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Bicycle Infrastructure

Open Letter to Mayor Breed: Who’s Going to Be Fired?

Someone decided to “stage” SFMTA buses in the bike lane. Who was it? And when will they be shown the door? Photo: from Kyle Grochmal’s twitter

"City vehicles should never block the pedestrian right-of-way or bicycle lanes," Mayor Breed's directive, Aug. 29, 2019.

To the Honorable Mayor London Breed:

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Vision Zero, the city's promise to end fatalities and serious injuries on our city streets. You've given great speeches and continually affirmed your dedication to this goal.

We believe you are sincere.

But, as you know, we've had 22 fatalities already this year. Our city's policies simply aren't working. Officials and advocates seem to rarely talk about the deadline to achieve zero traffic deaths by 2024 anymore, since it's obvious we're not going to make it without serious and immediate change.

But we can do it, and here is a test for you.

You recently gave an order on safety. Here it is again, from your office's official press release:

"Mayor Breed has directed City departments to model safe habits on our street and has established guidelines that, unless responding to an emergency, City vehicles should never block the pedestrian right-of-way or bicycle lanes." [emphasis added]

That's not ambiguous. It also reaffirms existing law: it's illegal (with a few exceptions) and dangerous to block a bike lane.

And then this happened Wednesday evening:

Thank you, Kyle Grochmal, for your tireless activism. But no thank you, SFMTA, for this response:

Talk about missing the point.

Whoever signed off on using bike lanes as a staging area for buses has to go. It wasn't the agency that let this happen. It wasn't a computer program. It was a city employee. And when a public employee ignores your directive and sh*ts on Vision Zero, they need to go.

Mayor Breed, you sacked SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin for failing to get the agency to shape up. Reiskin wasn't the only culprit. You can't fire all of them, but you also don't need to. You just have to send a clear message that if a city employee disobeys your directives and disregards the safety of the public, as they often do, then proceedings will begin the next day to terminate that employee.

If you don't act, you send a message that safety, as well as complying with your directives, are optional.


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