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San Francisco officials Thursday celebrated completion of a more than three-year improvement project in the South of Market neighborhood, but the celebration is a little premature.

When the work really is done, officials say will make it safer to walk and bike in the area, and improve Muni service.

The $26 million Second Street Improvements Project, which stretches from Market to King streets, includes new protected bike lanes along Second Street, a north-south corridor used by many cyclists. The protected lanes are part of a larger bike network in the SoMa neighborhood, though some key network gaps have yet to be closed.

The project also called for raised crosswalks, sidewalk extensions, daylighting at crosswalks, installation of 102 ADA curb ramps, new Muni bus bulb outs, Second Street repaving, replacement of 150-year-old sewer pipes and underground relocation of overhead wiring.

The effort has come a long way since the 2017 groundbreaking, attended then by late Mayor Ed Lee, but “completion” is a stretch in describing the project’s current status.

Department of Public Works Public Information Officer Coma Te said crews are still working to wrap up minor landscaping work. Paint shop crews with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are in the process of installing bikeway “thermal striping and turnpike delineator posts” between Folsom and Brannan streets. That work is expected to be complete by the end of April, Te said. Additionally, a traffic signal at Second and South Park streets is pending activation and will be operational once PG&E completes electrical work in the area.

The Department of Public Works is leading the improvement project in collaboration with the SFMTA.

District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the SoMa neighborhood, said Thursday at a ribbon-cutting press conference, that Second Street is a corridor used by many San Francisco Giants fans who either walk or bike to games at Oracle Park.

Haney said:

“We are going to have safe ways for people to get to the game to be able to walk, safer, to be able to bike safer, to be able to experience a street that really actualizes the potential of what our neighborhoods and our streets should look like.”

Claire Amable, a community organizer with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who has lived in both the Tenderloin and SoMa, said:

“I know all too well that these pedestrian safety improvements, in addition to the protected bike lane, go a long way for families, for seniors, and for people with disabilities to be able to cross the street safely and comfortably.”

While The City continues on its path to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and people return to the downtown area, Mayor London Breed stressed the importance of having these safety measures in place. Employees are now allowed to return to non-essential offices in limited capacity with The City’s Tuesday move into the state’s orange tier.

San Francisco Department of Public Works Second Street Improvements Project illustration as presented by San Francisco Department of Public Works in November 2017.

The mayor said:

“I think that when people come back they’re going to feel good about a lot of these changes that will make a real difference in people’s lives and how they move around The City.”

SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said the agency has been hard at work through the pandemic to make these pedestrian and bike safety improvements throughout the SoMa neighborhood:

“We’ve worked not just here on Second Street, but on Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Howard, Folsom, Brannan, Townsend and Embarcadero, in order to make this neighborhood from a car- and truck-dominated thoroughfare to one of the most walkable and bikeable neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Tumlin added:

“Our work is not done.”

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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