Published in SF Chronicle, August 22, 2012
Three neighborhoods in southeast San Francisco – Bayview, Hunters Point and the Dogpatch – have been bursting with new bike lanes in the past six months, opening up great new rides for anyone looking to explore more of the city on two wheels.
Among the two biggest improvements linking these neighborhoods are the buffered bike lanes – those with a large painted buffer along eastern Cesar Chavez Street and the bikeway on Cargo Way protected by fencing.
The lanes allow riders to explore some of the best waterfront parks and viewing areas in the city. And, because most tourists congregate along the north end of the city’s waterfront, riders might have these spots all to themselves. Explore the lanes individually, or link them together for a longer waterfront ride.
The new bikeway on Cesar Chavez between Highway 101 and Interstate 280 has made riding easier for San Franciscans since it started taking shape a few months ago. It has also made it easier to get to some of the great, and often underutilized, waterfront parks.
The new Cesar Chavez bike lane links to Warm Water Cove Park off of Illinois Street, which also has a new bike lane. Take the Cesar Chavez bike lane to Illinois Street, turn left on Illinois and right on 24th Street, and you’ll find yourself at this small park. Join the local fishermen in admiring the views from the industrial spot.
Want to keep exploring? There are a few pocket parks and viewing areas along Islais Creek, just south of Cesar Chavez, and along Illinois Street. The Oracle team keeps their boats here, and you may catch a glimpse of them preparing for the upcoming America’s Cup races.
The new separated bikeway on Cargo Way opens up a few great waterfront parks for people on bikes. You can get to Cargo Way from Third Street or Illinois Street, much of the ride affording great water views.
Pedal your way south to Cargo Way and take the new two-way separated bikeway all the way to Heron’s Head Park. This 24-acre park is a great spot for bird watching; there are more than 100 different types of birds that call this small southern park home. Swing by the EcoCenter for environmental education and community activities.
Keep pedaling south on Jennings Street/Middle Point Road, turn left on Innes Avenue and left onto Hunters Point Boulevard to reach another great spot: India Basin Shoreline Park. This 11-acre park is along the Bay Trail and is the only designated natural area on the bay in San Francisco. Like Heron’s Head, this is a great spot for bird watching.
Want to see even more waterfront by bike? Pedal north along Illinois Street to connect to the majestic Bay Trail. You can ride that great greenway (or is it a blue way?) all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf and take in incredible bay views the whole way.
For more information about the new bike lanes in the city, go to www.sfbike.org/link.