JFK Bikeway Gets Final Approval From Rec and Parks Commission

Image: SFMTA

San Francisco bicycle advocates are celebrating a major milestone after the city’s first parking-protected bike lane cleared its final hurdle yesterday. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commission approved the John F. Kennedy Drive bikeway, which will be installed in Golden Gate Park this December.

“The new, dedicated bikeways coming on JFK Drive will be a great benefit to the growing number of people, including so many families with children as well as seniors, biking in the park,” said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) Executive Director Leah Shahum. “These parking-protected bikeways have been proven in cities such as Portland, Oregon and New York City to make the streets safer and more inviting not only for people biking but also for people walking. And there’s nowhere this is more needed than in a park.”

The bike lane will be the city’s first to place a row of parked cars between motorized traffic and bicycle traffic, protecting bicycle riders from the dangers of passing vehicles and opening car doors. It will also be the first completed project that the SFBC called for in Connecting the City, its plan for a citywide network of protected bikeways.

“As an agency that is committed to providing safe and efficient streets for all users,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, “including cyclists, pedestrians, people with disabilities, and cars, we are pleased that this project has taken a significant step forward.”

Installing the bikeway “allows the city to further enhance our bike network and create a safer environment for those who travel throughout the park. Going forward, we will continue to meet with all stakeholders to gather feedback and answer all questions,” he said.

John F. Kennedy Drive serves as a popular road for recreational cycling as well as a critical connection for cyclists traveling from the Sunset and Richmond districts to one of the city’s most heavily-trafficked bicycle routes along the Panhandle and the Wiggle. Connecting the City envisions a continuous, three-mile “Bay to Beach” bike route all the way from downtown Market Street to Ocean Beach, comfortable enough for anyone 8 to 80 years old.

Bicycle advocates have long called for greater use of protected bikeways instead of the bike lane designs that American cities have historically provided. The shortcomings of those traditional designs help explain why, in San Francisco, “dooring” is the top factor behind cyclist injuries caused by vehicle drivers or passengers. Where implemented, protected lanes have strongly increased cyclist safety and bicycling rates, as well as pedestrian and motorist safety. The world’s most successful cycling countries, like Denmark and the Netherlands, have made protected bike lanes the standard over the past few decades. Recently, American cities like New York, Washington, Chicago and Portland have adopted them.

A plan for protected bike lanes is also being developed for three blocks on Fell and Oak Streets, the second project in the “Bay to Beach” route.

  • Is that the only image from the plan?

  • Aaron Bialick

    There are some more detailed ones in the SFMTA’s PDF presentation here.

  • Anonymous

    We don’t need “protected bike lanes”. We need safe car drivers.

  • peternatural

    (a) We’re not getting safe car drivers.
    (b) Kids (among others) need protected bike lanes.

  • peternatural

    (a) We’re not getting safe car drivers.
    (b) Kids (among others) need protected bike lanes.

  • peternatural

    (a) We’re not getting safe car drivers.
    (b) Kids (among others) need protected bike lanes.

  • Evatoad

    WAHOO!

  • HuckieCA

    This is certainly worth a try, but my big concern with this design is regarding cars making right turns at intersections across the bike lane.  With a row of parked cars between the travel lane and the bike lane, drivers might be even worse than they are right now at spotting bikes and making turns across the bike lane right in front of the cyclists.

  • Aaron Bialick

    As I understand it, parked cars would be kept back a certain distance from intersections to maintain sightlines. More detailed renderings are in this article.

  • Anonymous

    What’s the connection to the Panhandle going to be like?

  • SeventhLaguna

    They’re talking about beefing up the bike lane from Shrader to JFK with a buffer and maybe safe hits – not guaranteed. Going the other way, finally proposing to formalize the left-side bike lane coming from JFK and feeding onto the Panhandle. Still not 8-80, but you can always take a minute and use the per crossing to get to Kezar path.

  • SeventhLaguna

    *ped crossing to get to Kezar path

  • Anonymous

    Hm. The Kezar path is not great because you have to sit through three light cycles on well-trafficked roads to get across to the Panhandle (Kezar, Stanyan & Oak), waiting on the sidewalk, or you have to travel on Page for a block before turning onto Shrader and crossing Oak. Both are circuitous and stressful, I think.

    If I had my druthers, I’d put in a two-way cycletrack replacing the median at the end of Kezar, going straight on into the Panhandle, with a light at Kezar & JFK which could be well-timed with Stanyan. Would require some concrete work, though, so not as cheap.

  • Anonymous

    @peternatural:disqus so what you’re saying then is kids (and others) don’t deserve safe drivers.  Nice. Stay classy.

  • peternatural

    I’m saying we’re not getting safe drivers. Inane fantasies notwithstanding.

  • Anonymous

    @peternatural:disqus the only inanity here is your assertion that people can’t drive cars safely… but i’m sure this thread will be handy in your trial, so keep it up. 

  • this is so true that a The bike lane will be the city’s first to place a row of parked cars between motorized traffic and bicycle traffic…