Parking-Protected Bike Lane Coming to West End of Bay Street

Image: SFMTA

A new type of bike lane design for San Francisco, and perhaps the whole country, is coming to a four-block stretch of Bay Street in the Marina next fall. The street is set to be redesigned with a road diet [PDF] that includes a parking-protected bike lane on one side of the street, with a novel touch — back-in angled parking.

The project will run between Fillmore and Laguna, alongside Marina Middle School and the Moscone Park. It will be the first parking-protected bike lane installed on a typical city street in SF, the only other one being on John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park. While that project included a bike lane placed between the pedestrian walkway and parallel parking spots, the new Bay bike lane will be combined with a back-in angled parking arrangement.

Ben Jose, spokesperson for the SFMTA’s Livable Streets section, said the project prompted by calls for traffic calming improvements from residents along the western end of four-lane Bay Street and near Fort Mason and “assisted-living facilities.”

The redesign “will narrow the roadway, which should reduce speeding and improve pedestrian safety by shortening the crossing distance,” Jose wrote in an email. “Slowing speeds and improving safety by narrowing the roadway is especially important given the nearby school, park, and assisted living facility.”

Currently, that stretch of Bay sees rampant speeding. It has four traffic lanes despite drawing far less car traffic than the rest of the street east of Laguna, where most drivers turn off towards Marina Boulevard and the Golden Gate Bridge. The redesign will remove two of the four traffic lanes west of Laguna, and result in a net addition of one parking space.

The parking-protected portion will include a five-foot buffer between parking spaces and the bike lane. On the other side of Bay, the existing unprotected westbound bike lane will remain alongside parked cars, with a new, painted four-foot buffer to separate it from moving cars.

Bay Street, west of Laguna, as it exists today. Image: Google Street View

The new proposed geometry for the stretch. Image: SFMTA

Wherever angled parking is installed in the city, the SFMTA says it has recently been using the back-in arrangement since it helps drivers pull out of the parking spots safely while removing the danger of the door zone for people on bikes. In recent street redesigns, the SFMTA has typically converted parallel parking to angled parking as a way to make up for spots removed for walking, biking, and transit improvements, even though it eats up more street width. The parallel parking lane on the north side of Bay will be nine feet wide, while the angled parking lane will be 19 feet wide.

Jose said angled parking-protected bike lanes could be expanded depending “on how effective this design proves to be on Bay Street with regards to calming vehicle speeds, enhancing safety for those walking and riding a bike,” and improved visibility for drivers using the parking spots. Other projects have been installed with bike lanes between back-in angled parking lanes and moving motor traffic.

The bike lane will run alongside a block with almost no driveways. Since driveways can complicate parking-protected designs and SF is littered with private garage entrances, similar streets could be difficult to find.

The Bay redesign has already been approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors will be implemented after a road re-paving and sewer work planned for next summer by the Department of Public Works, according to DPW spokesperson Alex Murillo. It would be installed anywhere from late fall to the end of the year, he said.

Image: SFMTA