Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, planning - signage/information, policy - congestion, place - cbd, mode - bus


Two way traffic, Two lane roads, Two lane highways, Traffic flow, Traffic congestion, Social service agencies, Service industries, San Francisco (California), Retail trade, Public participation, Public opinion, Public involvement, Public information programs, Public hearings, Ownership, Owners, Outreach programs, One way streets, Managerial personnel, Local participation, Human service agencies, Gridlock (Traffic), Downtowns, Conversion, City centers, Citizen participation, Central business districts, Businessmen, Businesses


This feature presents a case study of a major circulation change to a major arterial street in downtown San Francisco, California. Traffic congestion was seriously affecting the reliability of three transit routes through San Francisco's downtown. Converting one of the lanes on northbound, one-way Sansome Street to a southbound bus plus commercial vehicle lane would allow buses to bypass most of the congestion and would retain freight loading access for all businesses on both sides of Sansome Street. The public participation strategy for the project was simple: make sure the public understands the purpose of the project and be sensitive and responsive to their concerns. Rather than launch directly into having a departmental public hearing, the city engaged in an outreach campaign first. A memo that included a map of the proposed project and a project description was mailed and hand-delivered to all major businesses, building owners, and managers along Sansome Street and mailed to business associations in the downtown area. Follow-up presentations were scheduled with downtown merchant associations to address their concerns and get their support. By the time of the departmental public hearing, there was no major opposition to the project, and the Department of Parking and Traffic had support from major downtown merchant associations and businesses speaking in favor of the change. By involving the public at an early stage, the city was able to successfully implement the project.