Innovations for Better Biking
Physically Separated Bike Lanes
What Are They?
Physically separated bike lanes offer increased protection of people on bikes, by offering designated space on the road for those on two wheels through a physical barrier. Cities around the world and the US are installing these kinds of facilities to increase safety. In a survey to San Francisco Bicycle Coalition members in 2010, 9 out of 10 respondents said they feel safer when traveling in the bike lanes on Market St that are separated from motor vehicles, and these kinds of bike lanes have been proven to encourage more people to ride bikes.
In 2010, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is leading the charge to install physically-separated bike lanes on many streets in San Francisco:
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has been working with the City to continually improve biking conditions on Market St. Earlier this spring, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition celebrated the installation of the City's first physically separated bike lanes on Market St. between Octavia and 8th St. Using simple and inexpensive materials, the bike lanes are now protected from motor vehicles on many segments of this stretch. Building on the success and overwhelming support of these new separated bike lanes, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is working towards realizing a fully separated bikeway all the way from Octavia to the Embarcadero. We are calling it a bikeway, because the number of people on bikes on Market St. (often more numerous than cars!) warrants a wide and gracious path, while still providing ample space for frequent transit, and beautiful and inviting sidewalks. See our Market St. page for more details.
JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park
The SFBC is working towards realizing a fully separated bi-directional bike path on the eastern end of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. Imagine a path like the one in the Panhandle, but on-street, wider, and exclusively for people on bikes, separated from motor vehicles with greenery. We are working with the MTA to finalize details of this project, which would provide a comfortable place to bike for commuters, weekend joy-riders, and tourists alike.
San Jose Avenue
San Jose Avenue is a vital bicycling corridor connecting the central neighborhoods and downtown with the Southwest part of the City. Many people feel unsafe biking on this route, however, due to the fast- moving vehicles the next lane over. In order to make this route safer and more appealing to the average rider, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is recommending installing white soft-hit posts (like those used to separate the bike lane on Market St.) to buffer the bike lane from other modes of traffic. This simple and inexpensive treatment along with other techniques to slow down automobile traffic will dramatically improve bicycling in this corridor.
The design of physically-separated bike lanes is often most difficult at intersections. Townsend St. between 7th and 4th Streets has few intersections on the south side, making it an ideal candidate for a physically separated bike lane. The SFBC is promoting a design that would include a 2-way separated bike path on the south side of Townsend St, providing a safe and comfortable connection to Caltrain. Using primarily paint and soft-hit posts, the City could install this separated bike lane shortly after the injunction is lifted, likely in the Summer of 2010.Kent Ave in Brooklyn, a model for Townsend St.?
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is pushing for significant improvements to bicycling along the Embarcadero. The on-street bike lanes are often blocked by illegally double-parked vehicles and run beside fast moving traffic. The Promenade area is often crowded with people strolling and enjoying the views. Carrie Nielsen, 2009 Piero N. Patri Fellow, at SPUR has put forth a proposal for the EmBIKEadero, an excellent waterfront bikeway from Mission Bay to North Point, separated from motor traffic, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is working towards realizing this kind of attractive path for cyclists.