A Pleasant Ride to the Beach in the New Kirkham Street Bike Lanes

Photos: Bryan Goebel
Photos: Bryan Goebel

San Franciscans who live in the Sunset or want to pedal to the beach now have a three-mile stretch of bike lanes on Kirkham Street from 9th Avenue to the Great Highway. I rode the new bike lanes over the weekend and it was a mostly calm, relaxing ride. I typically pedal through Golden Gate Park to get to Ocean Beach (a much smoother trip since the repaving) but on Sunday I decided to explore a few quiet neighborhoods along Bike Route 40.

The SFMTA recently striped Kirkham, narrowing the auto lanes to 10 feet and giving bicyclists 6-foot wide bike lanes on both sides going east and west. Three medians between Funston and 17th have been converted to raised concrete islands, the result of a community process than began five years ago to help tame the street and make it more welcoming to pedestrians.

For long stretches on Kirkham, it was a very pleasant ride. The most uncomfortable part was not climbing the hills, it was crossing 19th Avenue, San Francisco’s busiest traffic sewer. The westbound bike lane turns into sharrows at 18th, and to get across the congested intersection at 19th, I had to plod through the mess of cars waiting to turn right. It was a bit dicey not just for me but for one woman on foot who got stranded on the median trying to cross.

The SFMTA did consider removing the parking spaces along that portion of Kirkham to add a westbound bike lane along the curb, but it probably would not have been popular in the neighborhood. The Kirkham project as it exists sailed through without any resistance because it had little effect on parking. There’s also the issue of right-turning drivers who would likely obstruct the bike lane. The SFMTA surmises since this section is downhill most bicyclists will be traveling at similar speeds to cars on a green light, but if my experience is common, bicyclists should be very careful when crossing this ugly intersection.

Kirkham Street at 19th Avenue, looking eastbound.
Kirkham Street at 19th Avenue. There's a bike lane heading eastbound but not westbound along this stretch.

Heading back eastbound passed 19th wasn’t as bad. Although the bike lane turns into sharrows from 20th to 19th Avenue, there are plans in the works to eventually put in a bike lane on this stretch. First, though, the SFMTA has to work out some signal looping issues with Caltrans. That side of the intersection was less congested on a Sunday, but it also wasn’t the best day to observe traffic patterns.

Along the way, I did pull off to try and confirm the one other complaint I’ve heard about the bike lanes: that drivers adjusting to the narrower street are drifting into the bike lanes and edging dangerously close to bicyclists. I saw this happen mostly when there were no bike riders in the lanes. When the bike lanes were full, drivers seemed more conscious (even if a few of them were on their cell phones) and I never had any close calls on my ride. Still, the SFMTA is monitoring the situation. If enough bicyclists complain, the agency could consider painting in a center line. The rationale behind no center line was that it would make drivers uncomfortable, causing them to slow down.

The SFMTA is also collecting before and after data, so they can get a more exact picture of how drivers are reacting.

Despite these few issues, the bike lanes on Kirkham are great and will hopefully encourage more people who live in the Sunset to hop on a bike. I saw lots of happy bicyclists in the lanes, including a few families, even though parts of Kirkham don’t meet the 8 to 80-year-old test because of the hills, especially traveling eastbound.

The Kirkham project is one of about 20 post-injunction bike projects the SFMTA is hoping to finish by the spring of 2011. While some bike advocates have complained the process is too slow — considering the four-year-old wait we had with the bike injunction — the agency is working at a pace of completing one bike project every two weeks.

Have you ridden the new Kirkham Street bike lanes? What was your experience like? Feel free to share below.

The bike lanes also turn into sharrows at Sunset Boulevard.
The bike lanes also turn into sharrows at Sunset Boulevard.

IMG_2768

Aaaah, the beach.
Aaaah, the beach.
  • wow – i really like how part of that street doesn’t appear to have a strong (or any) (yellow) center-line.

    and i like the uphill bike lane.

    and i like the beach.

  • icarus12

    Lovely article. I will check out that bike lane this weekend. I like riding in the park, but just as much I like checking out different routes. One small complaint: could you refrain from calling a major roadway like 19th Avenue,a “sewer”? It seems gratuitous and not at all helpful when working toward making most of our streets friendly to all kinds of locomotion.

  • Aaron Bialick

    “The rationale behind no center line was that it would make drivers uncomfortable, causing them to slow down.”

