Boarding Islands: A Solution for Bikes and Buses

A great transit system is good for everyone in a city, including people riding bikes. Healthy transit gives people riding the option of multi-modal travel and reduces congestion. Your SF Bicycle Coalition wholly supports smart transit infrastructure that increases accessibility and reliability. Figuring out how that infrastructure can be mutually beneficial for all modes can be a challenge, but one that is crucial to a top-notch transportation system.

When different modes of transportation intersect, there are often infrastructure tradeoffs for either mode. In the case of bikes and buses, however, there are solutions that avoid compromise and are advantageous to all users. Enter the transit boarding island.

A new transit boarding island on Bayshore Boulevard.

Transit boarding islands are infrastructure solutions being used more and more in San Francisco. We’ve had one at Church and Duboce for several years and now we’re pushing to see them added on streets citywide, including on 11th Street and Bayshore Boulevard.

Transit boarding islands have benefits for all users, including:

  1. Eliminating conflict between buses and bikes: Transit boarding islands deviate bike lanes from the bus loading zone. This separation designates space so that buses do not need to cross over the bike lane to pick up passengers.
  2. Continuous, protected bike lanes through bus stops: The boarding island not only allows for a continuous bike lane through the bus stop, but also serves as physical protection for people riding.
  3. More space for passengers: Boarding islands create more space for transit passengers and open up the sidewalk, which would otherwise be used for boarding. This improves access for people taking the bus and walking.
  4. Increasing transit speed: Boarding islands allow buses to load and unload passengers while staying in their travel lane. This reduces delays, making buses much more reliable overall.

With all of these advantages, transit boarding islands are an effective solution to many common issues on our streets. They make our streets safer for people riding and walking, all while streamlining our transit system. We will advocate for this smart infrastructure solution to be implemented as much as possible in the coming year. Look out for these transit boarding islands coming to a street near you.

Along with our 10,000-plus members, the SF Bicycle Coalition is campaigning for safety improvements for people walking, biking and driving in every neighborhood across our city. Join our community of members supporting this advocacy and elevate the voice of people committed to more bikeable, livable streets.

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