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SFMTA Makes Deadline on Mayor’s Executive Directive on Safety

Concrete poured. First layer of striping done on the eastbound 13th street bike lane. Photo courtesy of SFBC.

SFMTA is pouring the last bits of concrete separation and sticking down the last safe-hit posts for a protected bike lane on the eastbound side of 13th Street, from Folsom to Bryant. That's just in the nick of time--the deadline to complete 13th and two other protected bike lanes, as per the Mayor's Executive Directive on safety delivered last summer, is today.

Apparently, Ed Reiskin, SFMTA's chief, likes cliffhangers. Just a few weeks ago, there was almost no sign of work on 13th, and it looked as if the agency was going to blow right past the deadline.

Here's what the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Chris Cassidy had to say:

In the past few days, I've ridden Eighth, Seventh and 13th streets.The designs for all three are impressive, as is the SFMTA's diligence in delivering three protected bike lanes within nine months of Mayor Lee's Executive Directive. Now, if we could persuade the City leaders to respect the entire Executive Directive, and build physically protected bike lanes on high-injury corridors like Turk Street, that would really be progress.

Indeed, it's also good to see that the SFMTA board has approved protected bike lanes on Upper Market. But Cassidy is correct: it would be a travesty if the agency then backed off on Turk and failed to make improvements on Golden Gate. For that matter, all the high injury corridors need urgent safety work.

People Died. An Order was Given.
The bike lanes on 7th and 8th were a result, as Streetsblog readers are very aware, of the deaths last June of Heather Miller and Kate Slattery, who was killed at 7th and Howard. As Brian Wiedenmeier, the Bicycle Coalition's Executive Director, said at a presentation to SPUR last week, too often quick safety improvements only happen when someone dies.

Unfortunately, there is now more grim impetus to make improvements.

Just over the last weekend, a cyclist was killed in Mission Bay, a woman was killed crossing Lake Merced Boulevard, and another pedestrian was killed on Octavia. All areas are in the high-injury network. They are known danger points. Now Supervisor Norman Yee, who represents the Lake Merced neighborhood, is calling for a comprehensive look at safety in that area--again, because someone was killed.

Let's hope, moving forward, SFMTA, the mayor, and the Board of Supervisors can learn to look at dangerous streets and move with drive and focus pro-actively--instead of waiting for someone to die.

As to the 13th Street bike lane, there's still more work to be done. The merge-mixing zone to allow cars to turn into the Rainbow Grocery parking lot creates a hazard with the intersection at Folsom. And much of the lane is still only delineated by safe-hit posts, rather than concrete protection. Let's hope this is just a first pass at a long overdue project.

More pictures of the lane below:

Looking east on 13th, near Best Buy. This portion is bollard and paint only. Photo: SFBC
Looking east on 13th, near Best Buy. This portion is bollard and paint only. Photo: SFBC
Looking east on 13th, near Best Buy. This portion is bollard and paint only. Photo: SFBC
Farther east, and SFMTA is still pouring some concrete. Photo: SFBC
Some improvements going in to the westbound side too. Photo: SFBC
Farther east, and SFMTA is still pouring some concrete. Photo: SFBC
Photo: SFBC
Photo: SFBC
Photo: SFBC
Looking up 13th from the protected intersection at Division. Photo: SFBC
Looking up 13th from the protected intersection at Division. Photo: SFBC
Looking up 13th from the protected intersection at Division. Photo: SFBC

An SFMTA crew putting down some green thermoplastic at an intersection on the new bike lane on 7th late Tuesday morning. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
An SFMTA crew putting down some green thermoplastic at an intersection on the new bike lane on 7th late Tuesday morning. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
An SFMTA crew putting down some green thermoplastic at an intersection on the new bike lane on 7th late Tuesday morning. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

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