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Bicyclists who ride down 5th Street, one of the most dangerous corridors in the South of Market neighborhood, will soon get a little extra protection in the form of safer bike lanes and less vehicle traffic.

Transit officials voted Tuesday to approve the $1.9 million project that includes installation of parking-protected bike lanes up 5th Street from Market to Townsend streets in both directions and reduction of traffic lanes from four to three.

Ching Wong/SFBay Protesters raise hands to demand safe bike lanes during a rally at City Hall in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (Ching Wong/SFBay)

In addition, the project aims to improve pedestrian safety in general with upgraded crosswalks, a raised crosswalk at Minna and 5th streets, transit boarding islands for Muni’s 27-Bryant bus line, signal timing changes and painted safety zones.

SFMTA officials said the entire area of 5th Street from Market to Townsend streets is part of The City’s Vision Zero High-Injury Network, where only 13 percent of The City’s streets account for three-quarters of its serious or fatal traffic collisions. 

Between 2011 to 2017, a total of 351 collisions were reported on 5th Street, 320 of which involving injuries. Of the total collisions, the SFMTA reports 65 involved bicyclists and 101 collisions involved pedestrians.

Viktoriya Wise, the SFMTA’s acting director of sustainable streets, said the project will strengthen the bicycle network in the SoMa neighborhood. Wise said:

“It’s going to close some of gaps that we have in our bicycle network. It’s going to connect to Mission Bay, Caltrain, some of the ongoing projects we have going on — recent projects and forthcoming on Howard, Folsom, on Townsend.”

Ching Wong/SFBay Protesters raise hands to demand safe bike lanes during a rally at City Hall in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (Ching Wong/SFBay)

Courtney McDonald, a legislative aide for District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney, said:

“This project will be very transformative for the neighborhood and we’re really eager to see, in particular, the gaps in our protected bike lane network be closed in SoMa.”

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