Construction Crews to Reduce Ped/Bike Hazards at 1844 Market

Changes will be made to better accommodate people walking and biking past the construction site at 1844 Market Street, seen here on August 3. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Last week, we wrote about a construction site on Market Street where bicycle commuters were forced into a traffic lane with trolley tracks and cars. The situation exemplified a lack of consideration for the safety of people walking and biking sometimes found at construction sites when enforcement of safety requirements is lacking.

But the attention brought on by the Streetsblog post apparently helped the SF Bicycle Coalition remedy the situation at 1844 Market Street. “Thanks to that article, we worked with [SF Municipal Transportation Agency] Permitting Division to order the construction company to complete that phase of the project by 5:00 PM, to help reduce disruptions to evening bicycle traffic,” SFBC Program Manager Marc Caswell wrote in today’s weekly SFBC member newsletter. “And, when they need to close the right lane during the day, they will be required to have a person directing traffic and the construction company will position the truck so bicycle riders can ride past without entering the track lane.”

This is promising news, and hopefully a sign that people walking and biking will be running into fewer hazards during the city’s construction boom. After all, shouldn’t it be a given that, whenever possible, crews need to maintain Safe Paths of Travel? (SPOT is the acronym for the SFMTA’s construction education and enforcement program.)

While many construction sites do accommodate walking and biking, instances of poor consideration for vulnerable street users do crop up from time to time. Just look at a recent “People Behaving Badly” segment, filed by KRON 4’s Stanley Roberts on the same day as our post, which points the finger at pedestrians for ignoring signs at construction sites where sidewalks were closed, including 1844 Market and two other sites in SoMa.

While drivers enjoyed the luxury of multiple traffic lanes, crews dismissed people’s natural tendency to take the most direct route available, posting signs telling pedestrians to backtrack to the nearest crosswalk — a time-consuming detour. Roberts, with his regular letter-of-the-law, ratings-driven approach, called the people walking in the road “stuupid” [sic].

As Streetsblog intern Robert Prinz pointed out in the comments section, however, “the real stupidity is in not accommodating [pedestrians] in the first place.”

  • Sprague

    Thanks for drawing attention to ped/bike safety issues and helping influence their alleviation.

  • guest

    Thanks for your work getting this fixed!  I walked by last night and saw that they had fenced off the street parking for use as a temporary sidewalk, and the bike line was accessible.  I’m glad they’re now taking steps to accommodate pedestrians and bikers during the day as well.

  • mikesonn

    Streetsblog FTW!

  • Anonymous

    Just rode by this and it is great now. Thanks for shining a light.

  • Gneiss

    I agree – And as an aside, Mr. Roberts should be told that the ‘people behaving badly’ in his recent segment were not pedestrians, but the construction site managers who set up that awlful sign pattern.

  • BTinSF

    No way would I walk all the way back to the corner and cross busy/wide Market St. TWICE to get around that site.  I’d ignore their cones first or walk around in the street.  It’s very common in this town for all manner of people from construction and maintenance crews to cops to simply ignore the hardship imposed on others in the name of their own convenience (how many times have you seen a cop unnecessarily block a lane of traffic?).  So the people have to take matters into their own hands and do what they must to get on with life.