If you’ve ridden down Masonic in the last ten-plus years you know it was a terror. Cars swerving around parked vehicles, a road filled with cracks and dangerous bumps, and people driving as if they were on a cross town freeway, not a short thoroughfare that connects many of San Francisco’s storied neighborhoods.
As of this month, much of that has changed, and the avenue has become a much friendlier place for people on bikes. But the work isn’t done.
We were glad to stand alongside City officials last week to celebrate long-awaited improvements like raised bike lanes, a new median with landscaping that doubles the number of trees along Masonic, transit boarding islands, and a new plaza at Geary and Masonic. These changed happened because of our members, neighborhood advocates behind the Fix Masonic group, and City leaders – notably Mayor London Breed, who, as a supervisor, championed this project from the beginning.
But Masonic is still not as safe as it can be. Our Executive Director, Brian Wiedenmeier, made it clear in his remarks that Masonic can and should be a place for people, not cars. The designs we put forward ten years ago were cutting edge at their time, but we have learned a lot since then.
It is also important we honor the people who have been injured or worse on this street. In particular, we must honor Nils Yannick Linke, who was hit and killed by a drunk driver while biking on Masonic Avenue in 2010. Yannick was just 22 when he was killed. We can’t wait another ten years to make improvements that will prevent the loss of more lives.
As SFMTA board chair Ed Reiskin noted in his comments at the podium, projects like this need to happen faster, and we agree. Ten years is way too long.
Supervisor Vallie Brown remarked, “We are going to change this boulevard, not only for the people who live here but for those who walk and bike here as well.” And Mohammed Nuru, Director of Public Works, said “we will make those fixes and continue making improvements to this city.”
We heard from you that there are still many improvements to be made, in particular the southbound approach to Fell, which poses a challenge to all but the most confident riders. We’re already working with Supervisor Brown on our next steps, which will kick off soon with a walkthrough of Masonic.