Don’t delay safety improvements to Arguello

People biking on Arguello Blvd near Lake St.

In April of this year, a beloved member of our community and track cycling champion, Ethan Boyes, was hit and killed by a driver while biking on Arguello Blvd in the Presidio. We joined Ethan’s friends, family, and the broader bicycle community in calling for quick action to make Arguello safe. Months later, we are still demanding action.

Arguello is one of the most used roads by people who bike in San Francisco, and responsibility for ensuring its safe design falls to both the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Presidio Trust, who have jurisdiction over different stretches of the road. 

SFMTA’s Arguello Safety Project, focuses on the stretch of Arguello between Golden Gate Park and the Presidio Gate, and is behind schedule. We were told in April by the SFMTA that public outreach for the project could begin within a month or two, but it still hasn’t materialized. As a result, we’re far from achieving the projected goal of an implemented design this fall.

When we biked Arguello Blvd with SFMTA staff in April, along with aides from Supervisor Chan’s and Stefani’s offices and the D1 representative for the SFMTA Bicycle Advisory Committee, we were clear: the only acceptable option is a side-running, parking-protected bike lane. Though there are many challenges to protecting the bike lane, including curb uses, emergency vehicle access, bus stops, and overhead wires, we believe the trade-offs will be worth it for a safe bike lane on one of the busiest streets for biking in the city. 

The SFMTA promised us swift implementation, projecting that a quick-build design could be in the ground as early as late summer or early fall. We are disappointed with the SFMTA falling behind on all aspects of the project.

After Ethan Boyes’ death, the entire bicycle community came together to demand action. Over 2,000 people signed a petition and joined a memorial slow ride in honor of Ethan. Community advocates under the banner of Protected Arguello also continue to demand a quick response and thorough protection. Supervisor Chan of District 1 and Supervisor Stefani of District 2 are both very supportive of the project and have each set aside funding to make it happen.

The SFMTA has the support and the urgency it needs to move forward. We’re expecting design options soon and will share them with our members when they become publicly available — but only a side-running parking protected bike lane will be acceptable. While community outreach is crucial for this project and needs to be thorough, delaying it should not be used as an excuse to prolong implementation. 

We are excited to reimagine the potential for Arguello Blvd.

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