Eyes on the Street: When Repaving Becomes a Hazard

IMG_2748.jpgPhotos by Bryan Goebel

If you've pedaled along Howard Street in SoMa lately, you've no doubt noticed the shoddy paving between 6th and 8th Streets.  A DPW contractor repaved the street as part of a sewer main replacement project but in several areas left a two inch shelf in the middle of the bike lane, which is causing many cyclists to drift into traffic or struggle to keep upright, especially at night.

DPW's Christine Falvey said the issue was temporary:

Our Resident Engineer directed the contractor to sweep up all loose material in the bike lane yesterday. Temporary asphalt will be placed in the bike lane on Tuesday and we will temporarily re-stripe the areas where we place AC the same day. 

That's a start, but why was the job completed without assessing its impact on bikes in a Transit First city such as ours?  

A number of cyclists I spoke to along the route were pretty outraged by the state of the bike lane. A woman standing outside the offices of the South of Market Community Action Network (SOCAN) said it's been that way for about a week. "They just left it like that. It's a public nuisance," she said. "This is a major route for bicyclists."

Said Andy Thornley of the SFBC:

"In a city that has committed at the highest levels to prioritizing the bicycle for everyday transportation it's hard to understand why roadwork on a key bike route doesn't give bike traffic the highest regard -- get the repair work done well and quickly, and provide a reasonable detour to bike traffic in the meantime. There's no injunction against smooth safe pavement for bicycles!"

Falvey says folks with concerns about the project should call the public information officer, Bill Adams, at 415-437-7038. "We welcome information and concerns people have."

IMG_2752.jpg