SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Following the death of a bicyclist last week along San Francisco’s Howard Street, the city’s transit agency announced Tuesday immediate changes to the area to improve safety.
On Friday, 30-year-old bicyclist Tess Rothstein died following a collision with a truck on Howard Street at Sixth Street.
The part of Howard Street where Rothstein died did not have a protected bike lane, however a protected bike lane installed in December on Howard begins just a block away.
Officials with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said effective immediately, parking on the north side of Howard Street between Fourth and Sixth streets will be restricted, making more room for bicyclists. Striping and physical barriers will also be added to further enforce the restricted parking.
SFMTA officials will also begin immediately designing a parking-protected bike lane on Howard between Third and Sixth streets, adding to the already existing protected bike lanes on the north side of Howard Street between Sixth and 11th streets.
If approved by the SFMTA board of directors, parking-protected bike lanes between Third and Sixth streets could be permanently installed as early as April.
Furthermore, SFMTA officials said it will look closer at mixing zones, areas of the roadway where vehicles can enter the bike lanes to makes turns, possibly adding green markings, posts and signage.
Howard Street has been identified as a high-injury corridor by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition; having some of the highest concentrations of fatal and severe traffic-related injuries.
According to SFMTA officials, Rothstein’s death is the fourth traffic-related fatality to occur on Howard Street in the past three years.
“Even as we move forward to immediately protect Howard Street, we will continue doing the more comprehensive civil engineering required to address longer-term improvements to this street as quickly as possible,” SFMTA officials said in a statement.
Those improvements include new mid-block crossings, corner bulb-outs, a two-way protected bike lane and protected bike lanes at every intersection.
“Nothing can return the lives lost on our city streets. However, we at SFMTA understand the urgency and share your commitment to making San Francisco’s streets safer,” the agency’s officials said.
The SFMTA’s announcement comes after Mayor London Breed announced earlier last week, before Rothstein’s death, that she was implementing new measures to fast-track traffic safety projects on the city’s high-injury corridors, including expediting safety enhancements and increasing police traffic enforcement.
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