Last weekend, SF Bicycle Coalition members, neighborhood activists and City staff came together to take a bike ride through the “the Hairball,” where Cesar Chavez, Potrero and Bayshore meet underneath Highway 101. We took a critical look at the existing infrastructure and discussed how upcoming bike improvements and other opportunities could make the Hairball a better place to ride.
We welcomed riders of all ages as 30 of us started at Cesar Chavez Street (Point A in the map above) and navigated through the Hairball to Jerrold Avenue (Point B). Crowding onto the narrow sidewalk, the riders listened to staff from the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) discuss new bike lanes that will be added later this year to make entering the Hairball easier and safer for people riding. Currently, people biking have to share a narrow sidewalk with pedestrians to enter the Hairball, but the new bike lanes will open up space on the road for northbound biking.
Heading back through the Hairball, City staff pointed out a few of the new wayfinding signs to help people get around, showing destinations and travel time by bike rather than obscure bike route numbers.
Back at our starting point (Point C), we regrouped to hear staff from the SF Department of Public Works talk through the longer term project to re-grade a particular section of the Hairball (Point D). “The Slide,” as some people call it, is at a very steep grade and is a sudden transition for riders heading under the highway. In the next two years, the path will be widened and flattened out, making for a better path for all users.
Finally, there was time for general questions. While many different issues came up, concerns were raised about the homeless encampments that block the bike path on occasion. We are working closely with the Department of Homelessness and different homeless advocacy organizations to see what might be done to keep the bike paths safe for everyone. Representatives from the City participated in the ride and were able to share their perspectives and experience with the Hairball.
Whatever the solution, it is clear that much work remains to make the Hairball a safe place to ride. Your SF Bicycle Coalition will be working hard with all involved parties to see improvements implemented. Your support as members will be as important as ever, so add your name below to get the latest opportunities to speak up for a better Hairball.