It’s Not That Hard to Find People Who Like the JFK Bikeway

Just a hunch: Might the kids riding in front of Stanley's camera like the new bike lane? Image: ## 4##

Much has been made about the “strangeness” of San Francisco’s first parking-protected bike lane in Golden Gate Park, which employs the type of design that other American cities are increasingly using to improve safety and raise bicycling rates.

As someone who lives next to Golden Gate Park, I’ve been going out of my way to ride on John F. Kennedy Drive almost every day since the easternmost section was installed a few weeks ago. The sense of safety and dignity that the protected bikeway affords is highly enjoyable. And day by day, as more drivers grow acclimated to the new arrangement and fewer block the bike lane, I’ve watched a growing number of children and casual bicyclists enjoy riding on a calmer, quieter street in a space that truly belongs to them.

Callie, 7, gives the new bikeway a thumbs-up. Photo: Aaron Bialick

There are ample signs that drivers are getting used to it. In fact, after crews striped the second of three sections yesterday between the de Young Museum and Stow Lake Drive, I found all the cars parked where they’re supposed to be.

Still, floating parking lanes are new to San Francisco, and some members of our local media just can’t resist sensationalizing this transitional phase, focusing on the initial complaints of a few people who aren’t used to it yet. When KRON’s Stanley Roberts went out to JFK Drive last week, he seemingly ignored the swaths of riders, young and old, who use the reconfigured lane. “It was hard for us to find someone who likes it,” he told viewers.

Well, it wasn’t hard for me as I made my way along JFK Drive yesterday. Pretty quickly, I found Colleen and her 7-year-old daughter Callie, who live in the Inner Richmond and regularly bike in the park twice a day. They said the new separation from cars makes them feel safer.

“I think that once the car drivers get used to it, it’ll be easier,” Colleen said. “Right now, they’re confused, and once they understand they’re not supposed to park in the bike lane, it’ll be good.”

Jesse, who parks on JFK Drive to coach his son's baseball team, thinks the new configuration is better. Photo: Aaron Bialick

I also spoke to Jesse, a father who regularly parks his car on JFK when he coaches his son’s little league baseball team. Standing in the new buffer zone, which keeps bicyclists and motor vehicle passengers out of each other’s way as people get in and out of their cars, he told me he likes it. The only concern he noted was the need to remind kids to watch for bike traffic as they cross the lane.

“From the driving experience, it’s better,” he said. “If you’re on the road, the bikes are safer, and there’s separation between the motorists and the bicyclists.”

As in cities like New YorkPortland, Chicago, and Long Beach, where these kinds of bikeways have been successfully implemented, there’s an adjustment period, but people seem to be getting used to it fairly quickly.

The real story that Roberts missed is that JFK Drive represents the future: a street design that helps a broader segment of San Francisco feel comfortable biking around the city.

Photo: Aaron Bialick
The newly-striped stretch next to Stow Lake Drive. Photo: Aaron Bialick
New stretch next to the Rose Garden by the de Young Museum. Photo: Aaron Bialick
This group even found plenty of room to do squats while they were unloading. Photo: Aaron Bialick
  • peternatural

    I previously wrote a lukewarm comment about the new configuration of JFK Drive, based on the narrow bike lane squeezed next to parked cars and the risk from pedestrians stepping from the parking area into the bike lane without warning.

    But since then I’ve come around to thinking that most of the problems I experienced have been due to people parking incorrectly. As long as they stay in the designated parking areas, the arrangement works pretty well. When cars park directly in the bike lane, or in the striped no-parking areas next to the lane, the safety aspects are compromised, and bicyclists have to ride slower to compensate.

    So basically, me gusta (provided a little enforcement minimizes bad parking 😉

  • James Figone

    Jiczano has a point.  The new roadway is hideous and that is because the blight of the automobile is now much more clear for all to see. Before, 4/5 lanes of automobiles were spread out over the entire width of the road whereas they are now compressed into the center of the road.  It is time to ban cars from the park just as they are on the verge of doing in NYC.

  • A Kod.

