Bayshore Blvd Gets Buffered Bike Lanes, But “Alemany Maze” Still a Barrier

Bayshore, seen here looking north near Bacon Street, had four traffic lanes reduced to two to make room for buffered bike lanes. Photo: Brian Coyne

The SFMTA extended the buffered bike lanes on Bayshore Boulevard earlier this month from Silver Avenue south to Paul Avenue, reducing four traffic lanes to two. The street now provides a calmer, safer bicycling link for Bayview residents all the way up to where Bayshore ends, at Cesar Chavez Street and the “Hairball” freeway interchange.

The bike lanes were originally slated to go on San Bruno Avenue, which runs parallel to Bayshore on the opposite side of 101, according to the SFMTA website:

This project was originally planned for San Bruno Avenue as part of the 2009 San Francisco Bicycle Plan. However, due to potential conflicts with planned Muni improvements along San Bruno Avenue, the SFMTA has determined that a more appropriate north-south bicycle route between Paul and Silver Avenues would be Bayshore Boulevard because it connects directly with existing bikeways north of Silver Avenue and does not conflict with transit operations.

Traffic analysis was completed that showed that there was not a need to keep four travel lanes.

Chris Waddling of D10 Watch describes: “Pedestrians dash across eastbound Alemany at San Bruno Ave. on their way to the farmers market.” Photo: Chris Waddling

Yet the benefits of the bike lanes and taming speeds on a traffic sewer are largely lost at the “Alemany Maze” — the tangle of looping freeway ramps where 101 and 280 intersect. As D10 Watch author Chris Waddling pointed out, the interchange presents “outright hostile conditions for pedestrians and cyclists,” cutting off access between neighborhoods for those traveling without a car:

Say you want to get from Bayview to a Glen Park BART by bike. Riding the new lanes on Bayshore are now great, but get from Bayshore to the separated bike lane on Alemany at Putnam, and you’re sharing the road with freeway-bound vehicles.

Or say you want to walk from the Portola to the Alemany Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. You either cross illegally at the top of San Bruno Ave or walk an extra 1/4 mile each way to get to the light at Putnam. And if you need one, it’s too bad there’s no ADA ramp for you when you get there.

The benefits of increasing pedestrian and bike access in the area are many: reduced car traffic on Saturday mornings in and around the Alemany Farmers Market; safer access to the Farmers Market for Portola residents; greater access to amenities in the Portola by residents of Bernal Heights; safer access to BART for Portola residents; an opportunity for beautification of the median.

Waddling’s proposed bike and pedestrian path would provide a safer connection on a route that people already use. Image: Chris Waddling

Waddling has one idea for how to improve the connection: Legitimize a dirt path that locals currently use to traverse a triangle-shaped median in the middle of the maze. Currently, people on foot and bike must dodge three lanes of freeway-bound drivers while crossing each side of Alemany Boulevard, which splits into a road couplet around the triangle. The new path would also need crosswalks across Alemany on either side of the triangle, along with a traffic signal or pedestrian-activated beacon. These would improve both safety and access:

Pedestrians would be able to safely access the farmer’s market from the Portola, reducing trips to the market by car, easing parking, pollution, and congestion in residential Bernal Heights.

Alemany’s buffered, post-separated bike lanes also need to be extended, Waddling says. The bike lanes, striped in 2011, suddenly disappear as they approach to the freeway interchange — just where they’re needed most. Waddling says removing lanes to make room for buffered bike lanes would also help calm traffic and make the new crosswalks safer to use.

Waddling noted that the safety improvements could add travel time for drivers. But calming traffic at hostile freeway interchanges, like the Alemany Maze and the Hairball, is key to providing safe, dignified connections for people walking and biking. Until that happens, even SF’s most transformative street safety redesigns will be rendered useless.

Bayshore, looking north towards the buffered bike lane from Paul Avenue. Photo: Brian Coyne
Bayshore’s new buffered bike lane, looking south near Silver Aveune. Photo: Brian Coyne
  • BBnet3000

    You see this problem with transit too, not having exclusive lanes at the chokepoints where they are MOST important.

  • Bruce Halperin

    This should be a no-brainer. Of course, in San Francisco, this means it will take twenty years to implement.

  • Gezellig

    And like all the other “buffered” “bike” “lanes” this one is surely already doing double duty as a nice and wide Double Parking and even Driving lane.

    SF just doesn’t seem to get it. That these things keep on coming one after another is simply…embarrassing.

