September 2020 Meeting Highlights

A virtual section meeting was held on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. There were 15 ITE members and 5 non-ITE members in attendance.

Vice President Kelly Akasaki welcomed everyone to the meeting and provided a few Section updates. First, Kelly discussed the first virtual resume review workshop that was held between September 7-11, 2020. The workshop helped University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Civil & Environmental Engineering students prepare for the College of Engineering Fall Career Fair. There were 13 professionals and 19 students that participated. Second, Kelly announced that the next section meeting is our Section Annual meeting, which will be held on October 21, 2020 with a tentative confirmation of Randy McCourt as the next guest speaker. Finally, Kelly introduced our guest speaker, Kimberly Leung who is an Engineer with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

Kimberly’s presentation focused on “San Francisco’s Slow Streets Program” which is intended limit through traffic on certain residential streets and allow them to be used more as a shared space. She discussed the quick development of the program in response to COVID-19 and highlighted some challenges and lessons learned along the way. The program began on April 21, 2020 with a focus on 12 corridors that eventually grew to 33 corridors. The Slow Streets program is an application-based program. Thus, once a corridor is identified by the community or an elected official an internal and external screen process would occur, and if is approved then the treatments are implemented.

Kimberly admitted that due to the quick development of the program the ideal criteria for a slow street was not defined prior to the first two (2) phases. It was a trial and error process and some treatments were removed on some corridors due to operational issues. By Phase 3, SFMTA learned that an ideal slow streets corridor was preferable a two (2) lane roadway, a segment of at least 6-8 blocks, a low volume roadway, and typically located in a residential area. Stop-controlled segments were preferred, but they were able to implement slow streets on corridors with traffic signals. On the other hand, SFMTA avoided implementing slow streets on roadways or segments that were part of a transit route, major emergency route, or on a commercial street with frequent loading/unloading activity. The two main challenges were limited resources and on-going maintenance. SFMTA will continue to monitor and evaluate the performance of slow streets by measuring pedestrian and bicycle volumes, vehicle volumes, vehicle travel speeds, traffic diversion, and community perception and compliance.

After Kimberly’s presentation, Cathy Leong took a group photo. Finally, before ending the meeting Kelly Akasaki reminded everyone that the next meeting will be held on October 21, 2020.