This article was written by Ellie McCutcheon and published in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Bike About Town column.
San Francisco’s southern neighborhoods are the beneficiary of a number of new livable street projects. These include recent redesigns and pilot projects implemented on streets like Cesar Chavez, Bayshore Boulevard and San Jose Avenue, giving residents in the Bayview, Excelsior, Glen Park and Bernal Heights safer, calmer and more comfortable streets.
At the beginning of June, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Caltrans completed a 1 1/2-mile pilot project on San Jose Avenue from the Interstate 280 off-ramp to Randall Street, a relatively flat stretch of road known as the “Bernal Cut.” The project upgraded the previously narrow northbound bicycle lane into a wider, more separated bikeway; it included traffic-calming measures to encourage people in cars to drive the posted speed limit of 35 mph. (A speed study conducted last year by the SFMTA showed that the average speed was closer to 57 mph.)
“I used to avoid riding there because I felt like I was riding in a gutter with 50 mile-an-hour traffic racing by me just a foot away,” says Tom Cantrell, resident and neighborhood association member in the College Hill neighborhood. “Now, having green sharrows, protective barriers and an entire lane instead of half of a lane makes a huge difference.”