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Masonic corridor safety upgrades debut

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A nearly completed Masonic Avenue was celebrated by city officials a decade after residents and businesses first complained about the dangerous corridor.

The new corridor improvements from Fell to Geary Boulevard on Masonic Avenue includes a newly repaved road, a road diet, bikeways on both sides of Masonic, wider sidewalks, and better access to Muni. Beneath the street are newly-installed water main and sewer lines.

Along with the new pedestrian and bike safety improvements is a brand-new plaza aligned with palm trees at the corner of Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue, across the street from Target.

Mayor London Breed said she recalled receiving many complaints from residents when she was District 5 supervisor of how dangerous the corridor was for pedestrians and bicyclists.

 

Breed said at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday:

“This is about bringing the community together for the purposes of creating a road that hopefully will lead to less problems than before.”

Breed added:

“We hope that this will lead to the kinds of results that will make this a safer and better street for all to use throughout San Francisco.”

The Masonic Avenue corridor has been the site of two fatal collisions, including the death of  bicyclist Nils Yannick Linke who was hit by a drunk driver in 2010.

San Francisco Supervisor Vallie Brown speaks during a ceremony on the completion of a streetscape improvement project on Masonic Avenue in Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

Supervisor Vallie Brown, who now represents, recalled the death of Linke and said it renewed calls for The City to do something about the dangerous corridor.

City officials said from 2009 to 2014, there were 113 traffic collisions, 14 of which were pedestrian collisions and 24 bicycle collisions on Masonic from Geary to Fell.

While officials celebrated the new corridor, Brown said she questioned whether or not to celebrate the new corridor when she believed there was still work to be done.

Ultimately, she said supported the project and said projects like the one Masonic will need tweaking when they first debut.

San Francisco’s Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said the Municipal Transportation Agency heard from the community that the corridor was not working for anyone:

“We have taken what essentially a mini freeway… that really was dividing a neighborhood in our city and replace with it with a beautiful, safe, inviting street, that knits together the community.”

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier said the Masonic Corridor was speedway for a number of years:

“For too long it has been a place for cars and not for people.”

Wiedenmeier said that no doubt the new improvements will improve safety along the corridor but said The City’s initial designs are many years old now and said the coalition has some ideas now on continuing to improve Masonic:

“We look forward to working with Supervisor Vallie Brown, the SFMTA and our members to address those problem spots particularly where Masonic approaches Fell.”

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