Apr 18, 2023 - News

Activists push for protected bike lanes on Arguello

A bicyclist cruises down Market Street in a bike lane in 2010. Photo: Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Community activists are calling on the city to install protected bike lanes on Arguello Boulevard.

Why it matters: Ethan Boyes, a 10-time national cycling champion, died after a driver struck him while he was riding his bike on Arguello this month.

  • Boyes' death has reignited calls for protected bike lanes on Arguello and better bike infrastructure throughout the city.

Driving the news: Community group Protected Arguello plans to rally Tuesday at 9am outside of City Hall to demand the immediate installation of protected bike lanes on Arguello.

  • The group is pushing for the city and the Presidio Trust, which manages part of Arguello in the Presidio, to install a protected bike route on Arguello from Fulton Avenue through the Presidio.
  • Of note: Arguello between Geary Boulevard and Pacific Avenue is part of the city's high-injury network, which is determined by a combination of severe and fatal injury data.

What they're saying: "What we know from around the world is curbside protected bike lanes, as far as on-street bike lanes go, are the safest bike lanes that exist," Luke Bornheimer, an organizer with Protected Arguello, told Axios. "They also make people feel the safest."

  • Bornheimer and fellow activists are pushing for concrete-protected bike lanes but would settle for plastic materials in the interim, he said.

The big picture: San Francisco residents take about 128,000 bicycle trips a day, with 16% of residents identifying as "frequent cyclists" who bike two or more days a week, according to city estimates.

  • The city has more than 43 miles of protected bike lanes, adding the first protected bike lane in the Financial District in December.

Yes, but: From January 2018 through December 2022, there were 2,433 injury-inducing collisions and nine fatal accidents involving cyclists here, according to city data hub TransBASE.

  • In 2014, San Francisco committed to eliminating traffic-related deaths by 2024 as part of its "Vision Zero" plan.

Between the lines: The effort to install protected bike lanes on Arguello dates at least as far back as 2015, Bornheimer said.

  • Last November, the efforts were renewed after a driver struck and critically injured a 16-year-old riding a bike on Arguello.

Details: It's up to the SFMTA's board of directors to approve the plan for protected bike lanes on much of Arguello.

  • Bornheimer hopes to start by convincing Catherine Stefani and Connie Chan, the two city supervisors whose districts include Arguello, to advocate for the lanes.

Chan said in a statement she is "urging SFMTA to explore the possibility of protective bike lanes" while Stefani previously told the San Francisco Chronicle the corridor "needs to be made safer for all those who use it."

Meanwhile, the Presidio Trust says it "has worked diligently to improve safety and expand routes for cyclists and pedestrians," Lisa Petrie, a Presidio Trust spokesperson, told Axios via email.

  • The Presidio Trust, Petrie added, is reviewing the Arguello corridor β€œto explore whether there are opportunities to improve bike safety in that area.”
  • The SFMTA was unable to meet Axios' deadline for comment.
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