When the separated green bike lanes on Market Street were added just before Bike to Work Day, we started receiving emails and phone calls from people who were overjoyed with how comfortable and safe they felt biking on Market Street. People who never imagined that Market Street could be inviting for biking, were now happily biking on it .
The separated green bikeway, as well as the trial private car diversions at two intersections on Market Street, have led to a big boost in the number of people biking and walking on Market Street and faster transit travel times. Yet, City staff continue to stall on completing the rest of the bikeway from 8th to Valencia Street. Mayor Newsom has much to gain from continuing this tremendous success story. Please e-mail or call him today to tell him why completing the Market Street bikeway — now — is important to you. Your voice is crucial!
The following is a story from one of those happy people we heard from back in May (reposted from our Summer Tube Times newsletter and written by Linda Atkins).
Brook Broughton, for one, is a fan of the Market Street separated bike lanes. Brook, a dancer with the San Francisco Opera, and her husband, David Malizia, an elementary school teacher in San Francisco, are avid bicycle riders. They bike around their neighborhood to visit friends, the playground, and local events, and each year they make a family trip to Angel Island for a couple of days, taking their bikes on the ferry.
Brook also takes their daughter Grace, 6, to school each day by bicycle. They have established a safe route from their home near the north slope of Bernal Heights to Grace’s school in the Mission district, and Brook feels comfortable and at ease making the trip. Typically, Brook and Grace ride their bicycles — “After Bike to School Day, I was really into it,” says Grace — and Brook’s son Xavier, 1, rides in a bike seat attached to the rear of Brook’s bicycle, or, if there are errands to do, in a Burley trailer (an item Brook enthusiastically recommends: “They’re awesome because you can haul kid and groceries”).
Getting to the Heart of the City Farmers Market at the Civic Center on Wednesday mornings was another story. Supporting farmers, saving money, and coming home with fresh local produce? Fantastic! Bicycling in rush-hour traffic with one’s baby? Not so much. “I never felt comfortable bicycling on Market Street with my children,” says Brook.
Brook briefly considered using the sidewalk to get to the Civic Center, but knowing that bicycling on the sidewalk is illegal for adults and feeling it just wasn’t a good or safe idea, she resigned herself to using her car for this weekly trip. “It’s totally a pain because it’s all metered parking and I was running around trying to feed the meter.”
After reading about the recently expanded separated bike lane on Market Street, Brook gave biking to the farmers market another try and was pleasantly surprised. “I immediately felt safer knowing there was a barrier there. You’re much more visible. No one is going to just not see you.”
Two-wheeled shopping can often be easier than the four-wheeled variety. Besides the ample number of places to lock a bike near the vendors’ stalls at the Civic Center, “It’s always more convenient to be on a bike because you’re not dealing with parking, and meters, and paying anything — it’s free,” says Brook. When she takes the car, “I feel like I’m constantly looking at the clock and rushing.” She now plans to bicycle to the farmers market every week.
Brook says she has been very impressed by bicycling improvements in recent years, including the huge increase in ridership. She recalls that when Grace was a baby, she didn’t commonly see other parents cycling with their children, “and now I see them everywhere, all the time. That makes me feel safer, knowing that there are other families doing it.”
She hopes that by the time Grace and Xavier are old enough to bicycle on their own, the city will be even more bike friendly and safe — maybe with the separated bike lane extended all the way down Market Street for cycling to the Embarcadero. “I want these everywhere!”
If you would like to see the Market Street bikeway completed and have this street be truly inviting to people on bicycles of all ages, from parents and children heading to and from daycare to seniors on their way to meet friends for lunch, please email or call Mayor Newsome today to tell him why completing the Market Street bikeway — now — is important to you.