cost for households, and the cost is largely driven by the location of one’s home in relation to jobs and services. Because housing is costly in San Mateo County, is it often the case that people earning less make the longest, most expensive commutes. Providing more housing close to job centers and prioritizing improvements for the city’s most vulnerable communities represent key strategies for realizing a more equitable mobility system.
Key Issues and Opportunities
As South San Francisco continues to experience growth and change, its transportation needs are increasingly mismatched with the infrastructure and services constructed years ago to support “the Industrial City.” This mismatch is especially apparent in the East of 101, Lindenville, and the El Camino Real sub-areas, where large auto-oriented streets are increasingly at-odds with higher density developments more oriented toward walking, biking, and transit use. In many areas of the city, residents and employees rely on driving for the vast majority of trips because there are few other viable options.
As the local and regional population grows the number of trips will also increase. Roadways cannot be expanded to accommodate a similar increase in vehicle trips and more trips must be made by non-auto modes. Local trips within South San Francisco should be made by walk, bike, scooter, and transit whenever possible.
Modernizing South San Francisco’s transportation system means giving people choices in how they travel within the city and region. It also means right-sizing the city’s transportation infrastructure, adding new streets and trail connections, and phasing out vestiges of the past like the city’s freight rail spurs. By building a more multimodal transportation network, South San Francisco can achieve a safe, multimodal, sustainable, livable, and connected city.
In order to accommodate anticipated growth, the city’s street network will need to evolve in the coming decades. Streets in South San Francisco are categorized into five typologies: Boulevards, Connectors, Downtown Main Streets, Industrial, and Neighborhood Streets.
Boulevards (arterials) serve as primary routes to destinations within the city or through the city. These roadways are designed to prioritize mobility and person throughput for all types of road users. They can accommodate larger volumes of travelers. They typically have four to six travel lanes (both directions combined), larger sidewalks, and dedicated bicycle facilities. They may also include dedicated facilities for buses. Where the right-of-way is limited, user safety and person throughput (via vehicle, transit, bicycle, and foot) should be prioritized vehicle delay or parking.
Connectors and Downtown Main Streets
Connectors (collectors) are primary or secondary streets within the city that serve as corridors to major destinations. These streets are designed to provide mobility space for all travelers – vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders. They also provide access to major destinations and denser residential or commercial areas and can accommodate moderate volumes of travelers. Connectors generally have two travel lanes, sometimes with short four lane segments or a center left turn lane. Connectors have sidewalks and provide on-street bicycle facilities and/or on-street parking.
Downtown streets are a special type of connector where mobility related to higher density commercial and housing converge into a single corridor in which people do business, live, and interact with each other. Downtown streets typically serve as destination corridors rather than through routes, with lower traffic speeds, higher pedestrian and bicycle volumes, and flexible use of curb space for high-turnover on-street parking, loading, bicycle parking, and parklets. These streets typically have narrower two-lane cross sections. Design is focused on providing a vibrant walkable setting conducive to local business activity.
Neighborhood and Industrial Streets
Neighborhood (local) streets are primarily located in residential neighborhoods. These streets provide local access to and between residential areas, commercial areas, schools, parks, and community centers. These streets typically have two travel lanes and on-street parking if street widths permit. They may incorporate design features to calm or discourage use by vehicles and prioritize their use as bicycle boulevards or slow streets.
Industrial streets are like neighborhood streets but are designed to serve the needs of manufacturing and goods movement businesses that need access by larger and heavier vehicles. Common vehicles often include vans, single unit trucks, and smaller semi-trucks. Industrial streets may have two vehicle lanes, and occasionally wider lane widths to accommodate larger vehicles. Design elements will be scaled to reflect the function of the surrounding land uses and roadway size.
Transit Priority Corridors
Some streets in South San Francisco warrant special consideration as transit priority corridors – corridors that serve high frequency bus and shuttle routes under existing or future conditions. Transit priority corridors primarily overlap with arterials and collectors, though they may occasionally consist of local streets. Designated transit priority corridors may evolve over time as bus and shuttle services change. Transit priority routes may incorporate design elements to prioritize transit speed and reliability and passenger experience.