    Wait… why don’t we want that?

  • We do want that Aaron. I was just trying to make that issue clear for some of our readers who have written me emails complaining about the bike lanes.

  • tth22

    Providing a center line gives drivers a visual queue that they can reasonably expect on-coming traffic to be in the opposing lane rather than in front of them. Without a centerline some drivers might drift towards the center of the roadway, while others might prefer to drive towards the outside of the roadway – drivers actually have to look for on-coming vehicles rather than just focusing on keeping between the white edge line and the center yellow line.

    One thing I’d like to see is more greening of streets in the Sunset. Our streets are so wide and any sort of street tree or grass buffer between the sidewalk and parking is rare. Regardless, this is a great addition to the network!

  • Greg

    My kids and I rode this (not all the way to the beach, though) some time ago, and we mostly agreed with you – it was a nice ride except for crossing 19th Avenue (and a few spots where it was a bit too hilly for my youngest) – we definitely walked the bikes across 19th.

  • @tth22 Don’t wait for the city to do something to green the Sunset, get everyone on your block organized to contact Frends of the Urban Forest and get the permits to do it yourself! Check out this previous story of how folks on Tiffany St got together to improve their block: http://sf.streetsblog.org/2010/07/19/tiffany-street-neighbors-make-a-party-of-ripping-up-concrete/

  • I rode the new kirkham bike lanes a week or two ago. They’re certainly an improvement. But…

    1. too many stop signs makes the route impractical if you’re on a deadline
    2. unprotected crossing of sunset blvd. is, well, deadly.

    I’d advocate 1) a light at sunset blvd. and 2) take out some stop signs and add some permeable (to bikes/pedestrians) barriers along kirkham.

  • Aaron Bialick

    Bryan –

    Yes I know, I was just posing a rhetorical question criticizing the SFMTA’s decision on that. Seems strange that they were viewing the slow-down as something to avoid (especially when traffic calming was apparently a major goal of the overall project).

  • Aaron Bialick

    Mike –

    Maybe even traffic circles as well?

  • I dont know about you, but if I was in a car, and a truck was coming from the other direction, and theres no center line, id feel uncomfortable and move towards the bike lane.

  • @icarus12. I think ‘sewer’ is an appropriate term, even if you’re worried about not offending the motoring public. There is a big difference between a street like 19th, where so much traffic flows to and through (like crap flowing downhill? ok, so the ‘sewer’ term makes cars seem like waste…and well..they are from a livable streets perspective…lots of waste going on there) and a nice street like page st or kirkham street which are like well-laid, freshwater pipes for reasonable traffic loads at reasonable speeds. No backups, no overflow during big storms, etc. 🙂

  • I dont know about you, but if I was in a car, and a truck was coming from the other direction, and theres no center line, id feel uncomfortable and move towards the bike lane.

    i think that’s kind of expected — as long as they don’t run a biker over, then it might be worth it to have traffic calmed a bit with the missing center-line.

    i guess we don’t know for sure if cars moving towards the bike lanes, other than the obvious problem of bikers feeling intimidated/scared by cars always, and that’s not going to go away until we get full-on, protected/separated cycletracks, or cars go away. in other words, does this design actually work — that is, does it lead to calmer/slower traffic and fewer accidents/collisions, or does it make the street scarier/more dangerous?

    i think the biggest problem with the center-lines is something that’s been pointed out here before — when there are no bike lanes, and cars don’t know that they’re allowed to cross a double-center-line to go around slower traffic (bikes). bikes end up getting squeezed unnecessarily.

    that one study says drivers get closer to bikers when there are bike lanes present (what this means, exactly, is not necessarily straightforward, imo), so now i’d like to see a follow-up study of what the stats say when a bike lane with buffer is present. i’d guess it’d be based on how big the buffer was — 1 feet, 2 feet, 3 feet? Might seem obvious, but I’d still like to see a study.

  • Nick

    Concerning bike lane drift, there is another project on Holloway Avenue that is having this same problem with the new bike lanes there. I’m surprised there has been no coverage of this story on Streetsblog.

    Check it out: Holloway (from Ashton to Junipero Serra).

  • Dave

    “There’s also the issue of right-turning drivers who would likely obstruct the bike lane.”

    Read the CVC. Right-turning drivers are REQUIRED to move all the way to the right and obstruct the bike lane, if present. It’s the law. Just something that cyclists have to anticipate and be alert for.

