cyclists along one side of pedestrian median with street on other side
Credit: Steve Boland / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Street Design Advisory Team (SDAT)

The Street Design Advisory Team (SDAT) is an advisory body that provides a regular forum for City agencies to review and comment on proposed changes to the public right-of-way. SDAT is chaired by the San Francisco Planning Department and composed of members from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco Public Works, the SF Fire Department, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The Streetscape Design Advisory Team (SDAT) exists to ensure that City agencies provide clear and consistent guidance to project sponsors who have a requirement to improve the public right-of-way pursuant to the Better Streets Plan and Planning Code Section 138.1.

The Better Streets Plan establishes standards for the design of the pedestrian realm and parking lane within the City and requires projects of a certain scale to bring their fronting sidewalks in conformity with these standards. These changes to the City’s public right-of-way typically entail sidewalk widening, bulb-out construction, street trees and understory plantings, and installation of special paving and street furniture.

SDAT’s primary charge is ensuring that street and sidewalk changes initiated by projects are built to the highest possible standards in terms of safety, accessibility functionality, conviviality, aesthetics, materiality, and maintainability.

SDAT Membership

Changing streetscape can be complex process as it involves coordinating the requirements and permitting of multiple city departments and agencies.  The Planning Department convenes SDAT to facilitate and document this process to both create a better outcome for the public and make the process more efficient and effective for project sponsors. SDAT includes the Department of Public Works, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the SF Fire Department (SFFD), while others participate on an as-needed basis.

Providing comments from multiple departments in one setting reduces the risk that City agencies will give conflicting feedback to project sponsors. In addition, providing comments early in the development review process reduces the risk that City agencies will require changes to previously reviewed streetscape designs later (i.e., after Planning approvals) in the development review process. Any changes to the public right-of-way approved by the Planning Commission, will still need to undergo subsequent review and approval processes by other City agencies including final approval from the Department of Public Works.

Timing of SDAT Review

Planning Department requires a project’s proposed streetscape changes to be reviewed early in the entitlement process to support CEQA and feasibility. SDAT reviews a project during a Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA) and the Project Application if it returns for a permit or entitlement. Planning Department staff summarize comments into a publicly available letter that is included in a Plan Check Letter (PCL) forwarded by the project planner.