Eyes on the Street: Folsom Buffered Bike Lane Goes Green

Photo: ##SFMTA Livable Streets/Facebook##https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=628507963854987&set=pb.129234557115666.-2207520000.1386148970.&type=3&theater##

The new, wider buffered bike lane on Folsom Street in SoMa is getting finishing touches this week as the SFMTA adds green paint where drivers are expected to merge with people on bikes.

“We pushed for green paint at the intersections, and we’re thrilled to see that safety element being added today,” the SF Bicycle Coalition wrote in its newsletter. “We’ll continue to monitor this pilot to see how the design works.”

Folsom commuters: How has your experience been? Does it feel safer? Are drivers using the bike lane, as has been often reported with the similar bike lane on Eighth Street? Let us know in the comments.

Photo: ##https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152177950456833&set=a.87035811832.99215.24379801832&type=1&theater##SFBC/Facebook##
  • Jason

    Rode it for the first time this morning. Certainly feels a lot safer having a few feet between the trucks, buses and me.

    Had one person who made a right turn onto Folsom freak out and FLOOR IT between me and a bus (on the hashed out buffer) which was scary, but hopefully won’t happen as people get used to it.

    I suspect the mid-block sections could use soft-hit posts, but amazingly I didn’t see people driving in it except for the sections where it’s dashed for turning folks. This was around 3:15pm.

    Up at 4th and Folsom though, the bike lane was completely covered by cars trying to merge for the right turn lane.

    I think they should put a green bike box at 4th and Folsom, where trucks tend to run people over to, to encourage cyclists to be directly in front and visible while waiting at the light.

    I look forward to riding this route a few more days and getting a better feel for it. It felt like it worked better than it might otherwise because the cross-streets are one-way, so only every other block has cars turning right onto Folsom.

  • Greg Costikyan

    I used to avoid N-S streets in SoMa as much as possible, as they were all pretty scary, barring Thompson (heading south; heading north, the corner at 4th is particularly problematic,and indeed the site of a famous fatality). The problem with the lane on 8th St, which I used often, is that, with the buffer, it’s as wide as a car lane, and in heavy traffic, cars or taxis often use it to scoot by the traffic, swerving into it unpredictably and heedless of the fact that it’s ostensibly for bikes. At least from your pic, the Folsom bike lane looks narrow enough that it won’t have that problem, at least, and seems useful. I would certainly check the Folsom lane out, except that, as I’m now in NY, it’s unlikely I will have the opportunity in the near term.

  • Cycled down Folsom this morning: very nice. Green sections a definite improvement over the 8th Street lack thereof. Of course it could be better, but this shows some guts and creativity at the SFMTA to get this down this fast. Thanks you!

  • Luis

    Definitely has improved my morning commute- feels much more comfortable, though ideally they’d put in some posts to more forcibly separate things. I have seen one truck using it, but that was before the green lanes went in (and they did pull out after a block, I think when they realized what was going on). Weirdly it doesn’t have many *bike symbols*, which probably doesn’t help.

  • timsmith

    Thompson?

  • jamiewhitaker

    I will guess Thompson = Townsend

  • Upright Biker

    Rode it last night, on purpose. It was, by and large, a significant improvement. However, just like 8th St, there were some cars riding in the bike lane where it wasn’t marked green, and of course the obligatory FedEx truck used it as a convenient loading zone.

    When I asked the FedEx driver to “please, don’t park in the bike lane” he scolded me with “you can go around.”

    When, oh, when are we going to get raised bike lanes at the curb, protected from traffic by a nice, solid row of parked cars?

  • coolbabybookworm

    I ride folsom regularly and as with 8th street, when it’s free of cars it’s a definite improvement. It’s nice to actually have some space from both vehicle traffic and parked cars. Folsom before was particularly narrow it felt. That said, when the lane is filled with cars, it can feel more harrowing moving into vehicle lanes around them than it did before.

    Keep in mind that this is a pilot and will be in the ground for 1.5 years while the environmental review for Central Corridor is being completed. Then they’ll move forward with more permanent plans for Folsom including a scheduled repaving in 2015, I believe, and potentially two way protected cycle tracks. What a dream.

  • Upright Biker

    Would love to see that happen. When it does, I suggest we name the cycle track “Boulevard l’Amelie.”

  • I must admit that I’m hoping for a cycle track on each side of a two way Folsom, not a single two direction track. Though I’d still be wild with joy to see a two-way cycle track implemented, it seems odd to me in an urban setting, sort of giving up on the street as a civilized urban space. In Copenhagen the two-way tracks are pretty much reserved for their higher speed bike arterial system, much of which threads through parks and greenways. We’ll get there. Incremental, visible, ongoing, improvement guided by a bold vision please!

  • coolbabybookworm

    That may end up happening instead and a two-way Folsom is part of the environmental review. My point is that this is a pilot that was put in over the course of the month to improve biking conditions (and it has), but we should still push for better.

  • Beef Vindaloo

    Until there is an actual physical separation between bike lanes and car lanes (parked cars, raised bike lane, etc), there will ALWAYS be cars that violate the silly white lines painted on the ground. Problem is, even if 98% of car traffic respects and abides by the law and doesn’t violate the lines painted on the ground, it only takes a handful of scofflaws to completely destroy the safety that the bike lane is supposed to provide in the first place. A single double-parked delivery truck or a single unpredictable taxicab swerving into the wide bike lane is enough to undermine the safety of anyone on a bike using that lane.

  • Treasure

    How is this gutsy and creative? It’s the same design as 8th Street and that street is considered a failure of a bike lane.

  • jd_x

    You mean, Boulevard d’Amelie?

  • Upright Biker

    Ah. I stand corrected. Studied German in college…

  • EugeneF

    It’s fantastic, but not yet complete. It’s lacking any “bicycle” symbols on the pavement at this point. Even without those symbols, cars are mostly staying out of it…with the notable exception of some shuttlebus driver who responded to my window tap and “you’re driving in the bike lane” with a string of profanities.

  • mikesonn

    Possibly but what “famous fatality” happened at 4th & Townsend?

  • AEK

    A definite improvement, although drivers still don’t seem to grasp the significance of the upgrades. Is there any hope of the plastic barriers as seen on Market Street and perhaps some signage to help drive the point home that Folsom won’t be a freeway for much longer?

  • finky
  • Gezellig

    That’s a sweet, thoughtful idea—to dedicate it to her (in whatever language) as long as her family approves.

    Amelie Le Moullac Cycletrack.

  • Ion Feldman

    Took it this morning and saw two different cars make right hook turns from the left of the bike lane. Very dangerous. This lane is a huge improvement over what was there before, but with cars making dangerous right turns, and no enforcement of double parking, I can only hold hope that separated cycle avenues are in San Francisco’s future.

  • IHeartPandas

    I rode on it yesterday early afternoon, when traffic was relatively light. It’s a good start but could be even better — there were quite a few FedEx, UPS, and other trucks double-parked in the bike lane.

    I’d love to see the pilot extended all the way to Embarcadero, and on Howard as well. And I’d like to add soft-hit posts too.

  • Go all the way to 1st street please with this pilot! Jane Kim has been asking for that. Let’s not wait for another death to make Folsom safe in this segment.

  • mikesonn

    Possibly. And 4/Town sucks beyond all belief. Talk about FUBAR.

  • Senna

    San Francisco should look to Copenhagen or downtown Vancouver to see what real bike lanes are supposed to look like. I felt 100% safe biking in those cities but refuse to bike in SF!

  • NoeValleyJim

    When will Gascon press charges against the truck driver who killed Amelie?

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