  • well Dave – we shouldn’t really have to “anticipate” the driver moving to obstruct the bike lane, in theory. The driver is only supposed to move over “when safe”.

    Cyclists would want to be alert for this because a driver might not move over “when safe”, of course, the majority of drivers don’t understand the whole “merge into the bike lane to make the right turn” concept anyway. I’m not worried about them obstructing the bike lane, I’m worried about them turning across it…

  • In the first photo: why does the the bike lane make a weird jog to the right, into the door zone?

    Was there road subsidence after the lanes were painted? Or is this just the usual SFMTA incompetence?

  • EL

    Drunk Engineer – The bike lane jogs where there’s a median island.

    Bryan Goebel – Since you feel that a centerline is needed to slow cars down, you must also believe that cars are wildly speeding on Kirkham, where there’s a stop sign every 2 blocks, and sometimes every block near Lawton School. I’m sure you made a complete stop at every one of them during your ride, right?

    As a motorist (carpooler) on Kirkham, it irks me everytime I make a stop along Kirkham, and the bike (that I leave plenty of room for by the way) runs the stop sign, often stealing the right-of-way from the car or pedestrian that I stopped for.

  • Aaron Bialick

    EL –

    I had actually misunderstood that sentence in the article, and what I’m pretty sure he meant was that the lack of a center line is meant to slow cars down. And drivers were going faster between stop signs before the changes due to the excessive roadway width.

    Also, I don’t know why you’re bringing up bicyclist behavior at stop signs, but please watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84eB0N-LG6M

  • I agree with “Drunk Engineer”: This lane in the first photo will lure inexperienced cyclists into the door zone. Especially when cars are parked a bit sloppyly narrowing the gap further.

    On the other hand: Leaving out the center line works very well in my experience. Drivers are really more considerate, if they have to decide for themselves how far left they can go, instead of following the dashed line blindly. And it certainly makes traffic a bit slower.

  • dalman

    I welcome these bike lanes and have been waiting months for them. I commute from the Inner Sunset to the beach at least twice a week with both kids on the back of the bike. The lanes have made the ride much more pleasant on a daily basis.

    I have seen some of the drift in and out of the bike lane by cars, but never when a bike was near them.

    As far as crossing the major roads, they could be a huge issue for cyclists new to the area, but have tricks for those that ride them regularly. Just join in the line of straight moving traffic at the 19th Ave intersection and act like a car. As for Sunset, you just need to wait a minute and you will get the timing of the lights so that you can travel clear across. Pattern is the same for the morning and afternoon commutes.

    It’s great to see these lanes finally painted.

  • 1) 19th Ave is a traffic sewer. No one who drives there would disagree. It is loud, crowded, polluted, overused….. The people who live there use much more colorful language than sewer.

    2) I agree that Holloway should be looked at as well. When the lanes are narrowed so much with out clear space for drivers, the only thing that slows them down is the presence of cyclists and pedestrians which means we become moving speed bumps. That will not bring more people onto the road, it will just keep the people who are already there uncomfortable.

  • Mick

    Adrienne,

    How is 19th Avenue “over-used”?

    It is the conduit from the end of 280 to the GG Bridge. There really isn’t an alternative – can suggest a viable one?

    It is not an ideal solution, certainly. The problem was that 280 was built relatively recently so it couldn’t have the freeway-only link within the city that 101 has to the Bay Bridge.

    Moreover, 19th Avenue has State Highway designation and so the City has little jurisdiction over it, meaning that’s one place you’re never going to see a bike lane, parklet or bus bulb. It’s purpose is to keep traffic moving and not look pretty.

    Luckily for you though, there are alternatives. 47 of them, in fact.

  • The “problem” was the freeway revolt. The 1955 highway plan called for the Junipero Serra Freeway segment of I-280 (which now ends and turns East into the John F. Foran Freeway at John Daly Blvd.) to continue due North through the city where Junipero Serra Ave. and Park Presidio Blvd. are now, creating a continuous freeway from Daly City to the Golden Gate Bridge. San Franciscans decided they did not want this freeway in their city.

  • Mick

    SteveS

    That sounds a good explanation. Surely the point is that Adrienne cannot have it both ways i.e. no urban freeways AND no so-called traffic sewers.