To support the city’s changing needs and transportation policy framework, various major transportation investments are needed, as summarized in the previous sections and illustrated below. The following table provides an inventory of these major transportation projects in relation to the overall transportation network, including the proposed changes and approximate cost. Projects of citywide or area-wide importance are marked as having a “high” level of City involvement, while projects with more local effects or contingent on individual developments or partnerships with other agencies are marked as having “medium” or “low” levels of City involvement. Additional information on smaller-scale street and active transportation projects may be found in planning documents such as the Active South City Plan. Although these projects alone cannot solve traffic congestion and person throughput needs, when paired with enhanced transit services and stronger transportation demand management programs, these projects can help support the city’s growth. In total, it is anticipated that the city will need roughly $1-1.2 billion in transportation upgrades over the next two decades to support buildout of the General Plan.
|City Involvement||STREET||PROPOSED CHANGE||STREET CHARACTERISTICS||PROPOSED TYPOLOGY||PURPOSE||APPROX. COST|
|High||Oyster Point Boulevard||Addition of bus-only lanes between US-101 and ferry terminal||6 lanes (two bus-only lanes) + bike lanes, 30 MPH||Boulevard (Transit Priority Corridor)||Adds capacity for East of 101 Area and improves first/last mile access to regional transit.||$15M|
|High||East Grand Avenue||Addition of bus-only lanes between the Caltrain Station and Haskins Way, trail gap closure between Caltrain Station and Forbes Boulevard, and bus-only ramp to Poletti Way||6 lanes (two bus-only lanes) + bike lanes, 30 MPH|
(Bus-only ramp: 1 lane + multi-use trail, 25 MPH)
|Boulevard (Transit Priority Corridor)||Adds capacity for East of 101 Area and improves first/last mile access to regional transit||$25M|
|High||New East of 101 Trails||Three miles of new multi-use trails along Poletti Way and parallel to Forbes Boulevard, Eccles Avenue, and Harbor Way.||N/A||Class I Bikeway||Expands active transportation network and improves first/last mile access to regional transit||$5M|
|High||Utah Avenue Interchange||Extension from South Airport Boulevard to San Mateo Avenue with connection to Produce Avenue||4 lanes + bike lanes, 25 MPH||Boulevard||Connects East of 101 Area and Lindenville and improves access to US-101||$100M|
|High||Haskins Way||Haskins Bridge connecting Haskins Way in the north to North Access Road to the south||4 lanes + multi-use trail, 40 MPH||Boulevard||Adds capacity for East of 101 Area||$130M|
|High||Oyster Point Boulevard||Extension of Oyster Point Boulevard to Sierra Point via new bridge||2 lanes + multi-use trail, 30 MPH||Boulevard||Adds capacity for East of 101 Area||$50M|
|High||Railroad Avenue||Connect Sylvester Road and Littlefield Avenue using railroad right-of-way||2 lanes + bike lanes, 25 MPH||Connector||Improves internal connectivity in East of 101 Area and supports corridor redevelopment||$10M|
|Medium||Sneath Lane Extension||Extension of Sneath Lane from Huntington Avenue to South Linden Avenue & connection between Maple Avenue & Huntington Avenue||4 lanes + bike lanes, 25 MPH||Boulevard (Transit Priority Corridor)||Connects Lindenville to San Bruno||$20M|
|Medium||El Camino Rea||Grand Boulevard Modernization||6 lanes + bike lanes, 30 MPH||Boulevard (Transit Priority Corridor)||Supports corridor redevelopment||$30M|
|Medium||South Airport Boulevard||Modernization to add median, protected bike lanes, enhanced bus stops, and wider sidewalks||4 lanes + bike lanes, 30 MPH||Boulevard (Transit Priority Corridor)||Supports corridor redevelopment||$15M|
|Medium||Grand Avenue||Downtown Streetscape Project||2 lanes + bike lanes, 25 MPH||Downtown Main Street||Improves walkability and first/last mile access to Caltrain station||$20M|
|Medium||New Street||New street connecting Eccles Avenue to Forbes Boulevard between Rozzi Place and Gull Drive||2 lanes + bike lanes, 25 MPH||Connector||Improves internal connectivity in East of 101 Area||$10M|
