In April of this year, a driver on Arguello Blvd in the Presidio veered across the road and into the opposite bike lane, hitting and killing Ethan Boyes, a fixture in the biking community. Following this tragedy, we joined Ethan’s friends, family, and the broader bicycle community in calling for both the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Presidio Trust – the federal agency that oversees the Presidio – to make quick safety improvements to one of the most popular bike routes in San Francisco.
When we met with the Presidio Trust in April and walked through the area where the collision occurred, we discussed opportunities and limitations to create a safer environment for people biking on Arguello. Between the golf course and Washington Blvd, we observed dangerous behaviors such as excessive speed and people cutting their cars into the bike lane along curves. To address these, we discussed options such as speed humps, vertical delineators and better signage and markings to clarify where bicycles will travel.
At the time, the Trust committed to pilot improvements to collect data and feedback to inform permanent solutions. Since this stretch of Arguello is slated for repaving next year, the Trust decided it made sense to do temporary solutions now and plan to implement long-term solutions when they repave.
A few weeks ago, the Trust began installing Phase 1 of the Arguello Blvd Bicycle Improvement Project, with Phase 2, which includes a speed hump and rumble strips, planned for the coming weeks. We were disappointed that the Trust did not share the Phase 1 designs for our feedback before they were installed.
We met with the Trust last week to discuss the pilot design and asked for some immediate amendments, like adding vertical delineators on the northbound side where bikes merge to take Washington Blvd. They also explained some of the data they collected that informed their choices; for example, 75% of southbound cars cut into the bike lane across from Inspiration Point, which is why they prioritized that bike lane for bollards.
The Presidio Trust was receptive to feedback, and we look forward to better communication regarding future improvements. We expect to see designs for the permanent improvements towards the end of this year and, if all goes as planned, implementation completed around the end of 2024.
It’s important to recognize that designing transportation infrastructure in the Presidio comes with unique challenges. Much of their infrastructure is given historical preservation protection at the federal level. Several endangered species live within the park, and Arguello is surrounded by environmentally sensitive areas, making widening the roads impossible.
Many people use Arguello daily, including transit riders, emergency responders, competitive athletes, bike commuters, tourists, and more. We want people to be able to continue to use Arguello for all active modes of transport, so it’s essential to keep them in mind for the design.
There will be opportunities to provide feedback on the permanent designs. Click below to be among the first to see them.