With Safety Issues Yet To Be Addressed, Cyclists Continue To Wipe Out On 17th Street

Photo: Shane Downing/Hoodline
By Shane Downing - Published on February 04, 2017.

Last July, we reported on the dangers posed to cyclists navigating 17th Street's Muni tracks. But six months later, nothing has changed. Just yesterday, another cyclist crashed on the tracks.

Take a look:

"Another day, another SFMTA-caused bike wreck," said neighbor John Entwhistle.

In October, SFMTA spokesperson Ben Jose told Hoodline that he hoped the agency would be able to “share ... proposed designs with the broader community this fall."

Since that story was published, we’ve been in regular communication with SFMTA to find out when such a meeting would take place.

On January 3rd, Jose connected us with Neal Patel, who does community outreach for SFMTA. On January 20th, Patel wrote us saying that SFMTA has been developing proposals to improve safety on 17th Street (particularly between Church and Sanchez streets), and that the agency was planning to hold two outreach events on the week of February 6th to share ideas and hear from the community.

This video, from last year, shows a cyclist with her children on her bike falling on the tracks while navigating around a double-parked car.

Monday’s meeting was intended to be from 4-6pm near the intersection of 17th and Church streets, and Patel said that he hoped the agency would be able to engage with people as they passed by. That was meant to be followed by a second meeting on Wednesday, to discuss safety issues, draft proposals, and potential solutions with community members.

Patel wrote that SFMTA staff would hand-deliver notices to 17th Street residents announcing the upcoming meetings. But on January 23rd, Patel wrote that the venue for the community meeting “fell through,” and that he was waiting on confirmation for another location. 

However, just yesterday, Hoodline was told by SFMTA that next week’s meetings would not be happening. Patel wrote that the agency hopes “to have a meeting very soon."

John Entwistle, who lives on the block and has been championing the safety issue since last year, captured both of the above videos from a security camera attached to his 17th Street home.

He told us that although the rate of cyclists falling down on the tracks ebbs and flows, he's seen a spike in crashes in the past two weeks.

As much as Entwistle sees the Muni tracks, inadequate signage, and narrow street as contributing factors, he noted that double-parked cars and speeding vehicles pose a particular threat to cyclists navigating the 17th Street corridor.

Double-parked vehicles are apparent in both of Entwistle's videos.

"The average speed of cars going down that stretch of road is 27 mph," Entwistle told us. "The posted speed around the school says 'reduce to 15 mph.'"

If you're a cyclist, pedestrian, or resident concerned about the dangers posed by the 17th Street tracks, you can contact the SFMTA using these options.

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