  • Sandwiching a bike lane between a parking lane and a driving lane is halfass! Stop with these econo-bike lanes! We need separated and protected bike lanes. In NYC, 1st, 2nd, 7th, and 8th avenues all have protected bike lanes that are between the sidewalk and the parking lane. This completely separates bikes from cars, and takes the same amount of space. Until we do this in San Francisco, we’ll continue to have collisions between bicycles and cars on a regular basis.

  • Upright Biker

    Bayshore now joins 8th Street and Folsom Street in the “Vast Amounts of Paint and City Labor Wasted” Hall of Fame. Those bike lanes are practically useless, filled with both moving and parked vehicles, while a perfectly viable and free resource for a physical barrier — parked cars — sits at the curb.

  • murphstahoe

    Not really. That part of Bayshore is pretty remote. Prior to the bike lanes, we would just ride in the right travel lane and never be bothered.

  • murphstahoe

    There is no parking on Bayshore SB that whole stretch. There is not much traffic, but drivers *might* choose the right hand lane before. Generally speaking this won’t happen anymore.

    Just including people who ride with GPS devices, this stretch has been ridden by 1300 different cyclists a total fo 15,000 times over the last few years.

    http://www.strava.com/segments/633262

  • J
  • BBnet3000

    True but believe me when I tell you that these have been deployed very sparingly in New York. Unfortunately even on the streets that have them they tend to end at the Community Board boundary.

  • Upright Biker

    ?
    I see parked cars in all the pics above. Although I do also see the long stretch w/out cars.

    Thanks for the strava data points. Always interesting.

  • EastBayer

    No thanks. I’d rather be able to maneuver out into the motor vehicle lane in the event that there are obstacles in the bike lane.

  • murphstahoe

    That’s the NB side.

  • TransBayTube

    A few notes:
    The buffered bike lane, northbound, ends at Oakdale, not Cesar Chavez. It would also be nice if the bike lanes extended north/south all the way to Tunnel or further. This would allow any SF/SSF cyclists to avoid San Bruno entirely. As a 3-4 times a week rider through this stretch I applaud the bike lanes, especially southbound. At the moment I tend to stick to San Bruno north bound to Silver but I may start popping over at Paul to try it out.

  • Upright Biker

    dude, if there’s an obstacle that big in the bike lane, you can always dismount, walk between two parked cars, and remount on the other side. It’s not like we’re talking about the Great Wall of China here.

  • Upright Biker

    Ah. Then I only nominate the NB side for the Hall of Fame.

  • EastBayer

    Right, since that’s practical while commuting…

    (Also, maybe even more importantly, I like maintaining visual contact with the rest of traffic since I’ll have to interact with it eventually anyway. Parked cars cut off visibility)

  • Upright Biker

    Yes, that whole ten seconds is going to make all the difference in the world. Are you one of those cyclists who needs to continue at speed through crosswalks, too?

    Get real. A protected bike lane is worth far more in safety and efficiency on a daily basis than not having one in the highly unlikely event that it is blocked by an object so big, or so potentially damaging, that you need to exit a buffered bike lane to avoid it, without the unbelievable inconvenience of having to dismount.

  • EastBayer

    I need to get real? Goodness, it’s like you’ve never seen glass in a bike lane, or an illegally parked car, or a 10 MPH cyclist…

    Look, I have no intention of going to war with streetsblog over protected bike lanes. But the concept is really horrifying to me for many reasons, and I feel a need to register my objection so that no one confuses the posts here as consensus.

  • murphstahoe

    The most traveled route South is Bayshore to Paul to San Bruno, then reversing on Bayshore to Blanken to Tunnel. Nobody I know has completely quantified if it’s even legal to stay on Bayshore to Tunnel through those offramps but it is sketchy as hell. Bayshore shoots you through a narrow underpass and then you have to merge across the US-101 SB offramp. There is little to no shoulder and where there is a shoulder, there is a “Grate of Doom” – a drainage gate without cross hatching such that a bike tire will drop right into the grate. I’ve done it twice and have no real interest in doing so again.

  • murphstahoe

    Do you complain that they should remove the barricades on the Golden Gate Bridge path so that you can move into the roadway to get past those slow cyclists?

    I have no sympathy for “stuck behind a 10 MPH cyclist”. That’s called traffic. Happens to all modes. And if you are taking the lane currently to get around a 10 MPH cyclist, you are now a 20 MPH cyclist that a motorist is stuck behind. You’d expect patience from them, the 10 MPH cyclist should be allowed the same.

  • Gezellig

    I’m wondering, though, based on your words it really sounds like your objections to protected cycletracks are largely theoretical in nature as opposed to experiential. In reality well-designed cycletracks obstacles are rarely or even never an issue.

    I’m frankly pretty surprised at how often those in the anti-protected-infra camp bring up the specter of supposed pervasive obstacles in protected lanes. As someone who’s ridden in protected infrastructure every day it’s just not a common problem in cycletracks.

