SFMTA Installs Left Turn Signal at Scott and Fell Streets

A woman turns left onto the Fell Street bike lane. The new signal can be seen on the left covered with white "X"s until they're turned on. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The commute on the busy Wiggle route will be made a little easier with the installation of a left turn signal at Scott and Fell streets today. The new system is expected to provide ample time for bicycle riders to make the left turn from the bike lane on Scott to Fell Street.

“We determined it has a great ‘bang for the buck’ value on improving safety and bicycle flow on a heavily used crosstown route,” said Mike Sallaberry of the SFMTA Sustainable Streets Division.

“We want to make that left turn easier for cyclists so that it’s a smoother, easier, and safer move, and to also encourage people on bikes to stay in the left turn bike lane on Scott rather than cut up the wrong side of Scott or onto the sidewalk there to make the turn illegally or dangerously,” he said.

The intersection’s traffic signals have long been unsuitable for the platoons of riders making the short-distance turn onto Fell Street, many of whom opt to avoid waiting for the small window of time left after yielding to oncoming cars. The issue has also posed a problem for pedestrians, whom many bike riders forget to watch for when making the harrowing turn at the high-motor traffic intersection.

“The goal is to time the left turn arrow to go on so that if you start riding up Scott at the beginning of the green there at Scott and Oak, and ride at a medium or easy pace, the arrow should go on right as you arrive there at Fell Street,” said Sallaberry.

“Some people are calling it a bicycle signal, but it’s designed to also let northbound cars go straight or make a left at the same time, which does not conflict with the left turn move cyclists are making,” he added.

The lights aren’t operational yet, but Sallaberry said they should be turned on before Bike to Work Day May 12.

Many riders find this to be the easiest way to make the turn. Photo: Aaron Bialick