Tomorrow, May 2, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Supervisor Jane Kim, the San Francisco Public Works and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will kick off Bike Month with the opening of the beautiful new Polk Street contraflow bikeway.
Media and public are invited to join the ribbon-cutting and participate in the inaugural ride on this gorgeous new bikeway. Those who do not have their own bikes can easily borrow a bike from the Bay Area Bike Share pod next to event. The ribbon-cutting, press conference and group ride will begin at 11:00 am at Fox Plaza, on the corner of Market and Polk Streets.
Like Fell and Oak Streets and parts of Market Street, this new bikeway is physically protected, offering a barrier between people biking and driving. But the Polk bikeway stands apart from the rest in its design that integrates landscaping with succulents and rocks, beautifying the street as it also creates a safer and more comfortable bike ride for thousands of people who will use it daily. The project includes a new bike box and bike light to enter the bikeway, as well as a new green bikeway in front of City Hall. It is called a contraflow bikeway because people on bike travel the opposite direction of car traffic on this one-way street.
“The new Polk contraflow bikeway is a hallmark of complete streets that prioritizes comfort, connectivity and design. Though only a few blocks, this gorgeous bikeway offers a crucial connector between the business corridors of Market and Polk Streets, making it easier for people to get to work and shop at local businesses by bike,” said Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
The Polk contraflow bikeway offers a key connector between two of San Francisco’s busiest bikeways, Market and Polk Streets. According to the SFMTA’s 2013 Bicycle Count Report, Market Street has an average of 6,000 bike trips per day. Polk Street, a key North-South bikeway has seen a 38% increase in ridership since 2007. The Polk Street bikeway fills in a gap in the network.
“Our office has been advocating for this protected contralane and cycletrack since I took office in 2011. As a beginning cyclist, I directly feel the importance of having a safe path of travel between the South of Market and Civic Center neighborhoods. This safety improvement brings us one step closer to realizing our Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities within the next ten years. I’m excited to bike the fresh green on Bike To Work Day!”
– Supervisor Jane Kim, District 6
“We are pleased to expand our bike network to make getting to key city locations, like Civic Center, easier and safer. With more people getting on their bikes, the SFMTA is committed to providing safer and more direct bicycling connections throughout San Francisco. Potential transportation funding measures on the November 2014 ballot will empower us to deliver even more projects like these, building up to 30 miles of safer, better-defined bikeways that protect all road users.”
– Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation
Before the contra-flow bikeway was added, bicyclists either had to ride on the dangerous, high-speed corridor of Van Ness Avenue or Larkin Street. Some riders rode on the sidewalk or against Polk Street traffic, both illegal, to avoid the other unsafe options. The new Polk contraflow bikeway offers a safer connection for people biking, opens up sidewalk for pedestrians and disabled, and creates more predictability by all road users.
“Until now, the only way to bike from SoMa toward my job on upper Polk Street was roundabout and dangerous. I’m thrilled that now I can take a safe and direct route across Market Street to Polk. The rest of Polk Street is crying out for bike lanes like this one. I hope the city moves quickly to extend this all the way up the hill,” said Shannon Dodge, mother who bikes with her 3-year-old son and will use the new Polk contraflow bikeway.
Polk Street ribbon-cutting will be the starting point for a bicycling tour of the city’s streetscape projects. Led by San Francisco Public Works, the tour will show pedaling participants bike improvements on the Valencia, McCoppin, Cesar Chavez and Folsom corridors. The Public Works Week event is a great way to check out some of the transformative work taking place throughout San Francisco. More information can be found atwww.sfdpw.org/pww.
The Polk Street contraflow bikeway project is a joint project of San Francisco Public Works and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and funded through the 2011 Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond Program, a $248 million voter-approved general obligation bond.
“With the generosity of city voters, we making the streets safer and smoother for all users,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru.