Thanks to our members and supporters who have taken such an active roll in the campaign for a safe Polk Street. We’re nearing the finish line on this key Connecting the City campaign. After years of community meetings, neighbor and business outreach and community engagement, the SFMTA is holding their final Open House this Wednesday, March 26 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Tenderloin Elementary School.
If you care about creating a safe, thriving Polk Street, we invite you to join us and show your support for the bike and pedestrian improvements that are desperately needed on this street. Hundreds of people have already spoken up in support of protected bikeways and pedestrian improvements over the years — but it isn’t enough. We need you to get louder about the need for real safety improvements to Polk Street — starting Wednesday night!
Despite huge community support for these safety improvements, the SFMTA and other City leaders continue to water down this crucial safety project, giving in to a vocal minority more concerned with their parking than your safety. The SFMTA will be presenting their Polk Street design, which includes even more watering down of these critical safety improvements. SPEAK UP AND LET THE CITY KNOW THAT WE ALL NEED PROTECTED BIKEWAYS AND PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENTS.
Huge Community Support for Safety Improvements
The community’s desires were first made clear by the SFMTA’s own project survey. Of the 1,703 people who took the survey, no less than half wanted additional bicycle infrastructure, results reinforced by a separate survey conducted by the OEWD’s Invest in Neighborhoods, which identified today’s unsafe environment as the most critical challenge faced by Middle Polk Street.
Those opposing the safety improvements say that adding protected bikeways and widening sidewalks will hurt local businesses. In fact, study after study has shown that businesses along protected bikeways see an increase in business. The SFMTA’s own studies show that the majority of people arriving at Polk Street do so by walking, biking and transit (only 16% arrive by car). And those that bike, walk and take transit spend more at local Polk Street businesses than customers who drive.
Polk Street One of Most Unsafe Streets in the City
The critical need for transformative changes Polk Street is made all the more urgent when the risks – well-known to the SFMTA – of being severely injured or killed on today’s Polk Street are considered. Polk Street south of Sacramento Street is a SFDPH’s Pedestrian High Injury Corridor, placing it in the top 6% most dangerous streets in the city for pedestrians. The situation on Polk Street is even more desperate for people biking. Nearly all of the Polk Street project area will be included in the SFDPH’s forthcoming Cyclist High Injury Corridor list, placing it firmly in the top 4% most dangerous streets for people biking and almost certainly in the top five.
Take Action for a Safer Polk Street
Only these improvements can remove Polk Street from the list of San Francisco’s most dangerous streets and put the SFMTA back on track to fulfilling its primary goal of making transportation safer.
It isn’t too late to achieve a truly safer transportation experience on Polk Street. Instead of further watering down the preferred alternative, we encourage the SFMTA fulfill the desires of the community and to look at their more ambitious and transformative options previously proposed.
Come to SFMTA Open House on Wednesday, March 26, drop in 5:30-7:30 and speak up for these critical safety improvements.