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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor London Breed Celebrates Milestone of Townsend Street Corridor Improvement Project

Completed protected bicycle lanes and improved sidewalks delivers major safety improvements on Townsend Street between 4th Street and 7th Street

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today celebrated a significant milestone of the Townsend Street Improvement Project, which makes the area safer for everyone with new bus loading islands, protected bicycle lanes, and improved sidewalks and crosswalks. She was joined by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), San Francisco Public Works, and pedestrian and bicycle safety advocates.

Today’s event marked the completion of the most intensive part of the project on Townsend Street between 4th and 5th Streets. This stretch of Townsend Street serves nearly every mode of transportation, including Muni, bikes, scooters, taxis, intercity buses, and private vehicles.

“These improvements along Townsend Street make it safer and less chaotic for everyone, but especially if you are coming by bike—whether you are trying catch Caltrain or are going to an office or an appointment,” said Mayor Breed. “We need to ensure bicycling is an attractive, safe, and accessible choice for residents and visitors alike. We’ve made rapid progress adding more protected bike lanes and this project is an example of where we are truly starting to build a protected bicycle network, connecting the South of Market neighborhood to the rest of the City.”

In October 2018, Mayor Breed directed the SFMTA to expedite safety improvements on Townsend Street as part of the Quick Build program. As a result, the SFMTA and Public Works completed construction of protected bike lane and sidewalk improvements on Townsend between 4th and 7th Streets ahead of schedule.

The new protected bike lanes help connect the Townsend Street corridor to new protected bicycle lanes on 5th Street, 7th Street and Market Street, which recently became car-free to private vehicles. The new bus-loading island is nearly a block long, which will make pick up and drop off from buses, taxis, and other vehicles safer and more orderly, and provide a better experience for pedestrians. 

“Townsend Street has one of the richest mixes of travel modes of any street in San Francisco,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “What we’re celebrating today is a safe and efficient design where all modes of travel have their own intuitive spaces.”

“The transformation of Townsend Street required smart design, community support and the well-executed delivery of a complex construction project,” said Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried. “From the new protected bike lane and sidewalks, to the bus-loading island and ADA-compliant curb ramps, we now have a safer and more welcoming corridor for the thousands of people who travel it every day.”

“What we’ve learned is that when we set the bar high for City planners, we know they can rise the challenge and deliver,” said Claire Amable, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “We’re thrilled to have this smart design in place that will make Townsend a safer and more inviting place for people to biking, walking and taking transit.”

“Today, Townsend is making an important step toward greater safety for thousands and thousands of people daily,” said Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF. “And we can’t stop here for improving unsafe streets. We need to be approaching 100% of the known dangerous streets with speed and efficiency like this Townsend Street project.”

In May 2019, Mayor Breed announced a goal to build 20 miles of protected bike lanes in the following two years. Adding 20 miles of new bike lanes will double the pace of current protected bike lane production in the City. Since that announcement, SFMTA has delivered nearly eight miles of new protected bike lanes.