As we wrote about in our Tube Times Cover Story this Fall, the SF Bicycle Coalition is working to pilot separated bikeways and innovate street designs in the coming months. We got to witness the power of pilots this last weekend when the city tested some ideas for better biking and walking to some of the huge events in San Francisco this last weekend. A huge kudos goes to the SFMTA and Mayor’s Office for their hard work in getting these ideas off the ground. Here’s what we saw:
The SFMTA put out new wayfinding and directional signs along many San Francisco streets to point people towards the Marina Green where many of the weekend’s activities took place. These new signs show the distance and approximate travel time for people on bikes. Did you spot any of these over the weekend? We’d love to see these adapted for use all over San Francisco’s bike network, pointing the way to key destinations, neighborhoods and commercial corridors across the city.
As soon as the America’s Cup events were announced last year, the SF Bicycle Coalition has focused our efforts to improve biking and walking along the Embarcadero and other streets leading to the Marina Green. Thanks to the SFMTA for delivering an improved access route to the event along the Embacadero and Bay Street.
The separated bikeway on the Embarcadero started at Washington Street and continued up to Bay Street. Based on our observations, the extra space was heavily used and necessary for getting the throngs of people biking and walking to Marina Green. More inviting space for people biking on the street on the Embarcadero freed up space for pedestrians on the Promenade – an idea the SF Bicycle Coalition is pursuing on a permanent basis.
Near Pier 30-32, a narrowed Promenade on the Embarcadero meant people spilled onto the street, and the lack of a protected bikeway meant a tight squeeze for bike traffic coming from Southeast neighborhoods and CalTrain. We are working with the city to extend the temporary bikeway south to the CalTrain station for future events.
While the temporary bikeway was only meant to function for north-bound travelers, many did traverse in the southbound direction. The city could add temporary traffic signals and/or Parking Control Officers (PCOs) to manage two-way bike traffic along the route and at intersections and we’re hopeful that future pilots will test those ideas.
Simple steel barriers were used for this pilot – similar to those the city uses for parades and other events. While these barricades are functional, the SF Bicycle Coalition is working with designers and city staff on developing new ideas for barriers that enhance the public space by including art, greenery, seating or simply look prettier than what the city currently has on hand.
The arrival of two cruise ships on the Embarcadero at North Point required bike traffic to travel on Bay Street towards Mason. The SFMTA made a great effort to organize this tricky intersection with some pavement markings and PCOs, though people in all modes of transportation slowed down and massed near that intersection.
Bay Street was surprisingly quiet. The SFMTA restricted curbside parking temporarily to allow space for people biking.
The SF Bicycle Coalition provided free valet bike parking near Aquatic Park and Marina Green, and with promotion of the service through SFMTA, SF Bicycle Coalition and 511.org media channels, they were well used.
SFMTA staff was present throughout the weekend measuring the impact of this pilot through counts and other observations – we’ll report back when we learn more.
We want to thank the SFMTA and Mayor’s Office for piloting improvements to walking and biking on the Embarcadero – it’s a step in the right direction for accommodating the growing numbers of people biking and walking and testing ideas that can inform more permanent redesigns. The SF Bicycle Coalition is working to bring more pilots to the Embarcadero and other streets in San Francisco.