    I would have thought that an elevated or tunneled freeway, such as we have elsewhere in SF and in other cities, is vastly superior to having pedestrians, bikes and buses battling a 6-lane, high-speed, State-designated, freeway-connector like 19th Avenue.

    If disparate traffic flows don’t share well or play nice, why not just seperate them out? I have similar issues with bike and bus lanes on major arterial thruways like Fell and Masonic.

  • The ideal solution for cities is definitely to put freeways in underground tunnels (history has shown that elevated freeways create a swath of blight), allowing traffic fast travel while preventing all conflict with neighborhood traffic, transit, bikes and pedestrians.

    The two main reasons this is not implemented everywhere are that it is expensive, and governments often lack competent contract management skills to manage projects of this scope on a realistic budget and are further constrained by inflated prices from government contracting requirements and/or government employee unions that make otherwise logical projects unaffordable. Boston’s big dig is a perfect example of exactly what we’re talking about.

    The solution in my opinion is to have such projects be funded entirely by tolls. Anywhere there is demand enough that people will pay enough tolls to finance such a project, give a contractor a 50 year lease if they will build it with their own capital and recoup via tolls. Where there is not enough toll demand to finance projects, taxpayer money should not be squandered on infrastructure that can easily be financed through use fees. It is also unjust to so disproportionately pass on the negative externalities of pollution, neighborhood disruption, and pedestrian injuries and deaths to surrounding communities by building awful (but cheap) infrastructure like 19th Ave.

  • SteveS –

    I disagree – the ideal solution for cities is to not have freeways at all, instead providing the means for movement of people and goods by transit and non-motorized modes first and foremost. We have no real obligation or necessity to transport mass amounts of motor vehicles. If shipment is the issue, we can move the vast majority of our goods by rail and produce as much of our goods as locally as possible to retain small distances and a low volume of trips. We could move any trucks we need to with no more than two-lane roads. This is not idealistic fantasy, these elements are reality in many cities already.

    We’ve got to break out of this paradigm that even the most well-meaning American sustainable transport advocates still work within which keeps mass motor vehicle movement in the picture as something we must compromise and co-exist with.

  • Mick

    Aaron

    That’s a great idea but you can’t get there from here. We are not building an infrastructure from scratch but rather working with what we already have.

    Public transit is great for commuting into a central urban area for not for the point-to-point lifestyle that most of us have.

  • Energy is the key resource of the twenty-first century (followed closely by water and arable land.)

    The point-to-point lifestyle that so many of us take for granted (indeed, even avow to be a personal right) is going to change, voluntarily or involuntarily.

    Any city, country, or region that creates the structures for its people to complete their basic economic tasks by efficient, low-energy means will find itself more economically competitive and more prosperous. (We won’t even mention lower health care costs and a less polluted environment.)

    Any city, country or region that continues to rely heavily on a depleting resource that it must import vast amounts of will find itself in an economic straightjacket.

    The standard of living of any oil-importing country that clings to its oil-dependent way of life will fall until that country clues in and begins to adapt to economic and geologic reality.

    What was it Churchill said — Americans can be counted on to do the right thing after they have exhausted all other possibilities?

    So far, all other possibilities include: denial, trillion dollar wars, economic recessions, drill baby drill, more denial, destruction of ecosystems, ethanol, cash for clunkers, even more denial, tax subsidies for oil industry, enormous trade deficits, tax subsidies for corn/ethanol growers, tar sands, etc.

    But, hey, Americans are creative. I’m sure this list will grow.

  • Mick –

    Steve used the word the word “ideal”, and that’s what I’m talking about. Of course, we will have to pragmatically progress to that, but I think aiming for a world with freeways still in the picture is setting quite a low bar.

  • Luckily for you though, there are alternatives. 47 of them, in fact.

    Name those alternatives to crossing 19th Street. Please.

  • Mick

    JohnM

    Obviously my comment was based on alternatives to cycling along 19th Avenue, since I was discussing how a bike lane would be impossible there, and of course that there are 48 Avenues in all. You knew that so don’t be cute.

    If you want to cross 19th Avenue, I propose that you do it in the same way as everyone else does, at any one of the alphabetic intersections. But personally, I go through GG Park.

    Aaron

    There is no harm to you or Taomom contemplating a “world without freeways”, or for that matter “world peace”, a “cure for cancer” and “an end to poverty” while you’re at it. But realistically none of us alive today will see a carless America and, in the meantime, we need to get people to jobs, schools and hospitals and they are not all downtown and so commutable by transit. Nobody is going to build a rail line from Half Moon Bay to Fairfax, Marin so cars are the only way.

