SFMTA Installs More Safe-Hit Posts on Market Street Bike Lane

IMG_1772_1.jpgNew soft-hit post on Market Street near 10th Street. Photo: Michael Rhodes

Riding a bicycle down Market Street may not be a completely hassle-free experience just yet, but new safe-hit posts installed on the bike lane today between Gough Street and 8th Street are a big hit with bicycle riders.

Crews from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) traffic sign shop were out early this morning installing the posts (or "delineators") along portions of the Market Street bike lanes that already have a wide paint buffer. Along with the traffic diversions at 10th and 6th Streets, it’s the latest step in the SFMTA’s efforts to make Market Street safer and more appealing for those on bikes.

"The city installed the white safe-hit posts between 8th and 9th on the north side many months ago," said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s (SFBC) Neal Patel, who helped coordinate with the SFMTA in building the new posts. "There was a really overwhelmingly positive response to that: SFBC put out a survey in February and 90 percent of those who responded said it made them feel safer. 80 percent said they would bike on Market more if a separated bike lane were there for a longer stretch."

The city was excited by the results, said Patel, and decided to expand the posts to the new stretch between 8th and Octavia where there’s already a wide paint buffer along the bike lane.

Some of the first bicyclists to ride along the eastbound bike lane after the posts were installed between Gough and 10th Streets today said they were thrilled with the new configuration.

"I love ’em, actually," said Mike Rawlee, as he waited for the light at 12th Street. "Lots of times cars crowd you and push you to the side, almost to the sidewalk." With the new posts, he said, "it’s gotten a lot easier to get through."

Another rider, Megan, was similarly enthused about the safety improvement. "I like them. I was hit in San Francisco before at 8th Street. We should definitely have more of them."

IMG_1745.jpgAn SFMTA crewmember prepares to add in the new soft-hit posts. Photo: Michael Rhodes

Josefine Gylleback, a manager at Caffe Trieste, said she’s very excited to have the new posts on the bike lane right in front of her business. "I think it’s going to be very helpful. 90 percent of the staff here, including myself, we ride our bikes to work," she said. "This is going to be a lot better for us and a lot safer for us."

"We’re very happy and we can tell that a lot of our customers have a positive response to it too," added Gylleback.

Across the street at The Green Arcade bookstore, owner Patrick Marks hadn’t noticed the posts yet. After stepping outside and looking across Market he returned with praise for the new setup. "I think it’s just fabulous. I just think they look great," said Marks. "They say to me: bicycles. Meaning, I think they also increase awareness which we totally need around this corner."

Marks, who rides a bike to work himself when he doesn’t walk, said many of his customers get to the shop by bike, "because we’re right on Market Street."

He also wishes his side of the street would get more traffic calming measures. "Because I’m so near the freeway, anything that would slow traffic would be a good idea," he said.

Patel said the SFBC is pushing the city to eventually build a fully-separated bikeway on Market from Octavia to the Embarcadero, with the soft-hit posts serving as an important first step.

"We’re very excited to see this expanded, and very excited to see what cyclists think of this," said Patel.

One of the biggest safety concerns for bicyclists on Market has been double-parked cars and motorists who squeeze cyclists out when making turns. Patel said he hopes the new posts will help address that problem. The SFMTA also did extensive outreach to merchants to make sure the new configuration wouldn’t interfere with loading.

In total, about 90 new posts are being installed today, according to an SFMTA sign shop crewmember. It takes a little extra effort to install them after a rainy day, including the use of a propane torch to dry the asphalt before gluing the posts on with an epoxy mixture.

While a fully separated bikeway may still be a distant vision, things are changing fast on Market. "Man, this area’s changing every day," said a man lingering on Market Street to a passerby. "They put a bicycle rack over there and they just put this in this morning," he said contemplatively, gesturing to the new posts.

You can give the city feedback on the new soft-hit posts by emailing marketstreet (at) sfgov.org. SFBC’s Neal Patel can be reached by email with comments and concerns at neal (at) sfbike.org.