    They took an area that flowed well, was safe and looked nice and made it a narrow mess for bikes, peds and cars. They slapped a ton of red and white paint on the curbs and decided it worked. I saw a family unloading kids from a car who were standing in the bike lane and almost get hit by a guy on a touring bike and an older lady on a giant Schwinn tricycle (kids who would usually stand on the grass after they jumped out of the car).  Like the painted “unloading zone” hash marks were supposed to help?  And no, “control your kids” isn’t the retort to this – kids are kids, even with the best of parents. The design looked nice on paper I’m sure but the area is now super narrow with a lot of blind spots and it also looks congested. They wrecked it for bikes, peds and cars alike.  Bad SFMTA move.
    For the record, I’m a City resident, avid cyclist (and have been for 25 years) and very open minded between bikes and cars.And the last picture above – “This group even found plenty of room to do squats while they were unloading. ” – They’re in a disabled parking space.

  • Gneiss

    It was safe only for confident, experienced bicyclists.  While I’m a little uneasy with the lanes thinking that it restricts my speed a little, my wife loves it, particularly with our daughter on the tag along.  The perception of safety with a separated lane away from motorists gives people who are not confident a place where they can ride without fear that a car will hit them from behind if they wobble, or door them from the side. 
    It is ‘inconvenient’ only for those vehicular cyclists who enjoyed mixing it up with cars.  

  • A Kod.

    Not from what I saw.  I saw little kids cruising in the new bike lane with people unloading cars running across it – without looking for bikes coming.  Didn’t seem very safe to me.

  • Anonymous

    I ride the new cycle track as a daily commuter and find it a pleasant new addition to the area. I can relax a bit more than I used to –  which to me is a worthwhile tradeoff for riding a wee bit slower than I did when I was riding along the car traffic prior to this project. There are compliance and implementation issues for this project – but, the trends I am seeing daily are that these are resolving – the extension of the parking into the buffer zone being one of the trickier holdouts. During the weekdays, the double parking in the track has all but evaporated. Weekend pressures still generate problems – and I believe they will only dissipate once SFMTA gets serious about enforcement.

    Where the cars are parked in demarcated space, there is plenty of room for both bikes and pedestrians exiting their cars. The buffer zone next to legal parking spots is wide enough for car doors to open without endangering cyclists and I have seen plenty of folks from kids to seniors successfully negotiating the buffer and bike lane crossing.

    The speed of car traffic has slowed in the project area, making this section of park feel more like park and less like parkway.

    This contrasts with the stretch between Transverse drive and Spreckels Lake where I often feel squeezed between parked cars throwing their doors open without looking and cars speeding on the westbound downhill stretch and the 30th Avenue intersection where it is the exception that cars actually stop at the stop sign particularly when turning West. I happily take the lane in these circumstances, which occasionally has led to honking and verbal insubordination from “inconvenienced” drivers who resent being slowed to the 25 MPH that I usually hit on this stretch.

    If I can criticize one aspect of the project it would be the slow stepwise implementation that left the project area ill-defined for the first three months of this year, and this gradual stepwise implementation that sows confusion in all user communities.

    I would encourage people to withhold judgement until the project is completed and real enforcement, and thus compliance, improves. In the mean time, I think we are all served best by trying to be courteous to one another, a bit more forgiving, and a bit more conscious of each other as we adjust to this change.

  • Benmullin333

    Very bad experience bicycling JFK last Saturday!  It’s stressful.  

    The parked cars make a wall you can’t see around.  Peds would jump into the bike lane, and then there is nowhere to go.  I miss the visibility from having a wide open street to bicycle in, even if I have to share it with cars.  

    It also really slowed down bicycle speed to a crawl.  Always had to stop for pedestrians and stopped bicycles.  

  • mikesonn

    I guess I’ll weigh in. I rode it on Saturday around 1:30 pm (going west) and it was great. Only problem I saw was when a car was parked into the “loading zone”, but the lane was clear the whole way.

    Heading back around 6 (going east), it was also clear. I’m pretty indifferent to the design, but if I had to choose I think I’d go with this new design. But really, for the millionth time, we just need to eliminates private autos from the equation all together. It is a park not a parking lot.

  • A Kod.

    Not everyone can take Muni to get to the park so where should people park if they have to drive?

  • Benmullin333

    Hey folks-  Please like this page to demonstrate that we’d like our old JFK back:


  • At Ryder Courts Park in San Mateo? Plentiful parking.

  • Aaron Bialick

    Okay, so let’s call this what it really is: “We want to force everybody, young and old, who wants to ride a bike on John F. Kennedy Drive back into the space between parked cars and moving cars.”

  • A Kod.

