Eyes on the Street: Market and 10th Get New Bike Lane Design

streetcar_bike_lane_small.jpgPhotos: Matthew Roth

After experimenting with one configuration for soft-hit posts for a few weeks along Market Street approaching 10th Street, the MTA has changed the configuration to give cyclists more room in approaching the intersection. The new soft hit posts extend from just before the intersection at 11th Street and Market up to 10th Street in the eastbound direction and the lane has a larger painted buffer.

As could be expected with any new treatment, users weren’t exactly sure what they were supposed to do. A number of cars turned in to the bus, taxi, and commercial vehicle-only lane, only to adjust later by driving through the spaces in the soft hit posts, using the crosswalk to sneak in, or pushing their luck with the PCO stationed at 10th Street, who inevitably turned them anyway.

Many cyclists were confused as well, continuing into the right-hand turn lane before realizing a wide-open swath of pavement to the left that was designated for them (granted, a couple more "e"s are still needed). Most moved over between the posts before the intersection.

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One or two cyclists had a more harrowing experience with vehicles crossing at the choke point, though everyone I observed eventually worked it out.

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Up at the intersection of 10th and Market, a new marking on the street made the mandatory right turn even more obvious to drivers.

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Of course, if it wasn’t completely obvious to motorists that they couldn’t proceed, this PCO was happy to direct them onto 10th Street. He told me he had been working the mandatory turn intersections off-and-on since September, when the trials first started. While some motorists were confused, he said it was a great help to be able to park his Interceptor and to be flanked by the big "Lane Closed" sign.

PCO_small.jpg

Given the very recent change, users should expect a transition period where the new configuration becomes more familiar. A traffic engineer rule of thumb is to wait at least thirty days before gauging the success of significant changes.

Some got it right away:

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Some obviously need to take another lap:

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  • Nick

    This is one of the locations where the city requested to experiment with green bike lane paint. Some of the others were Alemany and San Jose Ave by the freeway.

    In 30 days: Paint it green!

  • Yes – I love signs that the world is getting saner!

  • I knew this would happen. The fact that the entire street is a giant experiment is good news, because any problems can be fixed quickly. As for the occasional dumbass driver that moves into the transit lane…there’s very little that can be done to stop that, except maybe for using red paint for the transit lane and green paint in the bike lane. And even then, if it’s just one or two bozos…who cares? Most likely, they’re tourists with a GPS system telling them “drive straight for .8 miles”, they see the “right turn only” sign and thing the other lane is for them.

  • “One or two cyclists had a more harrowing experience with vehicles crossing at the choke point.”

    Next step: clear markings of the crossing path to direct cyclists and to make sure drivers are aware of them.

  • Joel

    Another idea: paint the transit lane red… that seems like an established standard in other countries.

  • Gary

    I bike daily but haven’t been on Market St. since the early 1970’s when I worked on Montgomery. Back then, it was a absolute nightmare with fast cars, buses, and jitneys all over the place.

    I’m so glad old ways are changing and there are things being done with cycling in mind. Looks like I may have to take a ride to Market and see how it is, maybe this time, it’ll be fun and safer.

  • the greasybear

    Separating bicycles from cars with soft-hit posts is the big improvement here. Still unresolved: the “sorting” process. Cyclists crossing Van Ness must quickly move from curbside to the center lane, dodging the stream of cars while negotiating *two* sets of hazardous trolley tracks.

    I now merge to the center immediately after crossing Van Ness, because merging any farther down risks getting boxed in, as pictured above. If there were to be a dashed-line guideway to assist cyclists from the sharrow lane to the new center bike lane, where would it start?

  • My, how I love the art of traffic engineering.

  • I’ll post the same information to my blog, thanks for
    ideas and great article.

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