For three glorious blocks of Polk Street, one of the city’s most dangerous and most traveled routes for people on bikes, you can now ride northbound in a fully protected, separate bike lane. For three blocks you can truly feel safe on your bicycle – and see what ‘brilliant’ can be.
Now is our chance to win these kinds of changes along all of Polk Street. A new design for Polk is in the works with major decisions happening over the next several weeks. But right now, the current City proposal isn’t the comprehensive, transformative and truly safe proposal it needs to be.
We need your help to push the SFMTA to choose a final design for Polk Street in February that includes protected bikeways and much-needed pedestrian improvements from Union to McAllister. Here’s why:
- Protected bike lanes don’t just make people on bikes a lot safer — they greatly improve safety for everyone. Protected bike lanes organize the street by giving everyone their own space, and they provide physical separation between people biking and people driving. Protected bike lanes have also been shown to make streets safer for pedestrians, a very important benefit for Polk Street which has seen two pedestrian fatalities since December 2013 and experiences dozens of serious collisions every year. In New York, protected bike lanes have reduced pedestrian injuries by 22%.
- Protected bike lanes are good for the local economy. Surveys show that residents, workers, shoppers and local merchants think the pedestrian and bicycle safety problems on Polk are the area’s biggest challenge. Since Polk is surrounded by neighborhoods where most people walk, bike or take transit to get around, making the street more attractive for people coming on foot, transit, or bike will also increase the number of people visiting local merchants. The vast majority of Polk Street residents and merchants know what data already shows us; a safe street is critical for vibrant neighborhoods and a thriving commercial corridor.
- For the city to achieve Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2024, protected bike lanes on dangerous corridors like Polk Street are essential. From Market to Vallejo, Polk Street has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the SF Department of Public Health’s Pedestrian and Cyclist High Injury Corridors. Transformative changes are critical to achieving safety goals.
Here’s how you can help win a safe Polk Street today:
- WRITE to the District 3 Supervisor Julie Christensen and the SFMTA Board of Directors and urge them to stand up for safety.
- HELP GATHER signatures in support of a safe Polk Street this week.
- JOIN or RENEW your SF Bicycle Coalition membership to support our ongoing work for a better Polk St.