    Aaron – that was a bit of a leading comment.  I don’t think anyone wants to “force” anyone into a dangerous situation – just implement in a way that’s better for everyone.  Peds, Bikes and drivers alike.

  • Aaron Bialick

    @3db7270ba8eb44adbf3bd9cf40590271:disqus He said “We’d like our old JFK back.” Under the “old JFK” design, everyone who wanted to get on a bike outside of a few hours on Sunday had to ride between moving cars and parked cars.

  • mikesonn

    I’m glad to see that after 2 hrs, there is still only 1 like for this facebook group. And way to mislead with that picture from 4/20 (first week of the project and also everyone under the influence). Maybe can lend you some of their expertise on parking issues.

  •  Benmullin333, A Kod and additional aliases,

    The world is changing. The way of life you are used to is going away. If you are a 1%er, yes you will always have a car and you will always be able to park in it in GG Park in the underground garage. You may resent paying for what you used to get for free, but hey, you can afford it! You’re a 1%er!  Or you can ride your really fun electric bike to the park. Or you can have your chauffeur drop you off. Heck, you may even have your own flying car! Lots of options!

    If you’re a 2-5%er, you will also likely have a car for the foreseeable future but you will probably only have one for your household, and you’ll probably drive many less miles than you do now because the energy required to fuel it, either with electricity or gasoline, will be expensive enough you will feel it. Your car will be very useful for some things so you’ll keep it, but you (and/or your children) will also make use of transit, walking and biking as well.

    There are a lot of wealthy people in San Francisco so even after world-wide oil production available for export drops in half, there are going to be cars in this city.  (Zipcars and City Carshare will no doubt make economic sense for infrequent use by many, many people.) But the majority of households (2/3rds?) won’t own a car because this is actually one of the few places in the country you can have a pretty fine lifestyle without one. As energy prices climb, rents will increase here while far-flung suburbia will become dirt cheap. People who really, really can’t live without a car will need to live somewhere cheaper (i.e. where other people don’t want to live) so that they can afford the myriad car-related costs. When they leave, they’ll be replaced with a whole generation of young people eager to live where cars are unnecessary. (This is already happening.)

     If you are not one of the top 5% in income in the US, think long and hard about protecting a privilege you not only are unlikely to share in but one that will cost you on many fronts–in the taxes you pay for road maintenance, in your likelihood of getting cancer or another form of lung disease from car exhaust, in the noise level of your neighborhood, in the lower property value of your house should you live a on heavy-traffic street, in the public transit you will rely on being slowed down from car-induced congestion, in greater danger when you bike and walk. Consider this: if you didn’t own a car, would you still want to protect the ability of lots and lots of cars to drive through GG Park?

    Already 30% of San Franciscan households do not possess cars. San Francisco is gaining population and density. This means the rate of car ownership must decline even further because there simply isn’t enough room for both more people and more cars. World oil production has plateaued; domestic oil consumption in oil-exporting countries (such as Saudi Arabia) is increasing; oil available for export is decreasing; and China and India are competing with us more and more fiercely to buy the dwindling available oil. (See China and India resisting Iranian Oil Boycott. See US backing down.) The US has made small gains in some types of domestic oil production while production from old fields has dropped. None of it is nearly enough to keep up with consumption. The numbers involved are gargantuan. On average the US produced 5,672,600 barrels of crude oil per day last year. On average we imported 9,012,808 barrels of crude oil per day last year.  We are addicted to and dependent on foreign oil that we can’t control and that is gradually declining in supply. This is not a good predicament to be in. New (and expensive) extraction technology may let the world consume the remaining oil faster and keep us on the production plateau a little longer, but then the drop off will be all the sharper when it comes.

    The longer we resist transitioning to lower-energy transportation options, the more vulnerable we are to geo-politics and the greater the economic pain we will inflict upon ourselves. (Not to mention consumption of fossil fuels puts the entire planet at risk and we are all best off leaving as much of it in the ground as possible. Not to mention people are happier and healthier when they have the chance to bike or walk 30 minutes each day.) Another way to look at it:  as gasoline grows more and more expensive (or, alternatively, gasoline remains static but the average person grows poorer) do you want to live in a city full of impoverished car-addicts who become furious as their way of life proves more and more unworkable, or a city full of healthy, fit walkers, bikers, and transit riders who have already adapted to circumstance and have prospered because of it? The cities that make this transition first will reap economic gains (assuming sea level rise doesn’t put them underwater.) The cities that make the transition last are unlikely to survive at all.

