It’s not every day I get to ride on new bike lanes, but in the last week, I’ve been lucky to have done it twice. The first time was on Page Street. The second time was this Saturday when I headed out from my Outer Sunset home to the Excelsior and rode on the new Ocean Avenue bike lanes.
I pedaled south until I hit Vicente Street and headed east. I knew the Ocean Avenue bike lanes began at Sunset Boulevard, but I struggled to actually find the right way to get there by bike. (Note to self: Better westside connections onto Ocean Avenue needed!)
Eventually, I found the beautifully smooth, new repaving and the roomy, buffered bike lanes through this residential neighborhood. My previous experience biking here was on Sloat Boulevard — a wide street with fast-moving traffic, many vehicle lanes and difficult connections. In comparison, these Ocean Avenue lanes felt like a dream!
Ocean Avenue now provides a safe passage for people biking where the street had plenty of space to give. We’re encouraged that the city seized this repaving opportunity to create an bike route alternative to Sloat Boulevard, connecting to Lake Merced, Lowell High School, Stonestown Mall and beyond.
When the bike lanes ended at 19th Avenue, I felt the change instantly. I’m familiar with this portion of Ocean Avenue, and despite being a designated bike route, I have to steel myself for mixing with fast-moving vehicles every time. The faded sharrows don’t give much comfort, and by the time I hit Phelan Avenue, I felt the fear of right hooks as I rode across multiple intersections.
If that wasn’t enough, then comes the freeway onramps and then the obstacle course around the light-rail tracks next to Balboa Park Station. As I bike towards the Excelsior, I’m reminded how this portion of Ocean Avenue is on the high-injury network, which represents six percent of streets where 60 percent of severe and fatal injuries occur.
I know I’m not the only person who bikes here and sees the need for change. Join me in advocating for better streets by becoming a member today to power our organization. Have more thoughts? Email me at email@example.com.