    Separating the high-volume, high speed vehicular traffic from pedestrians, bikes and buses is the safest and most efficient way to do that. No cyclist has ever been killed by a driver going from 101 to the Bay Bridge, becaue there is a freeway link.

    But from GG bridge to 280 and 101 requires vehicular traffic to clash with cyclists and it’s no coincidence that most cyclist fatalies are on the major arterial thruways. Those who nixed the completion of the freeways in the 1960’s should reflect on that success every time a cyclist is killed on a major thruway.

    The key to safety is separation: give cars priority on the fast routes, give slower traffic priority on other routes, and minimize their interaction.

  • Mick – read up on the freeway revolt sometime. Like going up to Twin Peaks? There was a freeway slated to go over it. Like the Panhandle? Freeway trenched into it. Mission District? Freeway flying over it. Crissy Field? Nonexistent – that was a freeway.

    Compare and contrast photos of the Ferry Building from 1988 and today.

  • Obviously my comment was based on alternatives to cycling along 19th Avenue, since I was discussing how a bike lane would be impossible there

    nonsense. we’ll make every single street in SF bicycle-friendly. that might mean cycletracks, bike lanes, traffic calming, etc., but these roads will be made bicycle-friendly.

    Nobody is going to build a rail line from Half Moon Bay to Fairfax, Marin so cars are the only way.

    nowhere is it written that we have to continue living the same way we are now — i.e. ‘the age of the 3,000-mile Caesar Salad’ may soon be over, along with Half Moon Bay to Fairfax commutes, etc. The world would become a much better place if this were to happen.

    No cyclist has ever been killed by a driver going from 101 to the Bay Bridge, because there is a freeway link.

    That’s because cyclists aren’t allowed on highways. I have a better way to accomplish the same goal of zero cyclist deaths, though — let’s ban cars from highways instead, since they’re the ones that are actually doing most of the killing.

    We need these bicycle highways to allow bikers to get from one place to the next as quickly and efficiently as possible, which is extremely important for bikers — for cars, not so much. There will be side benefits, too — a lot more folks will take up cycling, and drastically fewer drivers will drive — greatly improving public health, air quality, reduce noise, reduce costs for fire/emergency, reduce smog, etc.

    The key to safety is separation

    i agree with this — cars should be separated from society.

  • Mick

    JohnM

    Sure the city looks cuter with less freeways, just like it would look cuter with less docks, power stations, municipal buildings, ventilator shafts and McDonalds.

    Which I am sure is appreciated by the tourists, assuming thwey can find a place topark to look at it. But maybe less so by all the cyclists and epdestrians who woulnd’t be in the ground today if they HAd been built.

    Peter,

    Why must every single last street be bike friendly? Why can’t traffic be segregated to where it makes most sense? You sound like you are less concerned with an optimal mix of transit options and more cocnerned with “winning” the battle you have with a particular form of transit. Hatred is not a prudent way to plan urban transportation options.

  • Mick –

    Again, I’m talking ideally, which is a long way to go for the Bay Area. But I lived in Denmark for 6 months where I never saw one elevated freeway, and I can certainly you all the people walking and using bikes & transit would not have appreciated there being some built to put the cars on. Go to Copenhagen and you’ll realize that the fundamental difference is the lack of automobile traffic presence (you’ll never hear 1,000,000 people exist so quietly together).

    “The key to safety is separation”

    The key to safety is less automobile traffic, & slower automobile traffic where it is. Study after study, there’s no way around it. People will still die in crashes on freeways, too (and we do care about them). And, there is no way to keep all forms of traffic separate indefinitely, as we all share the same streets & city, need to get to the same places. Freeways need on & off-ramps to dump & draw traffic on the streets. When we inevitably travel together, the more we can minimize the number of people using the most dangerous form of travel at dangerous speeds, the better off we all are.

    “give cars priority on the fast routes, give slower traffic priority on other routes, and minimize their interaction.”

    They are only made to be “fast routes” because planners provide them. There is nothing “natural” about it. People are only driving so much because our planners decided to provide so many high-speed roads for people to drive cars on, and my point is that is not ultimately necessary to do.

  • Peter, Why must every single last street be bike friendly?

