I just called San Francisco 311 to offer a compliment to the city. The city changed the traffic light timing on Valencia Street between 16th and 25th about 4 months ago. It is now a green wave at
15 13.5 miles per hour in both directions. I love it.
Update 3-22-12: I drove the route and verified that the wave is 13.5 mph from 16th st to 24th st, not 15mph like I originally thought. Back to original post…
For cars, it offers traffic calming and consistency. If you drive at 13.5mph, you’ll hit a green light at every intersection. Drivers make their way down the road roughly as fast but it’s less stressful. And if a driver -really- wants to go around this sluggish feeling traffic, they can take South Van Ness or Guerrero.
It is easy for bikes to keep up with the pace of traffic, making it feel safer because there is no speed difference between cars and bikes. Going up-hill from 18th-21st it’s a healthy challenge to keep up with the lights. It’s an odd thrill on a bike, meeting up with the same cars at every light.
Pedestrians have less to worry about because traffic is moving slower and more consistently. The strip from 15th to 25th is a pedestrian-friendly shopping and living district, now moreso!
My only complaint: I want to see more of this!
Also read this article on SF Streetsblog that talks about the Valencia Street re-timing.