  • guest

     Karen: the museums in the parks aren’t just visited by locals.

  •  Guest,

    Luckily even visitors can take the N-Judah (the Academy gives a $3 discount on admission if you take transit, the DeYoung gives $2) or park in the enormous underground garage (entrance off 10th street so your car never enters the park.) Pretty soon they will be able to rent a bikeshare bike from downtown or Caltrain and bike there. (My understanding is after the downtown bikeshare program gets off the ground, it is to be expanded to main tourist sites.)

    When I visit New York City I never ever rent a car. (Same with Paris. Same with London.) Why? It’s expensive! There’s nowhere to park! Traffic is crazy and mind-bogglingly complex! I might inadvertently run someone over! I walk or take the subway instead. Next time I’m there, if I’m brave, I may try bikeshare. Have never figured out the buses in NYC. Am generally too cheap to take a cab when walking will do.

  • mikesonn

    If only the people who needed to drive to the park did (you can even include non-locals), then a huge part of the traffic problem disappears. You then address visitors (which I doubt is really many at all, but whatever) by providing hotels with info packets for best Muni routes, how-to-ride pamphlets, etc. Now you are looking at barely any traffic in the park so the argument that EVERYONE needs to be able to drive to the park because what about [insert group of people being exploited by car owners] goes right out the window.

  • Personally, i don’t care for it. I didn’t feel unsafe before, i always watch where i’m going when surrounded by parked and especially moving cars.
    Actually, the only time i was seriously injured was during a Sunday Streets… i let me guard down and somebody wasn’t watching their 5yo ride diagonally into my front wheel, nor did anyone care to see if i was okay when i flipped off and the kid started crying when he saw my blood. Oh wells.
    I suppose to true test will be during all the summer music festivals.
    Of course, my concern isn’t for one or the other. I am both cyclist and occasional driver.
    There is a ‘safety cushion’ for cyclists– super! Although, when i drove through the other day, i saw more cyclists in the ‘parking spaces’.
    Parking in slightly more confusing for people– i’ve seen a lot more crooked parking jobs and more confusion as to where to park (therefor parking in the wrong places).
    The car-driving roads are narrower, turns and curves are wobbly, sometimes sharp. The lines are no longer smooth. (Other drivers kept swerving into my lane– nervous– oh that’s just how the road goes now)
    Anyhow… i don’t think it was a bad idea to make it more bike friendly.
    It just doesn’t look like a good job was done. ie: half-assed, sloppy, drunk?
    I certainly think some better planning could have been done.
    Only time will tell.

  • Anonymous

    @3db7270ba8eb44adbf3bd9cf40590271:disqus wrote: “Not everyone can take Muni to get to the park so where should people park if they have to drive?”

    First, if the only people who drove in the park *truly* needed to drive to be there, then our problems would be mostly solved. The reality is: the vast majority of people driving in the park can take public transit, walk, or cycle yet simply do not *want* to. Right now, GGP is half used by people using it as either a shortcut or a parking lot while they visit the Inner Sunset or other surrounding neighborhoods.

    Therefore, in answer to your question, if you want more parking for that minority of people who truly need it, you should be out and about campaigning against all the people mindlessly using our park as a shortcut or for a lazy Sunday drive (while completely ignoring that their drive — since they’re in a car that weighs thousands of pounds and is dangerous, loud, and polluting — detracts from others’ ability to enjoy the park).

  • Anonymous

    @twitter-408729243:disqus wrote: “The car-driving roads are narrower, turns and curves are wobbly,
    sometimes sharp. The lines are no longer smooth. (Other drivers kept
    swerving into my lane– nervous– oh that’s just how the road goes now)”

    Ah, but this is exactly what slows drivers down, and that is a great thing in a park (especially since it is questionable that cars should even be allowed in the park in the first place) since it makes it safer for pedestrians and cyclists (who should be far and away the #1 priority in a park). Also, as a cyclist, if you have parked cars between you and the moving cars as you do with a cycletrack, how can the moving cars swerve into you?

  • @5c1141318c642f70110bce61e40741cc:disqus did you attend public comment meetings or submit written feedback? I asked the people who are complaining about bike lanes on Oak / Fell that so it seems only fair.

    I think I prefer the old setup but I don’t care that much. If it makes some people feel safer then that’s good.

