Open Letter to Mayor Lee: Take Action on SoMa Streets

Dear Mayor Lee:

Last week, a 24-year-old woman named Amelie Le Moullac was killed while bicycling on Folsom Street near 6th Street when she was hit by a truck driver.

Amelie was the third resident to be killed on a bike in San Francisco this year, all in or near SoMa. Each victim was killed by the driver of a large truck, none of whom have been cited or charged yet. In February, 48-year-old Diana Sullivan was run over and killed while reportedly stopped at a red light at Third and King Streets. In May,
2 1-year-old Dylan Mitchell was killed by a garbage truck driver at 16th Street and South Van Ness Ave.

SoMa regularly ranks as one of San Francisco’s most dangerous neighborhoods for people bicycling and walking.

Safe SoMa Now!We are urging you, along with Supervisor Jane Kim and the SF Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors, to take action to ensure that no more deaths occur on the streets of SoMa.

Fix Folsom: Right away, the SFMTA should add green paint to the known conflict areas on Folsom Street and throughout SoMa. While not enough alone, in the near-term this green paint can help bring greater visibility and awareness to the growing number of people bicycling.

We ask you to commit to implement the City’s long-overdue, long-delayed redesign of Folsom Street. Folsom is one of the city’s few designated bike routes to downtown — yet it is still an intimidating street, with no separation between bike riders and fast-moving auto traffic. Other cities have taken action to tame their deadlier streets by adding bikeways that are physically-separated from motor vehicle traffic. In fact, separated bikeways on 9th Avenue in New York City have reduced injuries to all street users by 58% and could do the same here.

The City studied and recommended a redesign of Folsom Street, which includes separated bikeways, years ago through multiple planning processes and is now in the process of environmental analysis through the Central Corridor EIR. The City is scheduled to repave Folsom Street from the Embarcadero to 10th Street in November 2014. Please expedite approval and funding for this long-overdue Folsom St. plan so that the new, safe design, vetted through extensive community outreach, can be implemented with this scheduled repaving next year.

Require street safety training for drivers of large trucks: Please designate a high-level staff member to identify and work with operators of fleets of large vehicles in San Francisco to introduce comprehensive safety measures for their drivers on city streets.

Trucks should be retrofitted with convex mirrors so drivers can more easily see vulnerable street users. And the City should require that large vehicle operators take training courses in how to safely share city streets with people biking and walking. The SF Bicycle Coalition already teaches bicycle safety classes to all new San Francisco taxi drivers in partnership with the SFMTA, and we’ve reached out to some companies who operate large trucks to teach their drivers as well. We also teach people biking about how to position themselves safely around large vehicles.

It is the responsibility of the City and these companies to help ensure the safety of our most vulnerable street users. With more building and development planned for San Francisco, and subsequently more large trucks, it is imperative that more effective safety measures are put in place to prevent further tragedies like this.

Mayor Lee, you have the tools and power to prevent more tragedy on our streets. It is not acceptable to sit by while San Franciscans are killed on SoMa streets when you have the power to prevent these deaths.

Thank you in advance for taking action to stop the killing on SoMa streets.


Leah Shahum

Leah Shahum
Executive Director
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

cc: Supervisor Jane Kim
Board of Directors, SF Municipal Transportation Agency

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