SFMTA Board of Directors Approves 5th Street Improvement Project That Includes Pedestrian Safety Improvements and Protected Bike Lanes
As part of the City’s efforts to reach Vision Zero goals and Mayor London Breed’s goal of 20 miles of protected bike lanes in the next two years, the SFMTA is re-designing the dangerous 5th, 6th, and 7th Street corridors
San Francisco, CA — On Tuesday, September 17, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors approved the 5th Street Safety Improvement Project, which will bring much needed pedestrian safety improvements and protected bike lanes to the high-injury 5th Street corridor. The project will deliver a number of short-term safety improvements as part of the “quick-build” policy championed by Mayor Breed while longer-term improvements are implemented over time.
75 percent of San Francisco’s severe and fatal traffic injuries occur on just 13 percent of our streets. These streets compose the City’s high-injury network. The 5th Street project is part of a larger series of improvements to the 5th, 6th, and 7th Street corridors, all part of the high-injury network. These changes will help ensure the South of Market area is safer for everyone who walks, bikes, takes transit, and drives through the neighborhood
“As it currently exists, 5th Street is simply not designed to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe. Only 45 percent of people surveyed said they felt safe walking the corridor, only seven percent said they felt safe biking, and only 25 percent said they can find reliable transit. That’s simply unacceptable,” said Mayor Breed. “This project will protect pedestrians and bicyclists, and our new quick-build policy will allow us to make immediate safety improvements while long-term changes are being made.”
The 5th Street Improvement Project spans an important connection from Market Street to Townsend Street. In the near-term, it includes protected bike lanes for the entire corridor, lane reconfigurations to encourage safer vehicle speeds, and new zones for passenger and delivery loading. In addition, longer-term pedestrian safety improvements will include wider sidewalks and raised crosswalks at select alleyways.
“The 5th Street Improvement project is part of a larger, coordinated effort to create a network of safe streets in the South of Market area,” said Tom Maguire, Interim SFMTA Director of Transportation. “5th Street is on the city’s High-Injury Network, and we are using all the tools available to improve the safety and visibility of some of the most vulnerable road users in a neighborhood with growing residential and commercial development.”
“Improving public safety in the district is a priority and reflects the values of our Yerba Buena Street Life Plan that guides our actions.” said Cathy Maupin, Executive Director of the Yerba Buena Community Benefits District, which is within the project area. “We’re eager to continue to collaborate with the city and the community on opportunities like the 5th Street Improvement Project that make Yerba Buena safer for pedestrians, bikes and other modes of transportation.”
Separately, the 6th Street Corridor is currently receiving a number of pedestrian safety treatments as part of the quick-build policy that was championed by Mayor Breed. These include a reduction in traffic lanes between Market and Howard Streets to slow vehicle speeds, painted safety zones to increase pedestrian visibility and slow vehicle turning speeds, and new turning restrictions to reduce the potential for crashes at intersections. These immediate safety-improvements will serve to inform the larger 6th Street Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project, which is scheduled to begin in 2020.
Mayor Breed has called for 20 miles of new protected bike lanes to be completed across the next two years, doubling the City’s previous pace. SFMTA is rapidly executing this directive. Last month, the SFMTA completed a new one-mile protected bicycle lane on 7th Street between Townsend and 16th Streets. Using the quick build process, it took fewer than 100 days from the start of design to completing the project, significantly improving bicycle connections between SoMa and Mission Bay.