Editors: This was originally published in Issue 154 of our quarterly Tube Times magazine.
We love celebrating new bike lanes, big and small. But between planning, designing, funding, approvals, environmental review and more, sometimes the best projects are the quick ones that improve our streets as fast as possible.
In 2015, we were excited to celebrate major victories for full-scale transformations on 2nd Street and Polk Street, but those approvals came after years of member-driven advocacy efforts. How can we speed up the process to get more bike projects completed on the ground faster?
Here are four different ways the city is fast-tracking projects for better biking:
Try It Out with Demonstration Projects: Market Street
What if we could just test something out for a couple of blocks before embarking on major planning and design efforts? That’s exactly what the two blocks of raised bike lanes on Market Street are doing. They are what the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) calls a “demonstration project.” Before raised bike lanes go in around the city (including at Masonic Avenue, 2nd Street and Polk Street), the SFMTA is testing out different treatments and soliciting user input by using different designs on two blocks of Market between Gough and 12th Streets. Construction was completed in November 2015; check out the lanes today!
Make a Quick Fix Leading to Bigger Improvements: Page Street
We like to dream big, especially when it comes to rethinking how we get around San Francisco. But to make those dreams come true, we need to build support and get ideas — especially from our members. Quick-fix projects like the proposal for a center-running bike lane on the downhill portion of Page Street approaching Octavia Boulevard help us build that momentum.
We know that Page Street is becoming more and more popular as a bike route. So a long-term vision is needed. We’re thrilled that the SFMTA sees an opportunity to get a bike lane on the ground to make that stretch significantly safer while leaving the door open for a larger project ahead. We expect approval in early 2016 and implementation to begin soon after. Stay in the loop at sfbike.org/page.
Do the Easy Things First: The Wiggle
In November, we enjoyed a big win for the Wiggle. The full list of improvements, including one of the city’s first traffic diverters at Scott and Fell Streets, was unanimously approved by the SFMTA Board after years of outreach and planning. This victory would have never been possible if it weren’t for the patience and advocacy of our members and community partners like the Lower Haight Merchants & Neighbors Association and The Wigg
Party. Get the details at sfbike.org/wiggle.
With construction for the full project set to begin in 2016, the SFMTA is looking to get paint on the ground early, including green paint for the Scott Street bike lane and painted bulbouts to improve pedestrian crossings.
Fix the Critical Parts Fast: 13th Street
There are some streets that are true safety hazards. Such was the case for 13th Street, which is one of the city’s worst corridors for people biking. The SFMTA put together a mix of funding, expedited the process and installed a protected bike lane, buffered by vehicle parking, on the westbound portion between Folsom and 11th Streets. After the project was completed in October 2015, the head of the SFMTA’s Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, said that “with this project, we’ve built more safety into the street for the thousands of people biking and walking between the Mission and SoMa every week.”
Thanks to the SFMTA for making quick work of the westbound portion. Now let’s make the eastbound stretch safe too!