|Medium||New Street||New street connection between El Camino Real and Mission Road aligned with Sequoia Avenue, Grand Avenue, or Oak Avenue||2 lanes + bike lanes, 25 MPH||Neighborhood||Improves east-west connectivity across Colma Creek||$20M|
|Medium||Medium||Maple Avenue||Connect Maple Avenue between Railroad Avenue and S Canal St including a bridge||2 lanes, 25 MPH||Neighborhood|
|Medium||South Linden Avenue||South Linden Grade Separation & Tanforan Avenue Pedestrian Undercrossing||2-4 lanes + bike lanes, 25 MPH||Boulevard||Improves internal connectivity in Lindenville & first/last mile access to BART||$305M|
|Medium||New Trail||Connect Centennial Way Trail and Bay Trail via US-101 overcrossing ||N/A||Class I Bikeway||Improves first/last mile access to BART||$15M|
|Low||Littlefield Avenue||Extension from East Grand Avenue to Eccles Avenue via Cabot Road, Forbes Boulevard, and Carlton Court||2 lanes, 25 MPH||Connector||Improves internal connectivity in East of 101 Area||$10M|
|Low||Point San Bruno Boulevard||Formalize connection between Point San Bruno Boulevard and East Grand Avenue||2 lanes, 25 MPH||Connector||Improves internal connectivity in East of 101 Area||$10M|
|Low||Myrtle Avenue||Extension from South Spruce Avenue to South Maple Avenue||2 lanes, 25 MPH||Neighborhood||Improves internal connectivity in Lindenville||$10M|
|Low||Harris Avenue||Connect cul-de-sac with E. Harris Avenue||2 lanes, 25 MPH||Neighborhood||Improves internal connectivity in East of 101 Area||$10M|
|Low||Roebling Road||Extension across East||2 lanes, 25 MPH||Neighborhood||Improves internal||$10M|
|Grand Avenue to proposed Railroad Avenue||connectivity in East of 101 Area|
|Low||Swift Avenue||Extend Swift Avenue to Littlefield Avenue||2 Lanes, 25 MPH||Neighborhood||Improves internal connectivity in East of 101 Area|
|Low||Wattis Way||Extend Wattis Way to South Airport Boulevard||2 Lanes, 25 MPH||Neighborhood||Improves internal connectivity in East of 101 Area|
|Contingency and other local streets and active transportation projects identified in other plans||$200-400M
|Total Cost, $2022||$1-1.2B|
Streets marked as “high” priority should provide a citywide or neighborhood-wide mobility benefit and should be advanced by the city’s public works department. Streets marked as “low” priority should be considered as redevelopment occurs at the applicable parcels and would primarily have a local mobility benefit. Streets marked as “medium” priority may be pursued by the city or considered as redevelopment occurs, and would provide a neighborhood-wide mobility benefit.
Costs are rough order-of-magnitude estimates based on previous analyses or comparable projects, rounded to the nearest $5 million in 2022 dollars. Costs do not include right-of-way acquisition if such actions are needed. Additional study is needed to refine the cost of each project.
Key Street Changes
A few streets across South San Francisco are expected to play outsized roles in accommodating changing land use and transportation conditions within the city. This section provides additional descriptions, conceptual layouts, and cross sections for these streets to serve as a starting point for planning activities.
Oyster Point Boulevard Bus Lanes
Oyster Point Boulevard will function as the primary or secondary route to access over 100,000 jobs in the East of 101 sub-area, representing one of the city’s biggest bottlenecks. In order to serve this demand and provide sufficient person-throughput along a constrained corridor, it is necessary to prioritize transit operations by adding bus lanes. Bus lanes allow for fast and reliable operations of regional express buses along with first/last mile services to Caltrain, BART and the ferry, while promoting the use of transit and stabilizing transit operating costs. Without bus lanes, bus and shuttle services will experience longer travel times and delays as the corridor develops, resulting in a negative feedback loop that increases operating costs while reducing the usefulness of these services.
