During her last full day as San Francisco’s District 6 supervisor, Jane Kim unveiled new protected bicycle lanes that were recently added along Howard Street in the city’s South of Market neighborhood.
Bicycle and pedestrian advocates have been calling on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to add protected bike lanes on Howard Street following a handful of fatalities and injuries in recent years.
Howard Street, along with several other streets primarily located in the city’s central neighborhoods, have been identified by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition as being part of the city’s High-Injury Network: 13 percent of city streets where a disproportionate 70 percent of the city’s severe and fatal traffic-related injuries occur.
“This is just a great way to end my eight years with a another protected bike lane to our district,” Kim said at the official event Jan. 7. “As many of you remember, the very first hearing I called as supervisor was a pedestrian safety hearing to figure out how we can study making San Francisco safer for all of our pedestrians and cyclists.”
Kim, a SoMa resident, said she believes the city’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to stop all traffic-related fatalities by the year 2024, is tangible but requires that the city be proactive.
“We know it is completely achievable to get to zero by focusing our dollars and engineering and enforcement and education on a minority of our corridors and Howard Street is one of them,” she said.
During the event, SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin thanked Kim for advocating for pedestrian and bicycle safety during her time on the Board of Supervisors.
“I would say that during those eight years, there’s been no stronger champion for Vision Zero in the city than Supervisor Kim, so I want to thank her for her service and for holding our feet to the fire,” he said.
“The South of Market is a neighborhood where people live and work and go to school. There are a lot of seniors with disabilities. The streets were really not designed to support a neighborhood like what South of Market is today,” Reiskin said.
In addition to adding a bike lane protected by vehicle parking between Sixth and 11th streets, other near-term safety features added along Howard include wider crosswalks and increased crossing times for pedestrians at intersections with signals. Also, more loading zones for trucks delivering to Howard Street businesses have been provided.
On top of being in line with the city’s Vision Zero plan, the street improvements are also part of the city’s Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project. Early last year, protected bike lanes were added along Folsom Street between Falmouth and 11th streets.
In 2016, a driver fatally struck 26-year-old bicyclist Katherine Slattery on Howard Street, near Ninth Street. The driver, Farrukh Mushtak, 32, was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor hit-and-run in connection with her death, and has not faced trial yet.
Then on Sept. 14, 2018, bicyclist Russell Franklin, 56, died after a vehicle struck him near Howard Street and South Van Ness Avenue. The car’s driver stopped at the scene and was not arrested.
Days later, on Sept. 18, 2018, 61-year-old pedestrian Modesto Fegurdo died after the vehicle of an alleged drunk driver struck him at Ninth and Howard street. The driver, Allan Quiton, 40, has been charged with manslaughter, driving while under the influence of alcohol causing injury, evading an officer and fleeing the scene.
Less than a week later, on Sept. 23, 2018, a 30-year-old woman riding a motorized scooter similar to a Vespa suffered life-threatening injuries during a collision with a vehicle, also at Ninth and Howard streets. The driver in that collision stayed at the scene and was not arrested, police said.
Story originally published by Bay City News.