IMG_1775.jpgThe new soft-hit posts at Market and Gough. Photo: Michael Rhodes
4482258904_a8c1c5f9eb.jpgSFMTA crewmembers wait for the epoxy to dry on the new posts. Photo: SFBC
  • friscolex

    Love ’em, love ’em, love ’em! Can’t WAIT to leave work and bike home to test ’em out!

  • JohnB

    I assume these posts begin and end some way from each intersection so that vehicles can make right turns?

    I recall when they put these up to prevent traffic turning left into what was then the new Trader Joe’s on Masonic. They lasted maybe a week before they were all horizontal.

    Let’s hope these do better.

  • JohnB: I haven’t done research on a map yet, but I think these are only put up when it is a one-way street going the other way, so there wouldn’t be any right turns in that direction.

    At least that was the case for the first block that they did, westbound, a few months ago.

  • JohnB

    Stuart

    That would make sense although all the photo’s included in the article show traffic flow in the same direction as the bike lane flow.

  • Nick

    Looks like Bike To Work Day is going to be extra-awesome this year.

  • patrick

    Stuart, JohnB

    The soft hits are for a bike lane going in the same direction as auto traffic on Market St.

    JohnB, this is actually an extension of some soft hit posts that were installed a month or two ago on Market, I don’t remember the exact configuration with regards to turns, but there has been little issue with cars running over them, or right turns, while there has been a huge decrease in the number of vehicles that would park/stand illegally and block the bike lane on Market St. The bike lane was already there, and has been for quite a while.

    The posts work quite well for all parties involved who are interested in traveling responsibly.

  • mucho excellente!

  • JohnB: Yes, I know the auto traffic is going the same direction as the bike traffic. I am talking about the cross traffic at the intersections.

  • Soft hit posts are the new black : ) I say we hit the whole street with ’em!! Market street would look better than it has in decades : )

  • Michael Smith

    There is another great reason for putting in these posts. On Bike To Work Day there are going to be so many bikes going down Market St that these posts will be greatly useful for separating the zippy cyclists from the more sedate and dignified ones!

  • cyclotronic

    a curb makes more sense, from the pictures.

  • CBrinkman

    I feel like royalty on Market Street in those blocks. Here is my space, see me ride – and for once there were no cars illegally parked in the bike lane. What a improvement on my commute. Now if we can just teach car drivers what that little stick on their steering column is, and which lane position to turn right from Market Street will be a joy.

  • Pam

    I’m just so happy to finally have a spot that shows drivers a reasonable separation from bikes as they drive down Market. No more side mirrors scraping the elbow. Hurrah. (now take this down as much of Market to the financial dist. as space allows.)

  • julia

    I love the soft hit posts, and in general I think they’ve helped a lot. This morning, however, I had to grind my teeth a little at the delivery truck parked in the bike lane about 10 feet beyond where the posts end. I’d really like to see the new ones extended over the whole block.

    On the other hand, kudos to the Zuni Cafe wood delivery guy who usually blocks the bike lane, but today chose an actual parking space in the next block! Thanks wood guy!

  • JohnB

    Julia

    As I explained yesterday, you have to stop the posts before the end of the black to allow vehicles to make a right turn.

    The Vehicle Code does not allow a vehicle to make a right turn from the car lane to the left of the bike lane.

    Someone else here actually suggested the other day that a vehicle should be ticketed for entering a bike lane to make a turn, so clearly not all cyclists know that cars are required by law to navigate a turn that way.

  • JohnB: I don’t see why that comment was directed at Julia. Her comment didn’t deal with a right turn situation.

    And, it seems that you only have to stop the posts “before the end of the black” when a right turn is actually possible. If there is a one-way street as the cross street, a right turn will not be possible in one of the directions.

  • JohnB

    Stuart,

    Julia was suggesting the posts be extended to the end of the block and I was explaining why that is not possible (assuming, of course, that a right turn is possible).

    Also, emergency vehicles sometimes have to navigate a one-way street in the wrong direction.

    There would also probably be a pedestrian crossing at the intersections too.

    So it’s probably inevitable that the posts stop short of each intersection.

  • JohnB: Unfortunately Google Street View hasn’t been updated to settle this for sure, but I am pretty sure that the original one block of soft hit posts extended all the way to either intersection, with no gap.

  • Very cool to see the soft-hit posts expanding …

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