Bus lanes may be accommodated on Oyster Point Boulevard between US-101 and Gull Drive through a combination of restriping, repurposing medians and turn lanes, and some widening along portions of the corridor (particularly east of Veterans Boulevard where the right-of-way narrows to roughly 85 feet). A 115 to 120 foot cross-section would accommodate a curbside bus lane and bike lane in each direction along with widened sidewalks while maintaining two through lanes for auto traffic, one left turn lane, and a median. In the westbound direction, bus-only lanes should extend to the US-101 northbound onramp to provide a seamless connection for buses traveling to San Francisco. At intersections where a second left turn lane is needed, the city may consider dynamic lane assignment to convert one left turn lane to a through-left lane during the AM peak period. To improve walkability and traffic operations while reducing conflicts along the corridor, the city may also consider restricting some lower-volume turning movements.
Funding for the approximately $1-1.2 billion in capital improvements would come from a combination of city, county, regional, state, federal, and private sector sources. Key funding sources include:
- City funds: The City of South San Francisco funds transportation improvements through various sources. The primary source is via a Transportation Impact Fee (Resolution 120-2020). At current fees, the General Plan buildout could generate approximately $1 billion upon full buildout of the General Plan (although not all developments may ultimately be realized). The City is also considering a community facilities district (CFD) within the East of 101 Area to augment transportation funding for the district. Preliminary funding plans for the CFD expect it could generate approximately $160 to $290 million.
- Private sector funds: Some transportation projects within the city may be partially or fully funded by the private sector as developments occur, particularly new streets, streetscape improvements, or trail connections within or alongside such developments.
- County/regional grants and local return: The San Mateo County Transportation Authority and the City/County Association of Governments administer various grant programs funding highway, grade separation, bicycle & pedestrian, transit, and other local transportation projects. Funding for these county programs is primarily derived from the County’s Measure A and Measure W sales taxes and Measure M vehicle registration tax. The City also receives a dedicated local return from Measure A and Measure W. Additionally, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Bay Area Air Quality Management District periodically administer their own grant programs to fund various transportation improvements with an emphasis on equity and VMT reduction. Grant funding varies year to year.
- State grants: The State of California administers several grant programs to fund transportation improvements with a focus on the state highway system, active transportation, and safety, including the State Transportation Improvement Program, Active Transportation Program, and Highway Safety Improvement Program. Grant funding varies year to year.
- Federal grants:Various grant programs are distributed to cities directly or via state, regional, and county governments. Federal grants are primarily funded via the Surface Transportation Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. Grant funding varies year to year.
Some projects affecting regional transportation projects identified in the General Plan are expected to be primarily funded by county, regional, state, and/or federal sources, while other projects more local in nature may be funded primarily via the City with transportation impact fees and CFD funds or via the private sector.
Mobility Element Funding Summary
|Funding Source||Funding Expectations||Funding Expectations
|City (Transportation Impact Fee & potential Community Facilities District)||$500-600M (50%)*||Local projects focusing on city circulation needs.|
|Private Sector||$100-120M (10%)||Local projects on private right-of-way associated with new developments.|
|County/Regional||$200-240M (20%)||Larger projects of countywide and regional importance, especially those involving regional agencies.|
South San Francisco prioritizes safety in all aspects of transportation planning and engineering.
To advance the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2025 (Resolution 40-2021).
Policy MOB-1.1: Use a systemic safety approach to proactively identify and address safety risks.
Action MOB 1.1.1: Develop a Vision Zero Action Plan.
Develop and implement a Vision Zero Action Plan that incorporates a prioritization approach for the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and maintenance response process and identifies safety countermeasures to incorporate into all development projects and capital improvements.
Policy MOB-1.2: Strive to reduce vehicle speeds throughout the city to reduce the frequency and severity of collisions.
Action MOB 1.2.1: Incorporate traffic calming.
Incorporate traffic calming treatments into all street projects to support lower design speeds.
Action MOB 1.2.2: Evaluate reducing speed limits.
Evaluate reducing speed limits on the city’s high injury network, transit priority streets, school areas, and other streets with high concentrations of vulnerable street users.