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San Francisco to Get 20 New Miles of Protected Bike Lanes, Mayor Says on Bike to Work Day

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Bicyclists ride along Market Street on May 9, 2013, in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As cyclists in the Bay Area celebrated Bike to Work Day on Thursday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the city would build 20 miles of new protected bike lanes and would step up traffic citations to help keep the roads safe for bicyclists.

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The city will create the new bike lanes over the next two years. In 2017-2018, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) built protected bike lanes at a pace of a little more than 5 miles a year; that pace would be doubled under Breed’s plan, her office said in a statement.

“Since 2006, bicycling in San Francisco has almost tripled. As our city continues to grow, we know we need more protected bike lanes, not only to keep people safe, but also to encourage more people to bike in the city and reduce congestion,” Breed said in a statement.

In 2017, 19,000 city residents commuted to work by bike, according to SFMTA data.

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Cycling enthusiasts cheered Breed’s plan. “No better way to celebrate #btwd (bike to work day),” the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition wrote on Twitter.

The coalition had been urging the city to speed up construction of protected lanes, which are barriers between where cars park and bikers ride. The barriers could be made of concrete or even be planters, said Brian Wiedenmeier, the coalition’s executive director.

“Paint and posts don't cut it anymore. If somebody can park somewhere, they will,” he said Wednesday.

“What we're focused on is physically protected and separated bike lanes throughout our city,” he added, noting that cyclist Tess Rothstein was fatally struck by a truck after dodging the open door of a parked car while traveling in an unprotected lane on Howard Street in March.

Breed also asked the SFMTA to increase traffic citations for blocked bike lanes by 10% over the next six months — starting immediately — to help keep them clear. In the last half of 2018, the agency said it issued 27,000 citations for infractions related to blocking bike lanes.

“Mayor Breed had been absolutely clear with us: She's expecting us to get safe streets built fast. We're trying to rise to that challenge,” said Tom Maguire, SFMTA's sustainable streets director.

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