Over the last few weeks, SOMA cyclists may have noticed a change on Folsom at 13th St.: yet another of our installations became official. On Wednesday, November 16th, SFMTA created a buffer and installed white safe-hit posts to protect a short stretch of the bike lane from vehicle intrusions.
Our first intervention at this location was in July, when we placed orange cones along the bike lane. Then, in early October we returned and installed safe-hit posts at the same location. After the press covered our work, the city removed our posts and replaced them with nothing. Almost 100 SFMTrA supporters wrote letters to SFMTA and other city officials, asking them to replace the posts on Folsom and 13th and rapidly increase installation of street safety infrastructure around the city.
Thank you to everyone who wrote a letter; your passionate calls for action worked. Piece by piece, we are making it safer to walk and bike the streets of San Francisco. This type of safety infrastructure is cheap and simple and could be used to create miles of protected bike lanes each month while full, permanent street transformations are developed.
We want to applaud the city for this fast safety improvement. But as always, we demand more.
A vision for rapid transformations in SOMA.
The Folsom St. bike lane from 13th St. to 2nd St. can be transformed into a parking protected bike lane in just a few months with nothing more than posts and paint. This is happening across the country. Below is one example of a parking protected bike lane recently installed in Chicago.
Folsom St. in SOMA is dangerous for all road users. It is effectively a surface highway with many lanes of fast-moving motor vehicle traffic. Car speeds in SOMA often reach 40 and 50 mph, significantly above the 20 to 25 mph that is recognized as a safe speed for bicycle and vehicle commingling. Even worse, this bike lane is almost completely unprotected. Drivers often park in the bike lane, and sometimes even drive in it, putting cyclists at risk and forcing them into fast vehicle traffic.
The solution is simple: move the bike lane to the curb, install a painted buffer with posts (as shown above), and then allow drivers to park between the car traffic lane and the bike lane. This could happen in months, but current timelines indicate improvements to Folsom and Howard won't begin until some time between 2020 and 2022.
Starting next month, the SFMTA will begin the public planning process for Folsom and Howard redesigns. Please show up on December 8th or 10th to tell the SFMTA to install inexpensive and quick parking protected bike lanes on Folsom and Howard while their normal planning processes create long-term street transformations.
SFMTrA will continue to show San Francisco how easy it is to make our streets safer. We cannot afford to wait until 2022 for safer streets in SOMA.