Eyes on the Street: New Door-Zone Safety Space on Lake Street Bike Lane

IMG_2296.jpgExtra breathing room in the door zone on Lake Street. Photos: Michael Rhodes

Improvements to San Francisco's bike network have been popping up all over town in the half-year since the city got partial relief from the bike injunction. Some of them are splashy -- like the bright green, fully-separated bike lanes on Market Street, or the on-street bike parking stations on Valencia Street.

But the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has been even busier with many small improvements and tweaks, including one or two changes that might not be subject to the injunction at all.

In April, when a portion of Lake Street got a touch-up in the form of a 'Slurry Seal' treatment (cracks and eroded areas were paved over without doing a full repave,) the SFMTA found a way to make biking a little safer. By narrowing the traffic lanes from 12 feet to 10 feet and adding the extra space to the parking lane, people on bikes now have extra breathing room between the door zone and moving traffic. The parking lane now stretches nine feet across, so cars no longer hug the edge of the bike lane.

"The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is excited and pleased to see this re-striping on Lake Street," said the SFBC's Andy Thornley. "It makes the already good Lake Street bike lane even better by reducing the danger of dooring, and otherwise makes the bike lane more comfortable and inviting."

Thornley praised the SFMTA for taking the initiative on the change, which involved no pushing from the SFBC.

"We encourage the MTA to make this improvement on every street as repaving occurs," Thornley added.

The Lake Street bike lane is already relatively wide at six feet, but the added door-zone space makes it a lot less dicey. Not a shabby upgrade for a repaving project that was already scheduled.

Have you spotted other small scale improvements to the bike network that almost escaped your notice at first, but have made a difference? Let us know in the comments section below.

IMG_2305.jpgA stretch of Lake Street where the bike lane hasn't been re-striped and still hugs the parking lane.