Voices for a Safer Polk Street: Elena

Meet Elena, one of the thousands of people who live, work, shop and bike along Polk Street. Here’s why she wants to see safety improvements on Polk Street:

My husband and I have lived near Polk & Broadway for over eight years now and much of our lives revolve around Polk Street.  We’re on Polk almost daily, as we prefer to use local & small businesses.  We don’t own a car and use our bikes to commute around town, and Polk is our main through-way that connects us to bike lanes that stretch throughout the rest of the City.
We’re both frequent pedestrians and cyclists on Polk and I want to express that the conditions on that street are harrowing.  As a pedestrian, I’m always so careful when crossing the streets… especially at Polk & Broadway, which you know to be quite dangerous. (I have seen a pedestrian hit by a car at that intersection.)  As a cyclist, I’m constantly having to dodge moving cars, sudden right turns, opening car doors, potholes, pedestrians crossing mid-block and several other obstacles.
All the moving parts on that street need more focus.  Cars, bikes and pedestrians need to have their own safe and smooth moving spaces.  In partial defense of car drivers on that street, I know they don’t see us cyclists sometimes because they don’t expect us to be there since there isn’t a clear indication that cyclists would be there.  I believe car drivers don’t even know what “sharrows” mean.
Polk is the only viable street for bike lanes in the area for North-South bike traffic, as it’s between two hilly sections (Pacific Heights and Nob/Russian Hills).  And there are families in the area to consider.  I’ve seen a father and his young daughter (what appeared to be) riding home from school in the late afternoon during the winter months when it gets dark early.  For her safety I rode behind her as long as I could to make sure car drivers saw her, because that street is far too dangerous for young children to ride.

If you also care about the future of Polk Street, like Elena, now is the time to take action!  Details here.

Polk Street connects thousands of San Franciscans to work, school, the waterfront and thriving commercial corridors from Market Street to the Bay — on bikes. According to SFMTA bike counts, biking on Polk Street has grown dramatically from 2006 to 2011; annual counts indicate a 79% growth in biking at McAllister and Polk Street and a 66% growth at Polk and Sutter. Increasingly, people are biking and walking on Polk Street to visit the growing number of restaurants, shops, gyms, and bars on this corridor; according to the SFMTA’s Polk Street Intercept Survey, approximately 30% of respondents stated that they visited Polk Street to eat or shop (at the time of the survey).

But numbers only tell part of the story. To put a face on the many people who visit Polk Street by bicycle, we’ll be featuring profiles of members–like Elena–who have written in to support a bright future for Polk Street. Want to share your own story about why Polk improvements are important to you?  Email kit@sfbike.org.

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