San Francisco bike advocates urge safety upgrades for Folsom Street after death

Bicyclists heading down Folsom Street on Wednesday morning stopped to sign letters to Mayor Ed Lee asking for The City to improve safety for cyclists in South of Market.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition set up a table at Folsom and Sixth streets where bicyclists were invited to pull over and sign cards addressed to the mayor urging a Folsom Street redesign and other changes.

The letter-writing campaign was sparked by the death of 24-year-old Amelie Le Moullac, the San Francisco woman who was struck and killed by a truck making a right turn as she biked through the intersection Aug. 14.

After the accident, someone attached a large handwritten sign to a traffic-light pole at the intersection reading, “A bicyclist died here. Please ride/drive carefully.”

According to the coalition, Le Moullac was the third bicyclist this year to be killed by a truck in The City.

Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum said she is asking city agencies to find funding to make improvements to Folsom Street and The City's driving culture.

Some of the coalition's ideas include fast-tracking a redesign plan that would make Folsom Street a two-way street with separate bike lanes.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is analyzing two options for making Folsom Street safer: Keeping the street one-way but with fewer lanes for cars or making it a two-way street, agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

The proposed changes are part of a citywide bicycle plan. The changes would still need to undergo an extensive review process before being implemented. That process is expected to take until June 2015, Rose said.

At the earliest, revamping of the street would begin in 2017, he said.

He said the transit agency is looking into implementing some sort of pilot program to boost safety on the street in the meantime.

Shahum said that as a short-term fix, the bicycle coalition has proposed making the bike lanes on Folsom Street more visible, including by painting the pavement green.

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