An Iconic Neighborhood Greenway
The Wiggle is the flattest route between Duboce Park and the Panhandle, and is a lovely journey through a largely residential part of the city and some neighborhood retail streets. Featuring everything from greenery to Victorians and corner stores, it's a wonderful snapshot of San Francisco that thousands and thousands of people enjoy every day, including people on bicycles. The route sometimes confuses new riders and many still don't feel safe biking due to the high levels of cut-through automobile traffic and too-high speeds. The SF Bicycle Coalition is thrilled to be working with the city and neighborhood groups to ensure the Wiggle becomes an enjoyable and safe corridor for everyone of all ages to walk and bike, and where art and greenery spill onto the sidewalks and street.
The SF Bicycle Coalition has long advocated for bike lanes and separated bikeways on dozens of streets in San Francisco - creating safe, dedicated spaces for the growing number of people who bike on streets like Market Street, Cesar Chavez Street and Fell and Oak Streets. Separated bikeways on routes like these improve safety for all road users and create an inviting space that gets more people feel more comfortable than sharing the road with cars and trucks. In some neighborhoods, dedicated bikeways aren't always practical or possible. Many cities have therefore turned to neighborhood greenways as the answer to improving these corridors for everyone.
On June 11th, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) held a Wiggle Neighborhood Green Corridor Community Open House to help plan for a green infrastructure and traffic calming project in the Wiggle neighborhood. If you missed the open house, be sure to give your feedback by completing the survey by Friday, July 12th. Over the next few months, the SFMTA and SFPUC will analyze the feedback, conduct further public outreach, and draft some conceptual designs that meet their goals of improving storm-water management and making the neighborhood comfortable and safer for all users in the Wiggle neighborhood.
What is a Neighborhood Greenway?
According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, "neighborhood greenways are residential streets with low volumes of auto traffic and low speeds where bicycle and pedestrians are given priority."
Neighborhood greenways create a calmer experience and allow bicycle riders, pedestrians, and even drivers to relax and slow down in an often stressful city. Compared to separated bikeways and bike lanes, neighborhood greenways focus more on sharing the space instead of separating.
Residents and planners pushing for neighborhood greenways usually have the following goals in mind:
Why is the Wiggle an Ideal Candidate for a Neighborhood Greenway?
The Wiggle, perhaps San Francisco's most iconic bicycle route, runs along some of the quieter and bucolic neighborhoods close to downtown, with plenty of green space and people walking and biking. It is an integral part of our Connecting the City's Bay to Beach Route, it is used by thousands of people everyday, many of them on bicycles.
Early last year, the SFMTA installed green sharrows to help increase the visibility of people biking and as a way-finding tool so new riders know how to navigate the route. The SFMTA is also repainting crosswalks with the more-visible "continental" style markings - reinforcing the pedestrian priority and right-of-way.
For years, we have worked with neighbors, merchants and the City to make the Wiggle even better and an upcoming project promises to afford us more opportunities to make the route even friendlier, safer and greener for people biking and walking. In 2011, San Francisco conducted an intense two-day planning and design encounter with Dutch bicycle planning experts called ThinkBike, sparking innovative solutions for better bikeways. A team of Wiggle neighborhood residents, SFMTA staff, SF Bicycle Coalition staff and Dutch planners looked at how to transform the Wiggle and imagine ways to further enhance the quiet residential and local retail character of the route. See our ThinkBike page for the results of that planning exercise.
The SF Bicycle Coalition has taken some of the concepts from the Wiggle and produced a vision of what biking and walking along the Wiggle could look and feel like. This vision includes green bicycle pavement markings, wider sidewalks, more greenery and public, more seating options, less cut-through automobile traffic, and slower speeds so everyone can be safe walking and biking.
To stay up to date on projects to create more safe and comfortable bikeways, become a member today and help support better biking in San Francisco!
For more information, please contact:
Chema Hernández Gil