The Wiggle as a Neighborhood Greenway

The SF Bicycle Coalition has long advocated for bike lanes and separated bikeways on dozens of streets in San Francisco – creating safe, dedicated spaces for the growing number of people who bike on streets like Market Street, Cesar Chavez Street and Oak Street. Separated bikeways on routes like these improve safety for all road users and create an inviting space that gets more people feel more comfortable than sharing the road with cars and trucks.

On some streets, dedicated bikeways aren’t always practical or possible. Many cities have therefore turned to neighborhood greenways as the answer to improving these corridors for everyone.

Neighborhood greenways create a calmer experience and allow bicycle riders, pedestrians, and even drivers to relax and slow down in an often stressful city. Compared to separated bikeways and bike lanes, neighborhood greenways focus more on sharing the space instead of separating.

Lots of cities have or are developing neighborhood greenways, but Portland has one of the most extensive and developed networks of these traffic-calmed streets.  By 2015, their goal is for 80% of residents to live within a half-mile of one. Watch the video below to see how they do it.

Residents and planners pushing for neighborhood greenways usually have the following goals in mind: diminish the number of cars cutting through these neighborhoods as well as the speeds of cars generally, while at the same time increasing the safety of people walking and biking through better designed streets and intersections. A variety of tools exist to make this happen, like sidewalk extensions (bulb-outs), speed bumps, traffic diverters, roundabouts and unique application of public art and greenery.

The Wiggle, perhaps San Francisco’s most iconic bicycle route, is an example of such a distinctive route. It runs along some of the quieter and bucolic neighborhoods close to downtown, with plenty of green space and people walking and biking. And it is for these reasons that it was selected for the City’s new Green Infrastructure initiative.

An integral part of our Connecting the City’s Bay to Beach Route, it is used by thousands of people everyday, many of them on bicycles. For years, we have worked with neighbors, merchants and the City to make the Wiggle even better and an upcoming project promises to afford us more opportunities to make the route even friendlier, safer and greener for people biking and walking. Join us on Tuesday, June 11 between 5 and 8:30 pm at the Electrical Workers Union Hall at 55 Fillmore St for the first official Community Open House for the Wiggle Neighborhood Green Corridor.

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