Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Crime & Emergencies
Published on October 18, 2016
Safety Vigilantes' Soft-Hit Posts Removed From Geary, Golden Gate Park"These posts have been removed and replaced with nothing." (Photo: humofthecity/Twitter)

The last time safety vigilante group SF Transformation (a.k.a. SFMTrA) installed soft-hit posts to protect local pedestrians and cyclists, the actual SFMTA decided to let them remain standing. This time, they weren't so lucky. 

Less than a week after they were installed on October 11th, the soft-hit posts that SFMTrA put up without city permission at Crossover Drive near Transverse in Golden Gate Park, and at Geary and Leavenworth on the Tenderloin border, have all been removed.

It's not clear if the removals have also affected the other two soft-hit post installations the group did last week, which are on the Wiggle turn from Scott to Fell, and on Folsom Street near 13th Street in SoMa.

SFMTrA had previously seen success with the posts it installed on the right-hand turn from John F. Kennedy Drive to Kezar Drive in Golden Gate Park, which the city agreed to let remain. It has also been crowdfunding to add soft-hit posts to Market and Gough streets; it's unclear how the removal of these latest additions will affect that.

We're reaching out to both SFMTrA and the SFMTA to learn more, and will update this story accordingly. 

Update, 11:56am: SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose confirms that the agency was responsible for removing the posts. 

They were removed. We don’t encourage these types of installations because, despite their good intentions, the posts or cones could actually pose a risk to people bicycling if they become dislodged. If such a hazard is created, we will remove them.

We tend not to put posts on single stripes along bikeways, as that puts the posts immediately adjacent to motor traffic, making them more likely to get hit and potentially lean into the bikeway. We place posts when we have a wider painted buffer and where there is no parking, because the posts would get hit by people parking and start to lean into the bikeway.

Rose could not confirm whether or not the Scott-Fell and 13th-Folsom posts were also dismantled, but said "they were likely removed." He said there are no plans to replace any of the posts with official city posts for the reasons mentioned above, but that Scott and Fell "has a project slated for construction that includes changes to striping, curbs, signals, and turns."

Update, 3:48pm: Here's what SFMTrA has to say about the removal of their posts: 

The SFMTA is glacially slow to install pedestrian and bicyclist safety infrastructure—yet was able to remove our simple safety improvements within a week. We started this organization because we want to make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. We want the SFMTA to rapidly implement quick, simple improvements and rapidly develop plans for drastic street safety transformations. Instead, the SFMTA focuses on removing pedestrian safety improvements and not only refuses to enforce, but actually supports dangerous practices such as Sunday double-parking.

Also upsetting is the SFMTA’s comment that these posts would fall over and block the path of bicyclists. The Crossover Drive and Geary/Leavenworth installations were pedestrian-focused safety pilots installed on crosswalks, not installations along bike lanes. There are (sadly) no bike lanes within blocks of either of these locations. Numerous road users commented that drivers were moving more slowly and the crossing felt more safe.

San Francisco citizens demand more safety improvements like our Crossover Drive and Geary/Leavenworth pilots from the SFMTA, more quickly. We call on SFMTA to immediately replace these pedestrian safety improvements with protection at or above the level installed by SFMTrA.