Think Bike Workshops Offer a “Dutch Touch” on Three Key Corridors

The Think Bike rendering for Polk Street envisions curbside green bikeways with bus-bulbs and other improvements for Muni riders.

The delegation of Dutch experts who were in San Francisco this week for a series of Think Bike workshops with city officials, bike advocates, transportation planners and others honed in on three critical corridors: Market Street between 5th and 9th, Polk Street between Broadway and Union streets, and The Wiggle.

What resulted from the day-long workshops, survey rides and discussions was a series of recommendations based on feedback from the Dutch experts and workshop participants. The ideas were presented at the final session Tuesday night, which was hosted by SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin and ended with a speech from Supervisor David Chiu.

On Market Street, the vision was a green carpet of “continuous, safe, attractive” bike lanes that separate cyclists and motor vehicles while reducing the speed and volume of private autos. The recommendations could be incorporated into the Better Market Street planning process, said Kit Hodge, the deputy director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

The SFBC has been pushing for a continuous ribbon of bikeways on Market for awhile now. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Chiu’s resolution calling on the SFMTA to implement more immediate pilot projects on Market Street to make it car-free ahead of a 2015 makeover.

The suggestion for Polk Street was curbside protected bike lanes, bus bulbs and other enhancements that “improves the pedestrian experience and enhances transit access.” Polk Street, a major north-south connection for cyclists, is in dire need of improved bike facilities. The ideas could be implemented in 2013 as part of a planned repaving.

Along The Wiggle, on Scott Street, the focus was on converting a few blocks into a “slow shared street,” with a planted traffic circle at the Page Street intersection. This would deter the cut-through traffic on Scott. There would also be sidewalk plantings for more greenery.

“With the Wiggle, I think it’s a very exciting vision that draws on the community conversations that have been happening for awhile in those neighborhoods and has a lot more emphasis on greenery and neighborhood traffic calming,” said Hodge.

The Think Bike workshops are also happening in other cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles. Damien at Streetsblog L.A. notes that one Dutch official was pretty excited about San Francisco’s revolutionary parklets program.

“What’s heartening about these ideas is nothing is crazy new. It’s definitely fresh thinking, and it was wonderful that people from different worlds could collaborate so well together, but I think it’s also a testament that a lot of neighborhood and community groups have been proposing a lot of these ideas for awhile,” said Hodge. “To see them put on paper in an even more elegant way was fun to watch.”

Download the Tuesday night presentations here: Market [pdf], Polk [pdf] and The Wiggle [pdf]. And if you didn’t catch Leah Shahum’s Streetsblog essay reflecting on her sabbatical in the Netherlands, and how a “Dutch Touch” can help San Francisco bicycle to greatness, by all means do. It’s a great piece.

  • Exciting stuff–a lot here to appreciate!  I’ll comment on the Scott Street section of the wiggle as that is a route I use a lot.

    Like:–eliminating bicycles running stop signs by putting in traffic circle/roundabout at Scott and Page.  (I’d like to see one at Scott and Haight, too.)  Perhaps traffic circles should have speed humps to ensure low speeds by both cars and bicycles?  Also need to strongly convey to both cars and bicycles that if pedestrians are present, they have priority.
            –making Scott between Haight and Fell a bicycle priority/car-is-guest street and discouraging most cars from using it
            –eliminating bicycles running red light at at Scott/Fell by making Scott one way going north that block (except for bikes, which are still allowed to go south). I am assuming this will mean that bicycles can turn left even on reds after ceding right-of-way to any crossing pedestrians?
            –some sort of surface treatment on pavement so people can find their way on the Wiggle even in the dark (a green sort of yellow brick road effect?)
            –lots of additional greenery

    Dislike:  not much of anything.  Put it in!

    The one question that lingers is how this portion of Scott will link up to some kind of protected bike lanes of Fell/Oak. Will both Fell and Oak have lanes or will there be a protected two-way lane on one or the other?  If there were a protected two-way lane on Oak that reached from Scott to Baker, then we wouldn’t need all the changes on Scott between Oak and Fell. But if the route to the Panhandle still involved Fell, then that block is very important.

  • Sprague

    Great ideas, Karen, and great ideas shown in the article, too. I like the “channelized” right turn path proposed for cyclists turning right from Duboce onto Steiner. Especially if there’s a crosswalk to protect the right-of-way for peds here this helps accomodate cyclists nicely by allowing them to legally roll through the intersection. All of the proposed bulb-outs, along the Wiggle and elsewhere, are great to calm traffic and improve pedestrian safety. SF has a long way to go to catch up with European cities with great cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, but at least we’re moving in the right direction. Thank you for covering this!

  • Cyclingdutchman

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