Geary Improvement Project: The power of grassroots organizing and collaboration

On August 15, the SFMTA unanimously approved the Geary Improvement Project. The project addresses major safety issues on the corridor and will implement a side-running transit lane, pedestrian safety elements such as bulb outs and better crosswalks, and bus stop upgrades. This is a huge transportation and safety win for the Richmond community. 

Geary Blvd is a vital transportation and commercial artery for the Richmond District, and it’s also one of the most dangerous for people. Geary is on San Francisco’s High-Injury Network– between Stanyan St and 34th Ave, five people have been killed and 578 injured by traffic violence between 2010 and 2021. The large population of seniors and older adults around Geary who rely heavily on walking and transit as their primary means of transportation are particularly vulnerable to traffic violence. 

The Geary Boulevard Improvement Project will save lives and empower people to choose active modes of transportation like walking and public transit.

This major win would not be possible without the work and leadership of a coalition of advocates, Faster, Safer Geary, and especially Lian Chang and Cyrus Hall. They did in-person outreach on Geary for weeks, asking people why they take the bus, what they love about it and how it can be improved. They demonstrated to city leaders that the project needed to be approved immediately and not be delayed like some people were calling for. 

Faster, Safer Geary asked if the SF Bicycle Coalition could support the project and we were happy to join them. We wrote a formal letter of support to city leaders and mobilized our members to write letters of support to the SFMTA Board of Directors. This collaboration, which included many other community groups, such as SF Transit Riders and Richmond Family SF, shows how powerful grassroots organizing is for achieving transportation justice in our city.

Transit-friendly cities are bicycle-friendly cities. Countless studies have shown that improving transportation systems as a whole creates a safer and more enjoyable experience for all those who bike, walk, and roll. And we’ve seen it ourselves time and time again right here in SF. 

Improving all active modes of transportation achieves our larger vision for a more livable, connected, and sustainable city. We continue to work in solidarity with other advocates and groups, and within larger transportation justice coalitions towards a new, transformative vision for our streets.  

This project has been many years in the making, and some of its original, more robust changes have unfortunately been watered down along the way. Though we are excited for what has been approved, we look forward to even more changes to Geary Blvd in the future. Your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will continue to push city leaders for more urgent and radical change. 

Thank you to the dedicated staff at the SFMTA who conducted extensive outreach and saw this project through. 

Construction for the Geary Improvement Project will begin this fall. Follow Faster, Safer Geary to receive updates on its progress. 

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