Sitting down with the SF Fire Department

Over the past months, we’ve seen protected bike lane projects approved left and right.

These new approvals are in no small part due to new collaboration between the SF Municipal Transportation Agency and the SF Fire Department. Tensions of the past have subsided, making way for a collaborative approach to getting crucial safety projects approved and built.

Captain Chad Law, who has served with SFFD for more than 20 years, was promoted this year to work with other agencies on street safety projects around San Francisco. Last week, we sat down with him to hear more about his background and approach to his new position.

You’re originally from SF. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in San Francisco in the Richmond District. Sometimes it seems like a long time ago and other times, it seems like just yesterday. There have been many changes in San Francisco over that time but one of my fondest memories was hanging out with my older brother and riding our bikes though Golden Gate Park on “No Automobile Sundays.”

How has being born and raised in SF informed your work at the SFFD?

There is an advantage of remembering what the city was like and how it evolves daily. As a third generation San Franciscan, the stories and memories of my grandparents and parents creates a sense of home.

While I am no longer working in fire suppression, I am helping the City that I love in a different way by reviewing streetscape plans, collaborating with other sister agencies to help make our streets/sidewalks safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. The collaborative effort with the SFMTA has been successful in moving projects forward as this process has been seamless and beneficial to all.

Fire safety and street safety are both huge issues. How does the SFFD work with SFMTA to ensure that all of our safety needs are met?  

The SFFD works closely with the SFMTA to review plans, conduct traffic studies and work with the community. Time is taken to walk the streets to visually confirm that no building life safety is compromised when street safety is improved.

There are multiple streetscape plans for the City both near-term and long-term. The Howard Street project is an exciting project because of the significant improvement for the high volumes of bicyclists and their safety. Class IV Bicycle Pathways are planned where SFFD fire and building access will not be compromised.

Do you ride a bike?

Yes, I have a road bike, mountain bike and a beach cruiser. I used to go on long bicycle rides throughout Marin County. It was and still is wonderful to ride bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge because of the great weather and bicycle pathways! When I do get a rare chance to ride in the city, I love riding along the waterfront from Crissy Field to the Embarcadero. You will often find my family and I cruising around Windsor to the Town Green and around town in the newly striped bike lanes.  

The SF Bicycle Coalition’s advocacy contributed directly to the creation of this new position. Join as a member today to support our push for more bike lanes, faster.

Become a member and you'll improve your commute and get discounts at shops across the city.