Eyes on the Street: SFMTA Striping Ladder Crosswalks on the Wiggle

Haight and Pierce Streets. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The SFMTA is installing ladder crosswalks at intersections along the Wiggle.

By increasing the visibility of the pedestrian right-of-way, the new feel they bring even seems to calm bike and car traffic. The crosswalks should also assuage concerns from those who say the growing number of bicycle commuters on the route makes the intersections less comfortable to walk across.

The improvements come along with green-backed sharrows guiding bicycle riders, which crews have installed at three intersections and along Waller Street. The southbound lane of Steiner Street, where a crossing was striped connecting Duboce Park to Herman Street late last year, appears to be slated next, as the old sharrows have been ground off there.

Both the green sharrows and ladder crosswalks arose from the SFMTA’s ThinkBike sessions with Dutch transportation planners.

More photos after the break.

Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanfranciscoize/7253799092/in/set-72157629765183912/##Mark Dreger, San Franciscoize/Flickr##
Waller Street. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanfranciscoize/7253802576/in/set-72157629765183912##Mark Dreger, San Franciscoize/Flickr##
  • jjsmack

    If cyclists not stopping for stop signs is really an issue, they could always paint red “STOP” octagons on the road with a picture of a bike in the octagon, just to drive the point home. Bikes are here to stay, so we all gotta play well together 🙂

  • Upright Biker

    “YIELD” would be more effective. It’s not in anyone’s interest (drivers, pads, bikers) to have bicyclists coming to a complete stop. Should they yield the right of way, especially to peds who are more vulnerable than they are?


  • While I understand the spirit of “the law oughtta be different”, it’s kinda hard to seriously ask a real government agency to post a sign like that that is completely out of sync with the legal reality of “bikes must stop”.  I don’t think you’d even need to have an accident before someone could sue.

  • If the state law allows, I think there ought to be a pilot to put “Bike yield OK” sign below the stop sign to recognize the reality that most cyclists don’t and prefer not to come to a full stop, especially on a designated major bike corridor. It is not unusual to have a crosswalk on a street that does not have a stop sign anyway and that all vehicles are expected to yield for pedestrians on the crosswalk.

  • State law would not allow it. The only move would be to remove all the stop signs and make it an uncontrolled intersection. Which might not be bad except that we are so trained to see stop signs that if we don’t see one we expect the intersection to be a 2 way stop.

  • Anonymous

    It all comes back to the same thing: CA needs to adopt the Idaho stop law.

    Also, though it can’t be signed as a yield, there is no reason the cops can’t enforce it accordingly, i.e., only ticket cyclists who don’t yield or are otherwise reckless. Cops already do this all the time, for example, with speeding on the highway where everybody knows you can go 5-10 mph over without getting pulled over. There are hard laws and then there are soft laws where there’s some acknowledgement that it’s not the letter of the law (coming to a complete stop) that matters but the intent (determine right of way and yielding to pedestrians).

  • Sprague

    These crosswalks seem to clearly improve pedestrian safety.  Why aren’t all crosswalks painted like this?  On a related note, it’s pretty discouraging and dangerous that many crosswalks in SF are faded, worn, and in need of repainting.  By neglecting routine crosswallk maintenance (= painting) this city does a fine job in degrading the pedestrian environment and decreasing pedestrian safety.

  • Or just paint the closest bike sharrows to the crosswalks to warn cyclists to yield.

  •  At least here in Fresno, the argument against painting crosswalks like this (or at all) seems to be that ridiculous “false sense of security” claim.

  •  I am OK with the Idaho stop law but I think if you try to push that in California it would be very unlikely to be successful. If we were to change the law to allow “bike yield OK,” some cities such as SF can pilot and implement this without trying to convince the other less bike-friendly cities to adopt that idea. Full stops can still remain in certain areas if yield for bikes is not safe enough. Rather than a wholesale redefinition of a full stop, let the local jurisdictions to decide base on local conditions.

  • Guest

    That’s great that these pedestrian crosswalks are now striped, but I don’t see how this would stop cyclists from impeding and disrespecting the pedestrian’s right to cross the street. If red lights and stop signs don’t even do that, how would a laddered crosswalk change this behavior? I’ll believe it when I see it!