Why are David Chiu and the SFMTA Turning Their Backs on Your Safety?

David Chiu's Injury Counter

Collision history from Update to the MTA Board of Directors PAG Committee.
Visit sfbike.org/polk for live injury counter.

We are deeply troubled to see that Supervisor David Chiu and the decisionmakers at the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) are turning their backs on your safety on Polk Street.

Facts are facts: Polk Street is the second most dangerous corridor in San Francisco, according to the City’s official data.

Yet Supervisor Chiu and the city’s transportation agency officials are ignoring these facts by promoting a watered-down design for Polk Street that is light years behind what is needed to make bicycling and walking a safe, comfortable experience for all. And they are ignoring their recent votes and public pronouncements supporting Vision Zero — apparently your safety on our streets is not such a high priority after all.

This is not acceptable.

To hold these City leaders accountable, we launch the David Chiu/MTA Polk Street Body Count clock, tracking the number of people hurt on Polk Street on their watch. We will keep this clock up until Chiu and the MTA get serious about safety by bringing to the MTA Board of Directors a true safety-first Polk Street proposal of separated bikeways the entire project length.

We are hearing from Chiu that he believes the watered-down design shared publicly this week is a compromise that is “good enough.” But have no doubt: the only thing this proposal compromises is YOUR SAFETY.

Hundreds of people have reviewed the lackluster design and voiced their concerns to Chiu and the MTA, but to no avail. Instead, they are responding to a vocal minority of people opposing bicycle safety improvements on the street.

The resounding message from people who bike and walk on Polk Street is that the current design is a recipe for mass confusion and dangerous conflict.

The proposed bikeway zig zags between parked cars and the curb, stops and starts, sometimes completely disappearing for blocks at a time, leaving you hanging while biking and leaving drivers confused and stressed out.

We’ve heard loud and clear that all road users desire orderly, predictable street designs that minimize opportunities for conflict. So we ask:

  • Do David Chiu and Ed Reiskin really imagine that parents will guide their child through this proposed biking slalom course that disappears entirely at times? Is this their vision for a bicycle-friendly San Francisco? What happened to Chiu’s call for 20% of trips by bike by 2020?!

  • Do they think that drivers of delivery vehicles want do a new round of mental math every block to figure out where it’s OK to park?

  • Do they think that San Franciscans will welcome confusing and antagonistic conditions on the city’s official north/south bike route, which is already experiencing a record-number of injuries among people biking and walking?

But it’s not too late to steer the Polk Street project back to safety.

We ask you to join us now to stand up to David Chiu and let him know that cowardly decisions today have direct, life-and-death impacts on real people like us.

Hold David Chiu (who represents much of Polk Street and is running for State Assembly this Fall) and MTA decisionmakers accountable by telling them loud and clear that they cannot not continue to turn their backs on your safety.

  • Call Supervisor David Chiu’s Office: 415-554-7450

  • Call MTA Director Ed Reiskin’s Office (leave a message at the general front desk): 415-701-4500
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