Bicycles accounted for 75% of the morning roadway traffic on San Francisco’s Market Street for the 16th annual Bike to Work Day organized by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the City of San Francisco. Advocates for bicycling say this record-breaking increase in bicycle ridership is directly related to the newly separated, green Market Street bike lanes and other improvements that are making streets all across the city safer.
“I was thrilled to ride alongside Mayor Newsom and scores of smiling people this morning in the newly separated and green Market Street bike lanes. So many more people are bicycling on Market, because they feel safer in these separated, green bike lanes,” says Renee Rivera, acting Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, a non-profit which promotes bicycling for everyday transportation and organizes Bike to Work Day in San Francisco. “We are thrilled to have Mayor Newsom leading these exciting biking innovations on Market Street, the busiest biking street west of the Mississippi. This is a great first step towards a separated bikeway the length of lower Market Street.”
Bicycling was the transportation choice across the city today as hundreds of thousands of people and a record number of city leaders like Mayor Newsom biked to work. Also bicycling were Supervisors Eric Mar, Carmen Chu, Chris Daly, Bevan Dufty, Sophie Maxwell, David Campos and John Avalos as well as SF MTA Director Nathaniel Ford, SF MTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Director of the Department of Public Works Ed Reiskin, General Manager of Rec + Parks Phil Ginsburg and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting.
These City leaders were joined by bicycle riders and the SF Bicycle Coalition on the steps of City Hall to celebrate brand new bicycle improvements that were added on streets this week, including the new green separated bike lanes on Market Street and five new on-street bike parking corrals on Valencia Street, a vibrant and busy commercial corridor.
Today’s record-breaking bicycling numbers show that one-third more people chose to bicycle on Bike to Work Day this year. Counts were taken by the SF Municipal Transportation Agency at Market St. & Van Ness Ave. (eastbound) from 8am to 9am. These record numbers are expected to again surge in the coming year with dozens of bicycling improvements planned for streets all across San Francisco.
“We are taking hold of an incredible opportunity to transform Market Street into one of the greatest streets in the world,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “San Francisco is an innovator and this newly separated, green bike lane is one example of how we can make Market Street safer and more bike friendly for the tens of thousands of people who use it everyday.”
Everyday bicycle riders share the Mayor Newsom’s enthusiasm for Market Street.
“The new green, separated bike lane has transformed my commute, making it safer and more pleasant,” says Steve Hall, a Marketing Director for an investment firm who rides daily from the Mission District to his office at the Ferry Building. “I would love to see this green, separated bike lane extended the full length of lower Market Street, so I would feel more comfortable bicycling regularly with my 8-year-old son to the Embarcadero.”
San Francisco employers recognize that a complete Market St. bikeway will be good for business and employee health, and key to a vibrant future for our city’s main street.
“We support a fully separated, continuous bikeway on Market Street as a way to improve the safety of our employees that bicycle regularly to our office as well as to meetings at other companies in the area,” says Christopher Sacca, Managing Partner of Lowercase Capital. “I also anticipate that this improvement will encourage more of our employees and the founders of our portfolio companies choosing this healthy form of transportation.”
Market Street is just one of many streets that has improved in the last few months. California’s first colored bike box (an advance stop line for cyclists) was added to Scott Street at Oak on the busy ‘wiggle’ bike route, new bike lanes have been striped on numerous streets and hundreds of new bike parking racks installed all over the city. These additions are making it easier and more inviting for people to choose to bicycle every day.
Bike to Work Day activities continue all day long. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will be hosting afternoon Energizer Stations (5-7pm) with select stations offering bicycle maintenance and an all day bicycle valet parking station at Market and Battery from 8am-6pm; there’s also a mid-day Energizer Station at Market + Battery that’s open until 2pm. The popular Bike Away from Work Party and Fashion Show (6-10pm, Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street) ends the day with dozens of models pedaling the runway in functional finery and hundreds of bicycle riders celebrating a great day.
Bike to Work Day 2010 is presented by Kaiser Permanente, the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the SFMTA, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and hundreds of local volunteers. For more information, visit http://www.sfbike.org.