    And it’s certainly *nothing* compared to the *given* massive obstacles that these so-called “buffered” lanes invite every single day–let’s point out that in these lanes the inevitable double-parking and driving in them is way bigger and more pervasive an obstacle than any theoretical obstacles (leaves, trash, etc.) in a protected lane.

    Meanwhile, let’s not forget how we’re majorly holding ourselves back with these giant wastes of paint—this is not 20% modeshare/8-80/Vision Zero infrastructure.

    Many of the Interested but Concerned understandably won’t touch these kinds of unprotected lanes as moving cars are constantly encroaching onto their borders and parking on them or just plain driving through them as if they were yet another car lane.

    Remember, besides the many people who simply don’t *want* to, many don’t trust or have the reflexes to constantly check over their shoulder and rapidly and skillfully veer into vehicular traffic every time there’s a car obstacle…hence the 8-80 thing.

    These kinds of “buffered” lanes practically scream for car-drivers to behave badly. I regularly see these kinds of lanes used as driving lanes and certainly double-parking lanes all over the city. Even ignoring the drivers who are actively contemptuous of people on bikes there are probably just as many or more who are completely oblivious to the fact that they’re driving on these lanes. After all, they’re just as wide as the car lanes they replace, have no physical demarcation and usually aren’t even painted a different color.

  • Gezellig

    Exactly. Meanwhile, it’s not even that hard to pass slower bikes in cycletracks in the first place. It’s practically a non-issue.

    These kinds of objections don’t sound like they’re coming from any significant experience with actual protected infrastructure.

    In reality people on bikes are actually really good at negotiating space with others on bikes, even at high volumes. Add in well-designed infrastructure (like SF *should* be building) and it’s practically a complete non-issue.

    http://youtu.be/Q9BTOlrpYmc

    Look, lots of people passing slower people very easily even at rush hour. Obstacles nonexistent. As someone who has experienced this every day I fail to see what the issue with all these supposed “obstacles” is.

    Meanwhile, double-parked cars/trucks, cars driving, etc. are an absolutely given HUGE obstacle in “buffered” and conventional lanes!

  • EastBayer

    No, but the Golden Gate Bridge is horrible to ride across, and I just plan and account for that every time I need to ride into Marin. I’d rather we not resign ourselves to that every time we ride a bike in the city, however.

    And Gezellig, we’ve talked about this before. You rode in the Netherlands (right?). You’re counting on non-cyclists behaving here as they do there, where cycling is an integral part of the culture. I feel that is a mistake. You could say that conventional bike lanes also rely on human behavior, except that when humans behave badly, the cyclist has an “out” – merging into the motor vehicle lane. Not true when there’s a row of parked cars blocking their exit (and exiting between parked cars as suggested earlier, which would require two obstructed-view, nearly 90-degree turns at slow speed, is much more dangerous than merging)

  • murphstahoe

    No, but the Golden Gate Bridge is horrible to ride across, and I just
    plan and account for that every time I need to ride into Marin. I’d
    rather we not resign ourselves to that every time we ride a bike in the
    city, however.

    Until we get multiple 6 foot wide bike lanes per street, you’re going to have to mix it up with slower cyclists in a place like San Francisco. There is a non-virtual traffic jam on Townsend every morning as we all head to Caltrain, and the variance in speed is huge.

    Your preference seems to be “screw it, if they can’t handle the conditions, they shouldn’t be cycling”. Newsflash – if you want a bike path across the Bay Bridge, we’ll flat out need more cyclists than we’re going to be able to get with current conditions in order to make the political lift for this and many other worthy projects, even as simple as getting Alameda County to be responsive to fixing potholes in the bike lane/shoulder/whatever because they are a hazard to cyclists specifically.

    This might put a pinch into you Cat-6 dreams but commuting doesn’t need to be racing.

  • coolbabybookworm

    Why don’t you just ride on streets without bike lanes if it’s such a concern for you? Then if we ever get some good cycle tracks built in San Francisco you can experience them in real-time and not as a theoretical imposition. I also don’t understand how you’re concerned about driver behavior parking and “trapping” you but not concerned about sharing lanes with drivers. Maybe you and I feel that confident enough to merge into 30 mph traffic, but I’d like to be able to ride bikes with my family to get around the city and not just recreationally.

    A bit of an aside, it’s strange to me that some people say they feel trapped on JFK’s parking protected bike lanes, but riding between a door zone and fast cars/trucks/buses is not trapped. I feel much more trapped between the door zone and impatient drivers when I’m riding JFK after the protected lane ends. I’d much rather worry about leaves and pedestrians or passing slow cyclists than being clipped by an impatient driver or doored.

