People Power Wins on 17th Street

Freshly approved in November, one block of protected bike lane has now been installed on 17th Street between Church and Sanchez.

There is no magic wand to improve our streets. We know that change comes block by block, and that street campaigns are won because of the people that champion each project. Now, the hundreds of people who bike on 17th Street every day have a more welcoming ride thanks to the hard fought victory by local residents and SF Bicycle Coalition members alike.

While we knew that this block of 17th Street had caused countless numbers of bike crashes in the past, it was video footage taken by a neighbor in May 2016 that started convincing City leaders of the urgent need for improvements.

“I involved myself because I saw a woman with two children hurt terribly on those tracks,” said John Entwistle, who began pushing elected officials, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), his 17th Street neighbors and safe streets advocates to take action after recording the video. “I knew in my heart that I had to do something.”

After constant urging, the SFMTA began working with local stakeholders to identify concerns and pitch different proposals that would not only make this block more safe for biking but even be welcoming for new riders.

The new design that is just days old now features bike lanes on both sides of the street that are protected by plastic, soft-hit posts. People biking are now fully separated from people driving, giving ample space for everyone to get around.

Image courtesy of John Entwistle who blogs at

Looking back now, John adds, “I did not have a clue about how much I would end up learning because of this commitment or how many wonderful people I would come to know during the process that ultimately led to this amazing new bike route.” The work now continues to ensure that the new design works for everyone, and your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will continue keeping close watch.

Want to keep powering street campaigns like this for better bike routes throughout the city? Join or renew your membership today to keep our people power strong in 2018.

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