Protected bike lanes coming to Beach Street

Photo: SFMTA Beach Street Quick-Build project website

District Three is about to get its first major east-west protected bike lane on Beach Street and the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) needs your feedback on the design! 

What is the project?

Beach Street is an east-west corridor located in District Three’s Fisherman’s Wharf area. The project area stretches from Polk Street to the Embarcadero. This section of Beach Street is home to many hotels and tourist destinations like Ghirardelli Square and Pier 39. It’s a low traffic volume street but falls on the Vision Zero High Injury Network–12% of San Francisco streets that account for 68% of the city’s severe traffic injuries and fatalities. From 2018 to 2022, 29 traffic collisions happened on Beach Street between Polk Street and the Embarcadero.

There are two protected bike lane options on the table for Beach Street between Powell Street and Columbus Avenue. Both designs would be implemented through the SFMTA Quick Build process using materials like paint, posts, and traffic signs. Quick builds are low-cost, easy to install, can be adjusted and reversible. Here are the two protected bike lane options for Beach Street:

  1. One-way westbound protected bike lane on the north side of the street. 

  1. Two-way eastbound and westbound protected bike lanes on the north side of the street. 

If you’re wondering why the bike lane doesn’t connect to Polk Street or the Embarcadero, we had the same question! Due to complicated signal infrastructure at the Beach Street and Embarcadero intersection, extending a protected bike lane to Embarcadero would require significant capital investment and engineering which is outside of the scope of a quick-build project. On the western side of the corridor, most people on bikes want to connect to the area behind the Maritime Museum and around to Fort Mason. The SFMTA is looking into ways to extend bike facilities on Beach Street beyond Columbus Avenue to make this connection as well as to the existing bike lanes on southbound Polk Street, but these options are still being evaluated and need to be vetted with the merchants on these blocks.

The SFMTA plans to connect Beach Street to North Point – a parallel street south of Beach Street with higher traffic volumes and people on bikes – by protected bike lanes on Powell Street on the east side and are working closely with merchants to identify a west side connection. 

In addition to a protected bike lane, every intersection will receive pedestrian safety improvements along the corridor, as well as crucial safety treatments during temporary street closures for public events in coordination with the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District who has been a strong supporter of the project.

What does SF Bike think about it? 

A protected east-west bike lane in District Three is long overdue so we are excited to see improvements coming to Beach Street. We are confident that the two-way cycle track on the north side of the street is the safest design for people on bikes and active transportation. As we work on the Active Communities Plan and towards our vision of an interconnected network of people-prioritized mobility corridors, it is important to us that we connect all new bike improvement projects to the existing network. 

What do we need you to do? 

The SFMTA’s virtual open house is live until Friday, March 15th and they need your feedback on the project, especially on the bike lane design options. Take the survey today! To stay updated on this project and for future member meetings about Beach Street, sign up for our campaign list below.

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