From big dreams to near-term improvements, the Folsom and Howard Open Houses had it all. The SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) held two sessions to look at the future of Folsom and Howard Streets. Undeterred by the rain, plenty of local residents and daily bike commuters turned out to weigh in.
These open houses mark the beginning of public planning for the Folsom and Howard Streetscape Project. This large-scale project will redesign the two major SoMa corridors by 2020 and make them more bike-, transit- and pedestrian-friendly.
The open houses come at a time when street safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The Mayor’s Executive Directive in response to the June 22 fatalities of two people biking, including one on Howard Street, requires the “highest achievable quality” of bicycle infrastructure along the City’s high-injury network. Folsom and Howard are both part of the high-injury network for people riding and walking.
The need for better bicycle infrastructure and safe streets resonated amongst attendants, including long-time SoMa resident and mother Teresa Dulalas. “With all of the new people moving into the neighborhood I worry about the state of the streets, especially for my children who bike here and seniors who walk slowly” said Dulalas.
Different boards around the room presented potential street improvements and the different areas of the focus for the SFMTA. One board highlighted near-term improvements to the streets which will likely include parking-protected bike lanes. Community members provided feedback either to SFMTA staff or through a written survey. Many of the attendants were fellow SF Bicycle Coalition members who shared their thoughts and concerns.
“I want to see protected bike lanes and fewer traffic lanes,” said SF Bicycle Coalition member Katie Brenzo. “I’m a competent rider but I see trucks and cars in the bike lane all the time. It could be a lot safer.”
From these open houses, the message to the SFMTA is clear: People want better bicycle infrastructure and they want it now. Your SF Bicycle Coalition will work towards making this a reality. Join our SoMa Member Committee to be part of the action.