At the newly re-designed Fern Alley, Mayor London Breed, Supervisors Matt Haney and Aaron Peskin, and our Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier cut the ribbon on the completed Polk Streetscape Project alongside students from Redding Elementary.
Below are Brian’s remarks delivered at the event. Join our campaign to build better bike lanes, faster, so we don’t have to wait years like we did for Polk.
Thank you, Director Nuru, and thank you to Director Reiskin and Mayor Breed for your remarks and for your commitment to improving the safety of people who bike in our city.
We’re here today to celebrate the completion of the Polk Streetscape Project. And certainly, Fern Alley is a welcome improvement. Unfortunately, from a bicycle safety and Vision Zero perspective, this project is not complete. With only a few blocks of real protected bike lane and many blocks with no bike infrastructure at all, this project falls short of the standards we have set for improvements on other busy Vision Zero high injury corridors.
We are at this point because Polk Street is the result of an outdated process. Years of contentious outreach and planning and delayed construction went into this project. Six years of waiting and fighting made worse by an end result today that does little to help San Francisco meet our goals of getting people out of cars and improving safety.
The good news is that we do things differently now. Thanks to leadership from Mayor Breed, support from members of the Board of Supervisors, and rapid response from our City agency partners, we are approving and building protected bike lanes at an unprecedented rate. Rather than eight years, protected bike lanes can go in the ground in mere months now. We’ve seen bike lanes added to Seventh and Eighth streets, thanks to Mayor Ed Lee, and on Townsend, Howard and Valencia, thanks to Mayor Breed. This is the type of leadership and action it takes to create the city we envision.
We look forward to working with the Mayor’s Office and the SFMTA to evaluate the Polk Streetscape Project this year and apply our new, improved processes to close the gaps here in the protected bike lanes. The memories of the lives we have lost on our streets demand that we continue to make real and fast change for everyone who walks and bikes.
Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director
Join our campaign to build better bike lanes, faster, so we don’t have to wait years like we did for Polk.