  • mikesonn

    @jd_x:disqus I’m surprised you tried to make sense of @twitter-408729243:disqus comment. I was lost.

  • Gregski

    I couldn’t agree more. Your key phrase is “room to Maneuver”. This design reduces that room for everyone. Taking away people’s escape space does NOT enhance safety.

  • Gregski

    Compared to the status quo ante this abominable design restricts EVERYONE’S room to maneuver. Moving cars, exiting passengers and human-powered vehicles all have less space to avoid collisions and close calls than they had before. According to the MTA’s guidance, to make left turns cyclists must ride straight across the intersection, come to a complete stop (hope they don’t get rear-ended by another cyclist following them) shuffle their bikes 90 degrees counterclockwise (that move can block most of the bike path) and then cross the intersection. This is an improvement?

    And when some 4-year-old little girl escapes her mom’s arms, scampers out the back of an SUV into the bike lane and gets her scull knocked to the pavement by some dope dealer on a skateboard the people of San Francisco are going to be much more curious than they are today about how this ill-conceived monstrosity came into being. Oh well, I guess it’s worth turning a few kids into invalids to accomodate a few cowardly cyclist-wannabees. The MTA acknowledged publicly that the most committed, experienced cyclists, the cyclists who are best acquainted with real-life road dangers and how to deal with them, were opposed to this design. But hey, why accept any counsel from the people who know best?

  • Anonymous

     “And when some 4-year-old little girl escapes her mom’s arms, scampers
    out the back of an SUV into the bike lane and gets her scull knocked to
    the pavement by some dope dealer on a skateboard the people of San
    Francisco are going to be much more curious than they are today about
    how this ill-conceived monstrosity came into being.”

    So different than today’s case when the 4 year old escapes mom’s arms, scampers out into the car lane and gets her scull knocked to the pavement by some dope dealer driving a car. So long as the driver stops and cooperates with Police, it becomes an “unfortunate accident.”

  • By your definition all our roads are ill-conceived monstrosities. Plenty of small children have died on our streets. Where was your outrage?

  • Peapod mom

    “[T]the most committed, experienced cyclists, the cyclists who are best acquainted with real-life road dangers and how to deal with them, were opposed to this design.”

    Hmm. Sorry we cyclists with kids on front and back, older folks, and, uh, the entire nations of Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc. disappoint you with our perpetual state of inexperience and non-commitment.

  • Dave Snyder

    It’s better than the status quo in my opinion so I’m glad you reported on that. 

  • Dave Snyder

    (oops clicked ‘post’ too soon) … but it still creates a pretty bad cycling experience. The feeling of constriction that you get as a user of the cycle track is unpleasant. It feels like you’re riding next to a parking lot. It will be really hard to get car parkers to keep within the lines unless you build little barriers, but those are not a good idea because they will impede the wonderfulness of the street when it’s closed. 

    A much better idea for the JFK Drive cycletrack is a two-way cycle track on one side of the street. There are so few intersections that it could easily be made safe, and there’s plenty of room to create a generously wide one: the combined width of the cycle tracks varies from 18′ to more typically 22′. 

  • Dave Brem

    Most ridiculous decision. The way it was before worked great, From children & dogs running to and from cars to people who aren’t paying attention and who don’t park properly or tour buses who can’t fit in the spots that have been painted, the decision by city officials to spend funds on this project is one more reason why SF and California are broke. I wish they would have posted their ideas and plans and gotten feed back from people that REGULARLY use this road/park. Bikes can’t pass each other, runner and segways use the bike path and on the weekends when the park is packed it is a serious problem. Who ever thought this was a good idea must not live in the area and ought to be fired.  

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I don’t think I could pass anyone in this narrow space. I mean I couldn’t pass anyone if I were driving a Hummer down the cycletrack. On a bike, it works just peachy. Seriously a bike is usually less than two feet wide – take a look at the picture, compare the width of the cars to the available space. I ride this nearly every day, and find it easy to pass other bikes, easy to give a right of way to crossing pedestrians, easy to merge safely with traffic to make a left turn at Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. Last tour bus I saw parked in its designated spot fit just fine also.  What exactly are you finding so hard here?

    The design actually opens up the viewscape for cyclists to see the actual park, instead of a line of cars between them and the park.

