SAN FRANCISCO—Safety improvements are planned for Howard Street, after Tess Rothstein, 30, of Berkeley was struck and killed by a truck driver while on her bicycle on Friday, March 8.
“Our rapid response crews analyzed the site and we are implementing their recommendations immediately,” said Paul Rose, a spokesperson for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages the city’s streets.
Rothstein, an Airbnb employee, was struck and killed around 8:30 a.m. on Howard Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets. She was riding along one of the city’s most dangerous corridors, one block from a “protected” stretch where bicyclists are surrounded by a lane of parked cars. She was less than 100 feet from a protected bike lane. Her death is the city’s first cyclist death of 2019. It has prompted action for more protected bike lanes.
“This is yet another example of why our streets need to be safer for all users,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed in a statement. “There are long-term safety improvements coming to Howard Street, and I am pushing to move those forward as fast as possible. But while we wait for these capital improvements, we need to make short-term safety enhancements, which I have instructed SFMTA to do without delay.”
After work started, Breed tweeted Tuesday, March 12, “These immediate improvements on Howard from 3rd to 6th are a good step but there’s more work to be done on the rest of the corridor and throughout the city. It shouldn’t take the loss of life to inspire action. We need improvements and we need them now.”
The SFMTA indicated on their website that San Francisco’s Vision Zero commitment to ending traffic fatalities demands a data-driven approach to transportation safety. More comprehensive civil engineering will be addressed for long-term improvements to Howard Street, which include new mid-block crossings, corner bulb-outs, a two-way protected bike lane, and protected bike signals at every intersection.
San Francisco Board of Supervisor Matt Haney tweeted on March 8 “There should be a protected bike lane between 4th & 6th on Howard put in immediately, and an acceleration of the bike lane on all of Howard. I spoke with MTA and Bike Coalition today, I believe it will happen. It should have happened already. Today’s tragic death was preventable.”
Written By Hilary Dorsey and Donald Roberts