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Grimly late Howard Street bike upgrades finally arrive

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is taking steps to improve safety for bicyclists on Howard Street following the death of 30-year-old Tess Rothstein last Friday.

Transit officials said Tuesday that they will restrict parking on the north side of Howard Street between Fourth and Sixth streets effective immediately as a temporary measure until the transit agency installs the permanent safety measure.

Additionally, the transit agency will paint striping along the area and place physical barriers to reinforce the no parking restrictions.

The permanent solution to keep cyclists safe is to install a protected bike lane, transit officials said.

Transit planners are drawing up plans to install a parking protected bikeway similar to the one already installed on Howard Street from Sixth to 11th streets. SFMTA officials and former Supervisor Jane Kim cut the ribbon of the new protected bikeway in January.

The transit agency said they can have the parking protected bikeway installed from Third to Sixth streets as early as April.

Riding a Ford GoBike, Rothstein died between Fifth and Sixth streets on Howard Street before approaching the parking protected bikeway. Reports of her death from media outlets said that before the truck hit and killed Rothstein, she was trying to avoid a driver who had opened their car door.

Additionally, the SFMTA said they will improve signage, posts and green markings on the existing parking protected bikeway on Howard Street.

Days before Rothstein’s death, Breed ordered the SFMTA to expedite near-term safety improvements on high injury corridors and ordered the Police Department to ramp up traffic enforcement.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is urging the SFMTA and Mayor London Breed to install a full-length parking protected bikeway not only on westbound on Howard Street, but also eastbound on Folsom Street, parallel and one block south of Howard.

They also want city officials to fast track and streamline the approval process for more protected bike lanes throughout The City.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said that there will be a motion to make the bike safety improvements on Howard Street from third to Sixth streets at the transit agency’s Board of Directors next Tuesday.

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