    Is this the best possible design? No. Are there still problems with compliance – people parking their cars in the buffer zones as a demonstration that they really are so unskilled as to not deserve their license? Yes. But it is an improvement for the cycling and pedestrian communities? I would say yes, based on my daily regular use of this space as a cyclist, driver and pedestrian (I live two blocks from the park right next to this track). I would invite anyone to head out and look for themselves and form their own opinions. As a citizen of SF, who lives in this neighborhood and rides this stretch several times a day, I think it is pretty decent and an improvement over what was there before.

  • Fossil Fool

    I feel way more cramped than I used to and I don’t like the view. Also the striping is so cluttered visually. I miss the old way.

  • With these new lanes I have way more room than I used to because to me swerving out into traffic isn’t “room”, it’s entering a danger zone that is stressful, risky, and unpleasant. Though I find most drivers in San Francisco genuinely accommodating of me as a bicyclist, it only takes one in a hundred to honk, yell, swear, name call, buzz by closely to create a miserable biking experience. I am very happy to have my distance from these folks.

    I don’t find it difficult to pass or be passed in these new lanes, and after the first week of driver confusion I have not encountered a car inappropriately parked. I must only use the park during child and dog-free times because random dogs and children darting in front of me have been no problem whatsoever, (unlike the Panhandle path!) Joggers do seem to like the new lanes a lot which is a little unfair given that there is an asphalt path right beside that they could take but they are not all that difficult to get around.

    What I do find is that now cars don’t cut in front of me without looking as they park and leave, which happened to me a lot before. I don’t find cars *driving* down the bike lane like it’s a second car lane for blocks at a time. Now tour buses aren’t constantly idling in the bike lane in front of the Conservatory of Flowers, which happened a lot with the old lanes. And the view is so much better! I get to see trees and flowers to my right instead of parked cars.The noise level as I ride is pleasanter and the air is much better. Just being separated a few more feet from exhaust pipes makes a huge difference in air quality. I hadn’t anticipated that moving the parked cars next to the moving traffic would calm that traffic–this is definitely a feature, not a bug of the new lanes!

    But I can see that a few people must really, really want these new lanes gone to post so regularly and under so many different names. It does show a certain amount of dedication.

    As others have suggested in this thread, I agree that eliminating cars altogether from JFK or reducing JFK to a single lane of one-way car travel (as part of a one-way loop for park users only), or eliminating more parking to create wider bike lanes, all to allow GG Park to accommodate higher future levels of cyclists and pedestrians and create a less polluted, more peaceful park, would be preferable. But these new lanes are a huge step up from the old.

  • Andrew Boone

    To everyone who feels “constricted” and unsafe in the new bike lane: just ride in the street in the middle of the vehicle lane, if you prefer that. It’s perfectly legal. You have to do that already on all our streets that don’t have bike lanes. Which is most of them.

  • Joshua

    Almost everybody seems to like the way the old bike area was (including me) so is there any way to go about fixing this problem with the MTA or what.

  • peternatural

    Most people like it the new way, actually. Thank you, SFMTA!

  • There was no old bike area. Just an ambiguous road space used for double parking, maneuvering into parking spaces, driving, and, yes, bicycling as well.

    Is San Francisco really going to be the only city which rejects cycle tracks? I wish JFK’s track were wider too, but with limited right-of-way (and drivers demanding we keep as much parking as possible) we were only able to get so much room for the cycle lane. Let’s just make sure we push for wider lanes on Fell/Oak when those finally go in.

  • And thanks Karen for your take. That was the most honest description of the JFK experience I’ve read yet.

  • Gregski

    Andrew, will you pay our tickets if we take your advice? We’ll be breaking the law if we do that. California Vehicle Code Section 21208 obligates cyclists to ride within the bike lane when one is present except in a handful of circumstances none of which are chronic conditions on JFK.

  • Gregski

    Dave, the MTA did post ideas and plans and they did solicit and receive feedback. If you read the public comments transcript from the Recs and Park Committee meeting at which this plan was voted into existence you’ll see that experienced cyclists did predict very accurately the congestion, close-calls and incivility that would result from this design. I know because I was one of the speakers who warned the committee in writing and in my public comments. What I have concluded is that the MTA is really unconcerned with the wants and needs of committed cyclists. At the meeting the MTA actually acknowledged that committed cyclists were against separated bike lanes. The MTA’s decisions are now informed by the Bicycle Coalition’s faith-based bike-path religious belief: “If you build it they will come.”  This path was supported by Recs and Park on behalf of cyclist wannabees, not cyclists. Interestingly I did not hear a single one of these wannabees come up to the microphone at that meeting and pledge to dust off their never-ridden-in-15-years bikes and start pedaling JFK Drive as soon as this path was built. No matter. The Coalition believes it speaks for these would-be-cyclists and seems to have convinced the decision-makers that they know exactly what will turn them into cyclists.

