Protected Bike Lanes and More Coming to 7th and 8th Streets in SoMa
Parking-protected bike lanes, Muni boarding islands and pedestrian safety measures are bound for 7th and 8th streets in the South of Market District.
On Tuesday, the SFMTA Board of Directors approved sweeping improvements that will make 7th and 8th streets, between Market and Folsom streets, safer for everyone.
A view of the plan for 8th and Howard streets, with a parking-protected bike lane and Muni boarding island on 8th. Painted safety zones are shown in yellow at street corners. Full plan views are available on the project webpage.
Construction will start this winter on initial improvements. By May, our 7th and 8th Streets Safety Projects will bring:
- Parking-protected bike lanes to provide safer, more comfortable separation between people biking and driving.
- Muni boarding islands at bus stops, with bike lanes placed between the islands and the sidewalk.
- Painted safety zones to help those driving make slower, safer turns and make people walking more visible.
- Reduced traffic lanes to re-purpose excess road space and help calm traffic. (This change was already implemented on 8th Street in 2012 to install the existing buffered bike lane.)
- Better bikeway design at intersections to more safely separate people biking from right-turning drivers.
We also recently upgraded traffic signals on these streets to make them more visible.
These two streets have a pressing need for safety improvements. Between April 2011 and March 2016, there were 204 traffic collisions on 7th and 8th, between Market and Townsend streets, which resulted in injuries and fatalities. Both streets also intersect streets that are part of the city’s High-Injury Network – the 12 percent of streets that see 70 percent of traffic collisions – which we’re focused on in pursuit of Vision Zero.
We prioritized these improvements in response to Mayor Ed Lee’s Executive Directive on Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety, which challenged us to make near-term safety improvements on streets including 7th and 8th. The mayor issued that directive after a tragic evening on June 22, when two women biking were killed in separate hit-and-run crashes. One of them, Katherine Slattery, was killed at 7th and Howard streets by a speeding driver who ran a red light.
While we cannot control the criminal behavior of a few, we can encourage safer behavior on our streets through engineering, education and enforcement.
These improvements on 7th and 8th were originally conceived in the 2011 Eastern Neighborhoods Transportation Implementation Planning Study (EN TRIPS), a collaborative effort between city agencies and local communities to map out a vision for the area.
With approval from our agency’s board, the upgrades are ready to go. Construction will begin this winter, starting with initial measures like painted safety zones and intersection daylighting. The project is expected to be completed by May.
Note: Approval of Muni Forward changes to the 19 Polk route proposed as part of this project was postponed by the SFMTA Board of Directors for further evaluation.