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Mayor Lee Dies of Heart Attack; London Breed Becomes Acting Mayor

Mayor Lee on a Muni ride. Photo: Mayor’s Office/Twitter

Mayor Edwin Lee died early Tuesday morning of an apparent heart attack. He was 65.

"The SF Bicycle Coalition is shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Mayor Lee. On behalf of our 10,000 members, of whom the Mayor was one himself, we send our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time," wrote Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "We were all stunned and deeply saddened to learn about Mayor Ed Lee’s passing. He was dedicated to making our streets safe and our city more livable," wrote Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director of Walk San Francisco. "Our thoughts are with the Mayor’s family during this incredibly difficult time."

Although Mayor Lee hasn't always been seen as an ally by the safe/livable streets advocacy community, he supported a number of safety efforts in San Francisco. For example, last year he issued an executive directive on safety that resulted in the fastest construction yet of parking-protected bike lanes in the city--on 7th, 8th, and the eastbound side of 13th in SoMa. The directive was in response to the deaths of two cyclists on the same night in separate incidents.

He also pushed for 'rapid response teams' to deal with inter-agency conflicts that were delaying much-needed street improvements. And he was an enthusiastic supporter of Automated Speed Enforcement. "San Francisco became the second city in the nation to adopt Vision Zero, thanks to his leadership," wrote Walk SF's Medeiros.

The Streetsblog staff is shocked and saddened by his sudden death and joins the advocacy community and the City of San Francisco in offering condolences to his family. Transit agencies throughout the Bay Area, including AC Transit, Caltrain, and SamTrans, announced that they would stop at noon today for a minute of silence in honor of Mayor Lee.

"Ed Lee was a kind and decent human being who cared deeply about our city and our community. The Chinese community was so proud to finally have a mayor from the community--something it had waited for for over 150 years," wrote State Senator and former SF Supervisor Scott Wiener. "Ed never got the credit he deserved as arguably the most pro-housing mayor in the history of San Francisco, with a huge amount of affordable housing created or approved under his Administration... Ed was, at heart, a family man, and I’m so sorry for his family’s loss."

According to the city's charter, Supervisor and President of the Board London Breed will now be sworn in as acting mayor.

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