Every day, thousands of people get off of Caltrain with their bicycles to ride downtown and have to make a difficult decision: Do I brave the two lanes of traffic and freeway ramps on Fifth Street, or do I take a detour to the Seventh Street protected bike lanes? That decision may become a thing of the past, though, with a new bicycle infrastructure project kicking off on Fifth Street.
At a community open house on Tuesday, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) kicked off the Fifth Street Improvement project. The project’s goals are to improve safety for all modes of transportation along the entirety of the corridor from Market to Townsend. Fifth Street is on our bike network but only has sharrows, offering no dedicated or protected space for people who bike.
The goal of the open house was to introduce the project and solicit feedback from the public about priorities for the street. Plenty of SFMTA staff were on hand with boards set up to give attendees a chance to ask questions, learn about the project’s context and provide feedback. Like many streets throughout SoMa, Fifth Street is on the High-Injury Network, the 13 percent of our city’s streets where 75 percent of severe or fatal traffic collisions occur. It also serves as an important connector in the bike network, being the only north-south bicycle route in between Second and Seventh streets.
We’re gearing up our push for protected bike lanes on Fifth Street and will need member voices to win this campaign. As a first step, the SFMTA has an open survey which will help inform the future designs for the street. Fill out the survey here and let them know what you want to see when they bring back the designs to the public at open houses later in the year. Once designs are revealed, we’ll be able to push for the best option for people biking all the way through approvals.