This Weekend’s Traffic Frenzy: A Success for Sustainable Transportation?

The SFMTA created a temporary separated bike lane on the Embarcadero this weekend. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

This weekend’s massive convergence of events saw possibly one of SF’s largest influxes of travelers ever. And by many accounts, the city’s efforts to get visitors to come by transit, foot, and bike were largely a success.

No doubt, transit riders were packed: BART saw 319,484 riders on Saturday, blowing its previous weekend ridership record of 278,586 out of the water. SFMTA officials estimated Muni took on an extra 100,000 to 135,000 extra riders each day, according to the Chronicle.

The bike counter on Fell Street counted a record 4,000 bikes on Saturday. Image via SFMTA's Livable Streets Facebook page

The surge of bicycle traffic “Wiggling” it to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival also broke the single-day ridership record for the SFMTA’s bicycle counter on Fell Street, which counted 4,000 bikes on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a Mercury News headline read, ”traffic woes [went] mostly unrealized” throughout the Bay Area.

Around the Embarcadero, the SFMTA tested out some of the strategies in the People Plan, which is aimed at facilitating car-free travel to the America’s Cup yacht races. The agency set aside a widened, physically separated area for pedestrians and bicyclists on the Embarcadero in the northbound direction. That allowed planners to test out the impacts of removing a traffic lane to inform plans for improvements during the main races next year, as well as any possible permanent changes further down the road.

A 47-Limited bus uses the transit-only northbound lane set aside on a block of Polk Street. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Muni also ran limited-stop bus service on the 47 line throughout the weekend, sectioning off a transit-only block for northbound traffic on Polk Street. That helped ensure buses didn’t get caught up behind car traffic during its turnaround on the north end.

How was your experience moving around the city this weekend? Was it a breeze, or did being packed on a Muni bus stuck in traffic put a damper on your plans? Let us know in the comments.

A sign that bicycling is "in": Families were among the flocks of people coming by bike to watch the America's Cup and Fleet Week events near Fort Mason. Photo: Aaron Bialick