In news that will come as a surprise to many, officials with the SFMTA will not order the immediate removal of the semi-permanent safety posts installed by the safety activist group SFMTrA. Instead, the city will leave them in place until workers can replace them with official city posts. Installed early last week on JFK and Kezar Drive, the posts serve to separate a popular bike lane from fast moving traffic, and are what many see as a long overdue effort to increase pedestrian and cycling safety on the edge of a park that recently played host to tragedy.
SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose informed SFist that his agency will not pull the posts down after all, and explained that his earlier statement taken to mean the contrary was actually in reference to the cones that SFMTrA places around the city. "Previously, we have not placed safe hit posts at this location because the lane wasn’t large enough for the street sweeper to go through without destroying the safe hit posts," he explained via email. "The city is now moving towards smaller street sweepers, which will allow us to install more posts across the city, including this location on JFK."
"At this specific location," he continued, referencing the stretch of road pictured above, "we plan to leave the SFMTrA posts in place until we can install our own."
When asked if this is a one-time allowance, or if it suggests a shift in policy toward the actions of SFMTrA, Rose was quick to clarify. "Generally, we have no choice but to remove cones and posts that do not go through an official process," he wrote. "In the case of JFK, our hope has been to install our own safe hit posts, pending a final review process, so we plan to leave them in until we can replace them."
We reached out to SFMTrA about Rose's comments, and a spokesperson for the group told us that while the organization appreciates that the city will leave the posts up until they can be replaced with something more permanent, SFMTrA has no plans of slowing down.
"We're excited to hear that news," the anonymous spokesperson told SFist by phone. "We think this should have been done years ago, and we're not sure why it took the SFMTA so long to realize that this is a really easy fix. And, we're excited for them to do more of this and to quickly identify more locations for quick fixes."
"At the same time," he continued, "we realize that quick fixes are only a tiny step. So we are exited for SFMTA to continue working on full street transformation and to continue fast tracking real protected bike lanes across the city — especially on key corridors like Valencia Street."
He went on to note the importance of larger infrastructure projects well beyond his group's ability to directly impact, such as along Polk, Masonic, and 2nd Street.
And while yes, that the JFK and Kezar Drive posts will become a permanent fixture of our city streets is only a "tiny step" toward the group's safety goal, it's a step the SFMTrA brought about with only some $27 dollar posts and butyl pads.