Safety improvements target 7th, 8th Streets downtown

San Francisco transit officials are making headway on one of Mayor Ed Lee’s directive to complete near-term bike and pedestrian safety improvements on Seventh and Eighth streets in nine months.

According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, between April 1, 2011 and March 21, 2016, there were 198 injury or fatal traffic collisions combined on Seventh and Eighth streets between Market and Townsend.

Both Seventh and Eighth streets intersect with other streets that are part of The City’s high-injury network, where 12 percent of city streets account for 70 percent of The City’s traffic collisions.

Most recently, Katherine Slattery, 26, was hit and killed by a motorist while on her bike at the intersection of Seventh and Howard streets last June.

Officials at the SFMTA are proposing a number of near-term improvements on Seventh and Eighth streets between Market and Folsom streets including a parking-protected bikeway, transit boarding islands, painted safety zones, upgraded traffic signals and a traffic lane reduction Seventh Street tor the new protected bikeway.

The one traffic lane reduction has already been implemented on Eighth Street.

The parking-protected bikeway would be on the east side of Seventh Street from Cleveland to Market streets and on the westside of Eighth Street from Market to Harrison streets.

Officials are also proposing to reroute the 19-Polk Muni bus line near Market and Seventh Street. SFMTA documents said the reroute would remove a “difficult merge” along the current  route.

The new reroute would allow the bus to continue on Seventh Street and merge on McAllister Street to get on Larkin Street.

Three bus stops would be removed at Market and Hyde, Larkin and Grove, and Larkin and McAllister streets. A bus stop would be added at McAllister and Hyde streets.

Two bus stops on Seventh Street would be moved to the far side of the intersection.

A transit-only lane would also be added on Seventh Street between Mission and Market streets that will help buses get through traffic congestion, documents said.

On Friday, transit agency officials will hold a public engineering hearing the proposed near-term improvements at City Hall, Room 416 at 10 a.m.

After the public hearing, the SFMTA Board of Directors will hear the proposal some time in November or December. If approved by the board, construction would start January 2017 and take approximately five months to complete, according SFMTA documents.