A part of the General Plan Updates
Moving about the city is an important part of our daily lives. It is also an essential part of how businesses function. The Transportation Element sets the policy foundation for a transportation system that gets people where they want to go safely and efficiently and facilitates the efficient movement of goods.
How should transportation be planned, designed, and maintained in San Francisco? What policies should be developed to support the safe and efficient movement of people and goods? How can transportation be provided to give people more opportunity to jobs and services?
To answer these questions, the City is updating the Transportation Element of San Francisco’s General Plan. Decisions about transportation programs and projects in San Francisco will be based on its policies and priorities, which will strive to:
- Advance racial and social equity
- Support climate action
- Coordinate San Francisco’s growth with the local and regional transportation system
Additionally, policies in the Transportation Element will set out to achieve:
- Safety for everyone, on every mode, wherever they go
- Superior conditions for transit, walking, and rolling that make them everyone’s preferred transportation choice
- Efficient goods movement that supports economic activity
- Streets that promote health and social activity
Why are we updating the Transportation Element?
Much has changed since the Transportation Element was prepared in 1995. Since then, we have seen shifts in how people get around, when they travel, and where they go, as well as how our streets are used. Examples of such changes include the rise in remote work, widespread use of smartphones, and increases in home deliveries.
Additionally, the City has made new commitments related to transportation. These include addressing racial and social inequities; making streets safer; changing how we approve and build housing; and addressing the climate crisis through efforts to shift trips to low-carbon modes (walking, biking, and transit).
However, we still want the same things from the transportation system: to easily get where we want to go using safe, reliable, and affordable options. These basics are even more important as the City plans for housing growth. Much of the new housing will be built incrementally. Now is the time to set the policies and plans for transportation – both local and regional – that will support new growth.
The City has been engaging the public in a collaborative process called ConnectSF to build an effective, equitable, and sustainable transportation system.
In 2018, staff first worked with residents, community-based organizations, and City agencies to create a vision of what they want San Francisco to look and feel like in 50 years, using ConnectSF’s goals as the foundation. These goals are equity, economic vitality, environmental sustainability, safety and livability, and accountability and engagement.
The vision that emerged from this yearlong effort was one of a growing, diverse, equitable city with a multitude of reliable transportation options that are available and affordable to all. This multi-faceted transportation system would be planned and built in a timely manner – a result of strong civic and government engagement.
Using this vision and the goals as a foundation, staff prepared subsequent studies about transit, streets, and freeways to identify transportation investments that would help the City reach that vision. The ConnectSF vision and the findings and recommendations from these studies will be reflected in the Transportation Element.
Visit ConnectSF for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the San Francisco General Plan?
The General Plan provides a comprehensive set of goals and policies that guide how San Francisco grows and develops. It influences how we live, work, and move about. It reflects community values and priorities through its public engagement and adoption process. Both private development and public action conform to the vision set out in the General Plan.
What is the Transportation Element?
The Transportation Element is one component of San Francisco’s General Plan. It is a policy document that sets guidance on how transportation is designed, built, and maintained in San Francisco. It sets policies and priorities for the safe, sustainable, and efficient movement of people and goods in the City. Decisions about transportation programs and projects in San Francisco will be based on its policies and priorities.
Policies in the new Transportation Element will strive to:
- Advance racial and social equity
- Support climate action
- Coordinate San Francisco’s growth with our local and regional transportation systems.
You keep saying “policy” – what is that?
A policy is a statement that guides what decisions are made and how. The statement usually involves intent, direction, or strategy. The Transportation Element will create policies that set the direction for transportation decisions. For example, the Transportation Element may include policies supporting the provision of additional bicycle parking to make biking easier and safer. In this example, developers would need to provide more bicycle parking than they currently do at new or remodeled shops, homes, and offices.
What does the Transportation Element not do?
The Transportation Element is not involved with the day-to-day operations of transportation. For example, it does not set parking prices, determine where colored curbs go, or sell transit passes. The Transportation Element will not amend the Zoning Map.
What content will be covered in the Transportation Element?
The Transportation Element will establish policies for all modes in San Francisco. How people move around the city is related to where they live and work and how they access jobs, school, shops, services, parks, and other important needs. What types of transportation is available and how our streets are used also affect the quality of life in San Francisco. Understanding the relationship between transportation and these other important topics is important to understanding the wide range of people’s mobility needs and how the Transportation Element will have to balance those needs while maintaining the City’s overall well-being. This is essential to create a functional, effective transportation system that works for everyone, especially underserved communities. It is also essential to achieve racial and social equity and fight climate change.
How will the public be engaged?
The project team will use a variety of engagement activities so that participation is as inclusive as possible. These activities include surveys, focus groups, open houses, town halls, and informational presentations at community-based organizations. While the outreach will be broad, the project team will provide opportunities to hear from communities that have historically been underserved in transportation planning processes. These communities include people of color, low-income individuals, people who do not speak English as their primary language, people with disabilities, seniors, and youth.
Why is it important that I participate in the update of the Transportation Element?
Transportation is a part of our everyday lives. Every person of every age and background needs transportation of some sort, whether they go to school, walk to a park, get groceries delivered, or go out of town for the weekend. Get involved in helping us shape the policies that will set the stage for what those trips look like. Give us your feedback on the principles and policies that will be used to guide the decisions the City makes about transportation.
How can I participate in the update of the Transportation Element?
There are many ways to get involved! A second round of outreach will be held that will include in-person and virtual meetings, an online survey, and many more activities. To learn more about the project and upcoming meetings and events, subscribe to receive project updates.
Planning Commission hearing on September 7, 2023
Staff will provide an overview of the Transportation Element to the Planning Commission on this date. Time for questions from the public and Commissioners will follow. As this will be an informational presentation, no action will be taken by the Commission about the Transportation Element at this hearing.
- Staff report (coming soon)
- Presentation slides (coming soon)
- Recording (coming soon)
Want to know more about future meetings and events?
Community Engagement Process
|Project Phases||Intent||Outreach Activities||Outcome|
|Part 1: Project Start-Up
|Information-gathering and community input on existing conditions, needs, and initial policy ideas||
||Draft key policy ideas|
|Part 2: Refine Goals and Policies
|Public review and discussion of draft goals and policies||Anticipated:
||Draft policies and goals refined by community input|
|Part 3: Moving Towards Adoption
|Environmental review and final Transportation Element||Anticipated:
||Adopted update to the Transportation Element|