This afternoon, Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced an exciting finding: the number of people biking in San Francisco has risen an impressive 71% in the last five years, according to the just-released 2011 San Francisco Bicycle Count Report.
“These counts back up what is apparent on our streets everyday — that San Franciscans love bicycling, and that bicycling has never been more popular in our city,” said Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, a 12,000-member nonprofit that promotes the bicycle for everyday transportation.
“Whether people are biking to work, to school or just to have fun, these latest bicycle counts demonstrate that San Francisco is a national leader in bicycle ridership,” said Mayor Lee. “We are using innovative strategies such as bike sharing, and installing sharrows, dedicated bike lanes and bike boxes, to make sure that our road network is safe and convenient.”
Each year the SFMTA conducts a citywide manual bicycle count to measure bicycle ridership trends. This year’s findings were impressive: at each of the 23 count stations, the numbers increased—often dramatically.
Fell and Scott Streets also showed one of the highest growths: 108% increase of ridership in the last five years. The automatic bike counter at this intersection shows an average of 15,000 bike trips per week year-round.
“This huge increase in the number of people bicycling on Fell Street is a clear indication of the need and desire for better conditions on this critical bicycling connection between our neighborhoods,” says Shahum. “These new counts support the urgent calls – more than 200 letters sent already — for physically separated bikeways on Fell and Oak Streets between the three blocks of Scott & Baker Streets. This much-needed safety improvement cannot wait.”
Market Street—with its green, protected bikeways completed in 2011—showed the greatest growth of ridership: 115% increase from 2006, and a massive 43% increase since last year alone.
Townsend Street, a bike lane that was striped this year, and connects bike riders to Caltrain and booming business districts in SOMA, the waterfront and downtown, also showed dramatic numbers: a 54% increase since just last year.
Page and Scott, along the popular Wiggle bike route, also had staggering counts. The number of people biking through this intersection increased 53% since 2010, and an incredible 180% since 2006.
The Bicycle Count Report isn’t the only great news for San Francisco biking this year. In the last year alone, more than 17 miles of bike lanes have been striped, including 2.5 miles of buffered bikeways, and 15 bicycle corrals were added to city streets, making it easier and safer for people of all ages to bike on our city streets.
Carlina Hansen, Executive Director of the Women’s Community Clinic, said the bike corral has made a positive impact on her business. “The bike corral gives us greater capacity to provide a safe place for everyone to park their bikes when they come to the Clinic. Most importantly, it encourages staff, volunteers and clients to ride to work.”
“These significant increases prove that a relatively small investment of resources in better biking pays off hugely in making our city more accessible, affordable, healthier and cleaner,” says the SF Bicycle Coalition’s Shahum. “More people bicycling is a win for all San Franciscans. Now we look forward to helping the City reach its goal of 20% of trips by bicycle by 2020.”
To reach that goal, the SF Bicycle Coalition has put forward a vision for Connecting the City with a 100-mile network of inviting, family-friendly bikeways connecting neighborhoods, commercial corridors and transit centers. Find out more at connectingthecity.org.
The Executive Summary of the Bicycle Count Report says it best: “One thing is certain, more and more San Franciscans are riding bicycles every year.”