  • “any
    person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the
    normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall
    ride within the bicycle lane”The speed limit is 25 MPH. If you can’t sustain that speed (JFK is nominally downhill), I can’t figure why you are complaining about the bike lane slowing you down.

  • @7a0662dc8954176f323a500ece150844:disqus If my bicycle is my primary mode of transportation, am I a “committed cyclist,” or just a “cyclist wannabee”?

    If I’ve lived in a city (Aarhus, Denmark) that has today reached 20 percent bike trips largely through the implementation of protected bike lanes (which I commuted on with many others daily), is it “religious” for me to think we can do the same thing here?

  • Gregski

    Yo Murphastoe, are you paying attention out there? Very little (actually none in my experience) of the traffic in the bike lane is travelling over 13mph. If a cyclist tries to maintain 20+ mph in the new lanes she will eventually have to decelerate as she waits while slower, side-by-side cyclists take their sweet time (only their time is sweet, not anybody else’s) yielding some passing room. Or, if the faster cyclist decides to ride in the left buffer zone (nominally a violation of VC 21208) she will eventually have to decelerate to accommodate car doors and passengers. The reason we can’t sustain 20mph in the constricted bike path is THE CONSTRICTED BIKE PATH.

  • Anonymous

    Overall, I’m really happy with these cycletracks. However, here are my suggestions for improvements:

    – Paint the cycletrack green, at least at intersections. Why aren’t we doing this? Such an easy way to clearly designate the bike lane, and it’s been proven to work:
    – Give tickets/warning to motorists parking partially in the buffer (and of course those who park completely in the cycletrack). The cycletrack doesn’t need to be anymore cramped, especially not from parked cars which are already the bane of the urban cyclist via dooring. It’s really annoying that parked cars are slowly creeping into the buffer lane and almost putting cyclists back into the door zone.
    – Fix all the grates/utility covers so they are smooth. It can be really rough, even dangerous, in some spots. In the future, we need to design our roads to place more emphasis on this.
    – Even better, the cycletrack should really be separated with a curb (like a second, inner sidewalk). This obviously is a more long-term goal, but not only does it 100% keep parked and moving cars out of the way, it keeps road debris (from cars, of course) from collecting in the cycle track.

  •  I am paying attention. You are not READING.

    A cyclist going over 20 MPH should just ride WITH THE CARS, at the “normal speed of traffic” as stated in CVC 21208

  • mikesonn

    @7a0662dc8954176f323a500ece150844:disqus Spoken like a true worshiper of vehicular cycling.

    I ride at a decent clip, even when not really trying, and I had no problem with the new bike lanes when I went through. If I did, I would ride in the vehicle lane, there are plenty of opportunities to “escape” or pass someone who is holding you up. Why is your “sweet time” (it’s always your time that is sweet, not someone else’s) more important than other people’s safety? And really, how much are they holding you up?

  • Gregski

    Mikesonn: Your question presupposes that I consider my time more important than other people’s safety. When did you conclude such a thing? Have you seen me ride?  If not then upon what is your presupposition based? How much I’m being held up is irrelevant. Any amount is inconsiderate if it’s done for no good reason of safety or efficiency. I challenge anyone who has observed my riding, car driving or sidewalk walking to point out any instance in which I have caused traffic behind me to slow down where the route is wide enough for a passing lane, other than (a) temporarily passing slower traffic (b) decelerating behind slower traffic blocking all lanes and (c) swerving around a dangerous obstruction. I locomote a lot. If I can get through my life without blocking others behind me in traffic so can you and everybody else.

  • mikesonn

    @7a0662dc8954176f323a500ece150844:disqus Protected bike lanes are safer. You don’t like protected bike lanes because they slow you down. Your time is more important than other’s safety.

    Not hard to draw that conclusion.

    “How much I’m being held up is irrelevant. Any amount is inconsiderate if it’s done for no good reason of safety or efficiency.”

    You are an interesting one, Greg.