Eyes on the Street: Claremont Boulevard Bike Lane Being Installed

claremont2.jpgPhoto by Streetsblog tipster Nick.

DPT crews were spotted striping a new bike lane on Claremont Boulevard this morning, which will become the city’s sixth new bike lane. Streetsblog tipster Nick sent us these photos, taken around 10 a.m., of crews working on northbound Claremont from Portola Drive to Dewey Boulevard near the West Portal Muni station. 

We’ve got numerous requests into the MTA to find out what bike improvements are going in this week, but we’ve had a tough time getting a response. When, for example, is the bike symbol going to be painted in California’s first green bike box on Scott Street?

Have you seen the MTA at work? Please send us your photos: tips@sf.streetsblog.org. Or add them to our Flickr pool

claremont3.jpgPhoto by Streetsblog tipster Nick.

  • Nick

    Claremont might end up being a 2 day project. It looks like they have one crew prepping the street (sand blasting and placing demarcation lines) while the actual paint crews come later.

    In other news, 7th Avenue and up to Laguna Honda is almost done being repaved. A few more projects are going in there if I’m not mistaken

  • Is it true that 5th Street will get “sharrows” in near future?

  • @David Baker – from twitter…

    tehdely: So, a couple of the streets I ride to work were sharrowed today. It’s almost like my daily commute laid down some desire lines. #bikeplan

    murphstahoe: @tehdely name the streets or it didn’t happen

    tehdely: @murphstahoe Hayes has some new ones. Also 5th st btw. Townsend and Bryant. They must have really been reading my mind on that last one.

  • i saw 5th getting sharrows a few hours ago.

  • 5th was the first street I was almost killed on when I first moved here five years ago.. ah nostalgia.. My question, to you brave 5th st riders, do they seem to help calm the people riding up your ass?

    If they were to sharrow Cesar Chavez in lieu of / in the meantime, while waiting for real bike lanes, I think I would be more pissed than happy. I’m at 26th and Guerrero and still two years out from being able to ride to caltrain via the most efficient and convenient route. Something needs to happen between now and then on Chavez–and I’m not talking about the MTA or the SFBC doing anything.

    We need some Bedford-ave style direction action. The car parking that is holding everything up on Chavez is all business related (on the stretch between 101 and 280 death mazes). This is a straightforward case of those who drive to work making it impossible for those who would like to bike to work to be able to do so safely on a major thoroughfare and key connector between eastern and western sections of the mission/dogpatch/bayview/noe.

    IMHO, Chavez and Townsend Streets are the biggest current disgraces in the city. Big, huge black eyes. Can someone please explain how we are net getting a cycle track on Townsend, leading to our train station, but San Jose is scheduled to have one?

    Apologies for the negativity, but the medication is wearing off.

  • that’s “direct action” — and the ‘medicine’ is seeing Newsom push a paint roller.

  • Nick

    I’ve been a little concerned about the MTA’s “capacity” to install 5 bike racks and paint 20 sharrows a day. There are 4 sharrows on an average block meaning they can only finish 5 blocks a day.

    If they have 75 miles of sharrows, this will take them 9 full months to complete.

    75 miles x 12 blocks per mile = 900 blocks to paint

    900/5 = 180 working days required

    180/ 20 working days per month = 9 months

  • I would be more excited if I felt sharrows did any good whatsoever. Do people really feel they make a difference?

  • Nick

    Check out this link. Looks like MTA released a 2-month plan for implementation of sharrows and bike lanes. It lists Clipper as completed too.

    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/bnews/indxbinews.htm

  • The MTA has provided an update. This is from Damon Curtis of the MTA:

    – Claremont Boulevard between Dewey Boulevard and Portola Drive. Crews
    have begun work on this project, estimate completion this week.
    – Kansas Street between 23rd and 26th Streets. Crews have begun work on
    this project, estimate completion this week.
    – Otis Street between Gough Street and South Van Ness Avenue. Crews
    plan to begin work on 12/14 if we have wet weather.
    – Clipper Street between Douglass Street and Portola Drive. Crews plan
    to begin work on 12/14 if we have dry weather.
    – 7th Avenue between Lawton Street and Lincoln Way. Crews will begin
    work after repaving work is finished.
    – JFK Drive between Kezar and Transverse Drives in Golden Gate Park.
    This project is proceeding on a separate legislative track led by the
    Recreation and Parks Department, and is expected to be complete in
    Spring 2010.

  • CBrinkman

    I’m neutral on sharrows. I don’t think they make much difference unless the street is actually calmed or bike boulevarded as in Berkeley.

  • John

    Sharrows embolden cyclists to take their rightful space. I think it is the rare motorist who knows what sharrows are, or pays them any attention.

