After the SFMTA last week announced another delay for safety improvements on three blocks of Fell and Oak Streets, work began today on another aspect of the project: a reconfiguration of Baker Street between Oak and Fell, which is used by eastbound bicycle riders to connect from the Panhandle to Oak and the Wiggle. As of this afternoon, the previous striping had been removed and temporary markings put in place.
The SFMTA’s plans for Baker include converting car parking on the west side of the street from parallel spaces to back-in angled spaces, which will partially offset the roughly 100 spaces to be removed by the Fell and Oak protected bike lanes. By making that change, along with perpendicular space conversions on Baker between Oak and Haight Streets and Scott Street south of Haight, 43 parking spaces will be added (another 14 spaces are being created by removing two bus stops on Hayes Street at Broderick and Lyon Streets).
The work on Baker between Fell and Oak also includes an adjustment to traffic lanes: Previously, Baker consisted of four lanes along the entire block, with the two center lanes both reserved for left-turning vehicles. Now those left turn lanes will be shortened to make room for the angled parking spaces. The SFMTA’s plans also call for green-backed sharrows, bike boxes, and pedestrian bulb-outs along this block of Baker.
With this work to ensure that car owners aren’t too heavily inconvenienced by safer streets now well underway, the question is whether bike commuters will actually have to wait until the end of the year, as SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin said last week, to see a three-block protected lane on Oak and protective concrete planters.