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Howard Street bike lanes receive safety upgrade

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Jane Kim, center, cuts the ribbon to a new parking protected bikeway in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, January 7, 2019.

On her final day in office as San Francisco District 6 supervisor Monday morning, Jane Kim rode up on her pink bike at Howard and Russ streets to celebrate the completion of a bike safety project.

Kim cut the ribbon to a completed parking protected bikeway that will run through Howard Street between Sixth and 11th streets in the South of Market area in an effort to improve bike safety and meet The City’s Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2024.

Over the last eight years as supervisor Kim has been a staunch supporter of bike and pedestrian safety, especially on Howard and Folsom streets, which are listed on The City’s high injury network. She first called for a hearing on pedestrian safety when she took office.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reports that 308 people were injured and three people were killed on Howard and Folsom streets over the last five years.

Kim said:

“As a fledgling cyclist I know that people are not going to get on their bikes unless they feel safe cycling through our city. One of the most important ways we can do that is by having a protected bikeway infrastructure.”

District 6 has seen 18.6 miles of bikeways installed or upgraded while Kim was in office — the most installed in any district.

SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said of Kim:

“During those eight years, there’s been no stronger and consistent champion for Vision Zero in The City than Supervisor Kim.”

Howard Street has seen a number of high-profiled fatalities including the death of cyclist Katherine Slattery in 2016, who was hit by a vehicle at Seventh and Howard streets.

Angelica Cabande, organizational director of South of Market Community Action Network, said kids walk around the neighborhood and that South of Market is home to Bessie Carmichael Elementary School near Interstate 80 entrance and exit ramps:

“The South of Market is a neighborhood full of children, youth and seniors, but to many, it is the entrance and exit to five major freeways.”

The SFMTA last April installed a mid-block pedestrian signal at Howard and Russ streets on Walk to Work Day.

Will Ramirez with United Playaz, which has its office just off of Russ Street, said the installation of the new pedestrian signal was important, as youth come in out of office:

“If these lights weren’t here, I think the statistics of casualties would been a lot of higher.”

The new Howard Street parking-protected bikeway is part of the larger Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project to improve pedestrian and bike safety on Howard Street from Third to 11th streets, and on Folsom from Second to 11th streets.

The SFMTA expects to complete the long-term improvements of the project by 2022.

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