  • I just really cannot support putting sharrows down on surface-level freeways like 5th St (or Chavez).

    Even as a stop-gap. They cost money to do and on streets like 5th their effect is probably only marginal. If I was to find myself forced to 5th, yes, I would feel a modicum more confident because of the sharrows.

    A modicum ain’t much. But why ask the daring 1% who have the guts to ride 5th with sharrows to ride 5th? Why not invite 15% or 20% to ride fifth with a protected bike lane, not just a traditional bike lane (when the subway is done) or sharrows now?

    With all due respect for the sharrow and its originators and implementors here in the city, I humbly suggest that the sharrow is now an obsolete instrument for anything more than a very quiet, already-calmed street, as Cheryl points out above.

  • Nick

    MTA had a graphic that goes on the back of MUNI busses (circa 2004) that says “Bikes Ride Here in Shared Lanes” with the image of a cyclist riding outside of an open door. We defintely need another educational effort if they are to be effective.

    However they have some benefits even if drivers don’t know what they mean:
    -They show new cyclists which streets are bike routes
    -If we all ride on certain streets it increases our safety in numbers.
    -They encourage people to stay out of the door zone.
    -They instituionalize the concept that bikes belong on the street.

  • I don’t really feel much safer with sharrows, and I often feel like I have to make an effort to ride in-line with them and not farther to the right when a car is behind me. They’re definitely a baby step.

    But on the other hand, I think they have a positive systemic impact – maybe that one sharrow or that one block of sharrows won’t make a huge difference, but I like to think that drivers seeing them around the city in general keeps them aware of cyclists’ presence – or maybe at this point that job’s been taken over by the presence of cyclists themselves.

    At least they let unfamiliar cyclists know where to go? haha

  • I agree about their function as way-finding tools for cyclists. When I am riding in a new neighborhood or city, they are helpful for this.

    But if I were a new cyclist thinking about riding more regularly in SF and sharrows lured me onto 5th St during rush hour, I think I would think twice about trusting the city’s bike ‘infrastructure.’ I might even be angry and call BS on it.

    The symbolic has a role to play in this movement, no doubt, but I don’t think we should ever settle for letting symbolic paint markings that aren’t backed up by a greater degree of physical protection and demarcations pinch hit for the the real stuff.

  • Hmmm… So none of you noticed the tracings for the bike lane leaves cyclists in the door zone.

    Granted this is an uphill lane so speeds would be slower but why not do away with that buffer on the downhill side, move the centerline over a bit and use the extra room to move the bike lane away from the car doors. Since speeds going downhill will be too fast to stay in a bike lane, the design should have cyclists take the lane by using sharrows anyway.

    I know I’m “virtually” critiquing from 3000 miles away, site unseen, some of the best bike/ped designers in the US but this doesn’t seem to make much sense so far.

  • zsolt

    Hey Andy, the primary use of bike lanes in this city is double-parking for automobiles, so as long as that will be possible, it’s all good!

  • My experience is that sharrows make a huge difference in car driver behavior. They are very visible to drivers and at the very least confuse them. They had a very calming effect on the frontage roads of Octavia Boulevard for example. The new City strategy seems to be to put them pretty frequently. There are 4 or so per block, in each direction on Fifth, so it’s a lot of bike symbols out there in the face of drivers. I ride Fifth fairly often, and the new sharrows seem to really calm the cabbies who usually did all sorts of aggressive impatient posturing before. I think they are a great place holder and should be used on all official routes, even if there is a lane coming sometime in the future, for examole Second Street (PLEASE!!!!) I like regular lanes, but sharrows have a couple of advantages: you are further from the door zone, and cars double park a lot less in an auto/bike lane. Double parking in regular bike lanes is a huge problem, one that needs to be addressed systematically with education and targeted enforcement.

  • Andy, the bike lane plus parking lane combined width in SF is typically 14′, which gives you enough room to ride outside the door zone, and is fairly generous as these things go. This is an issue with all Class II lanes, and there is probably a better way to paint them (a wide yellow line on the inside to denote car zone perhaps) but it ain’t the way it’s done. After you get doored once you know to ride in the outside part of the lane…

  • not sure i want to get doored before “I know where I should ride in the bike lane”. If its a bike lane, shouldn’t we be able to ride safely in all of it? I don’t think all bike lanes in SF are wide enough as many of them are in the door zone and on very busy streets. I ride in the bike lanes, but while being very careful of car doors.

  • Bike lanes should be next to the sidewalk! Then have a row of parked cars, then the street lanes. Incidents of dooring would dramatically decrease and the danger of getting run over by cars entering and exiting parking spots would go away.