    Because people on bike need to be able to access the buildings/businesses/sidewalks/parks/areas/connectors on/of every single street.

    After all, preventing access to certain areas (read: rich parts) to certain types of people (read: poor and/or black people) has been and continues to be one of the traditional modus operandi of urban planning.

    Think of highways being built out to the burbs, or where burbs don’t yet exist. Or no sidewalks or bike lanes being allowed to go into rich neighborhoods. This is prevent ‘the wrong types of people’ from going to these places. And it works. We’re trying to change that, slowly but surely.

    A pretty straightforward and obvious argument, I would think. I guess not.

  • Mick –

    Just saw a couple of older comments I wanted to respond to:

    “a bike lane would be impossible [on 19th Ave].”

    What are you talking about? Put it where one of those pesky parking or shared travel lanes are.

    “19th Avenue…is one place you’re never going to see a bike lane, parklet or bus bulb.”

    Actually, bus bulbs are in the CTA’s 19th Ave. Park Presidio Neighborhood Transportation Plan (PDF)

    “Peter, Why must every single last street be bike friendly?”

    Also, why must every single last street be car friendly (or even allow thru car traffic)?

  • Mick

    Aaron

    My comment on being able to put a bike lane on 19th Aveneue was to do with the statement that it is a designated CA State highway and therefore the City cannot unilaterally change the way it works.

    I’ve been to Copenhagen and it’s wonderful. But we are not starting with what they are starting with. Comparing a Western US metropolis with a medieval European town only gets you so far.

    Now, I realize that you are talking only ideally. And maybe in 100 eyars time, SF will be a theme park like Colonial Williamsburg, and we can all dress like hippies and tourists will throw money at us from tour buses because we look so cute and quaint. But meanwhile we are trying to compete for business to pay the bills, and we have to listen to what they want too. Already they tend to ehad out of town to avoid hassle and regulation, so the key is knowing when to not go too far.

    Peter.

    Again, your bias shows through. You seem to have no problem with banning cars from streets, but banning bikes from maybe at most a dozen streets sends you into convulsions.

    And a cyclist can always get off his bike and walk a block over much easier than a driver can.

    While your analogy with segregation is disingenuous. Nobody is banning anyone from anywhere, but just like they don’t let you walk on BART tracks, they also shouldn’t let you walk on freeways, and they don’t let trucks drive in bike lanes. “Seoarate but equal” can work as long as we’re not talking Jim Crow.

  • “But we are not starting with what they [Copenhagen] are starting with.”

    That is simply not true. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you are just ignorant to the history of Copenhagen and not trying to be deceitful. In the 1960s, Copenhagen was much like every other western industrialized city and cycling was an after thought while car ownership skyrocketed. But they took the energy crises of the 70s to heart and start making changes. Separate bike paths didn’t start showing up until the 1980s.

    So in fact, we are starting at about the same place as Copenhagen. We are just 30+ years behind.

    “Now, I realize that you are talking only ideally. And maybe in 100 eyars time, SF will be a theme park like Colonial Williamsburg, and we can all dress like hippies and tourists will throw money at us from tour buses because we look so cute and quaint.”

    No need to take the argument to the ridiculous. And if you look at the mortgage meltdown, where did it most adversely affect? It hit the sprawl areas of this nation the hardest. The dense walkable/transit cores (i.e. SF) were able to weather the storm much more easily. Also, which areas of the nation are making a stronger comeback? Those that are in close proximity to transit and offer amenities that can easily be accessed by means other then an automobile.

    As for the bike lanes out in the Sunset, this column was talking about east/west access the western part of the city. Most of the earlier commenters were discussing how difficult it is to cross 19th Ave (going east/west). Crossing this street, for both peds and bikes, needs to be addressed. And, Mick, an above or below ground freeway is not the answer.

  • Again, your bias shows through.

    i don’t know if i’d call it ‘bias’, but if you mean that my disdain for cars shows through, well, uh, yeah, good — i would hope it’s blatantly obvious from most if not all of my comments. cars are one of the worst things to ever happen to mankind — the sooner we get them under control, and ideally, get rid of them altogether, the better off we’ll all be.

