We’re Changing How Protected Bike Lanes Get Built

Two weeks ago, SF Bicycle Coalition members joined people from the SoMa community to provide input on a plan to build protected bike lanes on a segment of Seventh Street, from Townsend to 16th Street. And before we’ve even reached the end of the month, this brand new protected bike lane has gone in the ground thanks to the City’s recently-approved quick-build process.

Realizing a protected bike lane from concept to construction usually takes years. City planners have historically shepherded a project through several public open houses, a public engineering hearing, and an SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board meeting at City Hall before construction. This same process has been used for all street safety projects — whether they were for one block or one mile of city streets.

City planners often feel pressured to seek project perfection before moving through this process. In this pursuit of impossible perfection, we lose urgency and projects get delayed or watered down. And in those moments, people die. Now, we’re changing the script, and Seventh Street is the first success story.

Coming out of our latest public push, we worked with the SFMTA to develop a streamlined approvals process for urgently needed protected bike lanes. The result was a new quick-build process, which promises faster delivery times for new protected bike lanes.

This new process — put to the test for the first time with protected bike lanes on Seventh Street — allows the City to act with the sort of urgency we need to achieve Vision Zero. Join our campaign to stay in the loop about each of these future quick-build projects.

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