City unveils protected bike lane, other safety improvements on SoMa’s Second Street

Advocates applaud progress, call for further expansion of network

City officials unveiled a set of street upgrades in the South of Market neighborhood on Thursday, intended to make the highly trafficked area safer for cyclists and pedestrians, improve Muni efficiency and better connect downtown with major transit centers.

The long-awaited $26 million project provided safety improvements on Second Street between Market and King streets, chief among them the completion of a continuous protected bike lane that runs across the eight-block stretch to Oracle Park, as well as changes to street design to protect pedestrians such as raised crosswalks, sidewalk extensions, daylighting of intersections and signal re-timing.

“I know all too well that these pedestrian safety improvements in addition to the protected bike lane go a long way for families, seniors and people with disabilities to be able to cross the street safely and comfortably,” Claire Amable, a community organizer with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition who has lived between the Tenderloin and SoMa her entire life, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

The Second Streets Improvements Project, led by the Department of Public Works with partnership from other city agencies including the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, Planning Department and Public Utilities Commission, does more than just improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

It also included Muni stop bulb-outs to make it easier for people to get on and off buses, 102 new ADA-compliant curb ramps, repaving and a series of much-needed infrastructure upgrades under the pavement such as replacing 150-year-old sewer pipes, repairing water service connections and undergrounding overhead wires.

Mayor London Breed, center, readies to cut the ribbon celebrating the completion of the Second Street Improvement Project on Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Mayor London Breed, center, readies to cut the ribbon celebrating the completion of the Second Street Improvement Project on Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

“Today, Second Street is less dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists and provides a vibrant, inviting streetscape for the residents, businesses and visitors who rely on this vital connector in the heart of San Francisco,” District Six Supervisor Matt Haney said. “The community and our city deserve no less.”

Construction started in November 2017 and continued throughout the stay-at-home order. It was funded by a series of grants as well as SoMa Development Impact fees and local Proposition K sales tax revenues.

Mayor London Breed noted the project also created over 120 construction and electrical trade jobs.

“Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, The City has continued to make progress on important infrastructure projects like these, which will play an important role in our upcoming recovery,” said Breed, who set a goal of adding 20 miles of protected bike lanes citywide in 2019.

Street safety advocates have called for a complete network of protected bike lanes for upwards of a decade.

Amable called progress in SoMa “notable,” but was adamant a great deal of work remains to be done, particularly the completion of a two-way protected bike lane for the length of the Embarcadero.

“People in this community and across San Francisco deserve to feel safe when walking and biking in our city streets,” she said. “We’re looking forward to all of the SoMa quick-builds nearing completion this year and being able to celebrate them with all of you at some point in the near future.”

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