    And a cyclist can always get off his bike and walk a block over much easier than a driver can.

    really? why?

    a driver parks, gets out of his car, closes the door, and clicks the auto-lock-clicker-button on his keys and walks away.

    a biker has to ‘park’, which usually requires placing it on or against some type of rack/device, usually requiring he get off his bike first, and then lock his bike up — requiring all sorts of drama, including pulling out his clunky U-lock and wrapping it around some pole while enclosing at least the frame of his bike, often having to contort his body to accomplish this, and pull out his keys and use it to engage the locking mechanism.

    in short, the biker has it harder.

    While your analogy with segregation is disingenuous. Nobody is banning anyone from anywhere, but just like they don’t let you walk on BART tracks, they also shouldn’t let you walk on freeways, and they don’t let trucks drive in bike lanes. “Separate but equal” can work as long as we’re not talking Jim Crow.

    The only part of my segregation analogy that is disingenuous is the part that refers to the disingenuousness of your “No cyclist has ever been killed by a driver going from 101 to the Bay Bridge, because there is a freeway link” comment — of course there hasn’t, because bikes are banned on the freeway.

    So yes, walkers and bikers are, in fact, banned from many places, as you’ve stated yourself, and their access to many places is limited or non-existent, as is the case with trying to get from SF to…almost anywhere by bike, including Treasure Island, Oakland, Alameda, etc., and folks can’t come to SF by bike (or walking) from those places, either. Even if access is legally allowed to places like Alameda, practically speaking, bikes have been banned from entering/leaving Alameda, severely limiting opportunity for at least some people. It’s not fair, and we need to correct the situation.

    There may be a good reason why we’re not allowed to walk on BART tracks, but that reason is not ‘just because’. If we as a society deem that it’s OK to ban walkers from the BART tracks (we decide the greater good is more than the greater harm, it doesn’t punish one class of citizen, etc.), then that policy can stand, as it has been justified. If it was not able to be justified, then we’d either have to end the policy (and allow folks to walk on the BART tracks), or end BART.

    Similarly, if we decide that the greater good of freeways and their no-non-cars policies outweigh their costs to society, then they can stay — otherwise, either we have to start allowing walkers and bikers on the freeways, or the freeways have to be dismantled. What we saw with the earlier freeway revolt is that society deemed that certain freeways (and their no-non-cars policies) were not worth the cost to society, so we tore them down. Another round of the freeway revolt is happening now, in such places as New Orleans. Of all of the physical manifestations of car culture, freeways and the like are probably the worst for humanity — the faster we either make them accessible to non-motorists or tear them down altogether (and possibly replace them with streets accessible to non-motorists), the better for all of us.

    and, minor typo-type correction — trucks can and must, often, by law, drive in bike lanes — possibly not in cycletracks and bike paths, tho. 🙂

  • “they don’t let trucks drive in bike lanes”

    Driving no. Parking, yes.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Love Your Lane: Kirkham Street to the Sea

|
Riding down Kirkham at 33rd Ave with a view of the ocean Kirkham Street is one of the Big 56 bike lane projects that hasn’t raised many eyebrows. Unlike the looming battle over 2nd Street or 5th Street, the Kirkham lane will be on a relatively quiet residential street that runs east-west from Ocean Beach […]

This Week: Green Lane Project Comes to SF

|
It’s a good week to renew your love with your bicycle. Join the SF Bicycle Coalition for a chance to learn about the Green Lane Project’s efforts to bring protected bike lanes to cities including SF; try out the matchmaking at the “Love on Wheels” dating game; and take a field survey of the Sunset […]

An Emerging New Bike Plan for San Francisco is a Bold Path Forward

|
After four years of an agonizing bicycle injunction that prevented the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) from adding any significant improvements to the city’s bike network, a judge earlier this year finally freed the SFMTA to begin building out the city’s long-promised Bicycle Plan. In short order, the SFMTA made some very noticeable improvements, […]

This Week in Livable Streets Events

|
This week, speak up for safe bike lanes on 17th Street, become a part of the SF Transit Riders Union, have some pie for a parklet, and take a literature tour of San Francisco. Here are the highlights from the Streetsblog calendar: Monday: 17th Street Bike Lanes Community Meeting. Speak up at this SFMTA meeting […]

San Jose Merchants Object to Parking Removal for Bike Lanes on Park Ave

|
About 150 residents attended a community meeting last Wednesday hosted by the San Jose Department of Transportation in the Willow Glen neighborhood to introduce plans for new bike lanes and sharrows on six streets west of downtown. The projects would complement four less extensive bikeway projects on streets east of downtown which were presented on August 6. […]