The Passing of Mayor Lee

Mayor Lee on a Muni ride. Photo: Mayor's Office/Twitter
Mayor Lee on a Muni ride. Photo: Mayor's Office/Twitter

Mayor Edwin Lee died early Tuesday morning of an apparent heart attack. He was 65.

“The SF Bicycle Coalition is shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Mayor Lee. On behalf of our 10,000 members, of whom the Mayor was one himself, we send our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time,” wrote Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “We were all stunned and deeply saddened to learn about Mayor Ed Lee’s passing. He was dedicated to making our streets safe and our city more livable,” wrote Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director of Walk San Francisco. “Our thoughts are with the Mayor’s family during this incredibly difficult time.”

Although Mayor Lee hasn’t always been seen as an ally by the safe/livable streets advocacy community, he supported a number of safety efforts in San Francisco. For example, last year he issued an executive directive on safety that resulted in the fastest construction yet of parking-protected bike lanes in the city–on 7th, 8th, and the eastbound side of 13th in SoMa. The directive was in response to the deaths of two cyclists on the same night in separate incidents.

He also pushed for ‘rapid response teams’ to deal with inter-agency conflicts that were delaying much-needed street improvements. And he was an enthusiastic supporter of Automated Speed Enforcement. “San Francisco became the second city in the nation to adopt Vision Zero, thanks to his leadership,” wrote Walk SF’s Medeiros.

The Streetsblog staff is shocked and saddened by his sudden death and joins the advocacy community and the City of San Francisco in offering condolences to his family. Transit agencies throughout the Bay Area, including AC Transit, Caltrain, and SamTrans, announced that they would stop at noon today for a minute of silence in honor of Mayor Lee.

“Ed Lee was a kind and decent human being who cared deeply about our city and our community. The Chinese community was so proud to finally have a mayor from the community–something it had waited for for over 150 years,” wrote State Senator and former SF Supervisor Scott Wiener. “Ed never got the credit he deserved as arguably the most pro-housing mayor in the history of San Francisco, with a huge amount of affordable housing created or approved under his Administration… Ed was, at heart, a family man, and I’m so sorry for his family’s loss.”

According to the city’s charter, Supervisor and President of the Board London Breed will now be sworn in as acting mayor.


How Mayor Lee Can Make 2012 a Landmark Year for Bicycling in SF

With Mayor Ed Lee inaugurated yesterday to his first full term, Streetsblog is asking leading advocates and experts to lay out their ideas for how the mayor can move San Francisco’s transportation policy forward. Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, kicks things off with today’s installment. Before he took the city’s lead […]

NYC’s Tom Maguire Expected to Lead at the SFMTA, if Mayor Lee Lets Him

Ever since we broke the news that New York City’s Tom Maguire would be hired as the new director of the SFMTA’s Sustainable Streets Division, we’ve heard only positive reactions. If nothing else, there’s a lot of hype building for this promising veteran of the livable streets renaissance seen under Janette Sadik-Khan‘s NYC Department of Transportation. […]

Mayor Lee to Bring Sunday Streets to Chinatown and North Beach This Year

Chinatown and North Beach, the “densest neighborhoods west of the Mississippi,” are set to be graced by Sunday Streets for the first time this year, Mayor Ed Lee announced today. City leaders and advocates said they’re eager for the opportunity to let residents experience Grant Avenue and California Street free of car traffic. “Sunday Streets will be different […]