  • EastBayer

    It is weird that you’re focusing on the slower cyclist issue, when I’ve articulated so many others. I suppose because it makes it easier to paint me as out of touch?

    There are inherent hazards with blocking a bicyclist in a 5-foot-wide space between two unmovable edges (a parked car and a curb). It’s surprising that no one seems willing to admit that. The suggestion to avoid bike lanes altogether is equally weird, as the whole point is that many people feel more comfortable in a bike lane than in no facility at all, even better in a buffered bike lane.

    It’s even more surprising that you seem to think that no one will ever be able to misuse a bike facility on the curb side of a car. You’ll probably get less parking in it, yes, but more loading groceries, more enormous trash bins, more passenger loading. These isn’t hypotheticals – these are things that occur now, but which will only become much worse when a bicyclist has nowhere to go

  • jonobate

    Thank you for highlighting the mess of the “Alemany Maze”. I can’t believe that the city of SF is not advancing plans to fix this intersection. It could easily be reconfigured as a regular intersection with Alemany Blvd meeting Bayshore Blvd somewhere between Industrial St and Helena St, without splitting the eastbound and westbound roadways. The three entrance/exit ramps to US-101 plus an extended San Bruno Ave would meet Alemany Blvd at right angles adjacent to the elevated US-101 roadways.

    A more ambitious project would be to remove I-280 east of the interchange, which has no exits other than south Dogpatch/Potrero Hill (accessible via US-101 and Cesar Chavez) and Mission Bay/north Potrero Hill (accessible via US-101 and 16th St.) This would also allow these hulking connector ramps to be removed: https://www.google.com/maps/@37.732006,-122.404185,3a,75y,312.61h,90.52t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sXY0h_mlaSd3uB9WXYVgkig!2e0

    These ramps connect US-101 south of the interchange to I-280 both sides of the interchange. I-280 east of the interchange would be gone, and the small amount of traffic going between US-101 south of the interchange and I-280 west of the interchange would use a short section of Alemany Blvd, adding a small amount of journey time.

  • coolbabybookworm

    It’s weird that you think there’s such a thing as “the slower cyclist issue.”

  • Gezellig

    A huge part of the reason cycling is an integral part of the culture there, though, is *precisely* its infrastructure. It hasn’t always been that way. Let me be the first to point out the Dutch are not some saintly class of humans who are somehow inherently more considerate of others when driving.

    In fact, the Netherlands’ strong embrace of car-first infrastructure in the 1950s-70s yielded car-caused pedestrian and cyclist death rates more than twice what they were in the US at the time.

    That’s pretty inconsiderate human behavior, to say the least.

    Documentary of the grassroots changes for better infrastructure in the 70s after the outrage over pedestrian/bicyclist death rates which had become extremely high:

    http://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/12/13/how-children-demanding-play-streets-changed-amsterdam/

    Notice the entitled, strong (even physical) resistance from enraged Dutch drivers, for example at 2:39 and 4:17. Look at how car-clogged and mostly bike-free Amsterdam’s streets are, too, showing the effect of a couple decades of car-first policies.

    Things only turned around once they started experimenting with and implementing good bike infrastructure.

    The problem with conventional infrastructure in the US is, like the 1970s Netherlands, it actively *encourages* bad (and deadly) behavior. There’s no way to enforce all the blatant and pervasive double-parking and other car violations which are practically invited every single second by the current infrastructure status quo.

    And indeed, in places that have implemented protected infrastructure in the US sure enough compliance all around has gone up (way fewer bikes on sidewalks, no cars in bike lanes, way fewer bikes running reds, etc.) in addition to noteworthy increases in bike modeshare.

    As for your theoretical example of an obstacle in a parking-protected (and btw, not all protected infrastructure needs to be parking protected) lane, what kind of obstacles, exactly, do you really see being a pervasive problem? Have you actually experienced this kind of infrastructure? And in any case are these problems really worse than the huge obstacles double-parked and even through-traveling cars present?

    From at least my experience in these things I just fail to see what the problem is.

    Your comments also seem to espouse a certain sort of ableist privilege that conventional lanes enable. One reason conventional lanes are so often not 8-80 is that not everyone has the physical ability to safely and constantly be checking over their shoulders to see if cars are encroaching upon them and then be able to veer quickly into and out of moving car traffic when a truck is double parked there, etc.

    I’m sure you don’t mean to do this but by rejecting protected infrastructure you’re implicitly embracing the current status quo that biking is only for the few and the brave who can (and want to) bike around vehicularly.

    That’s 1% modeshare/continued multiple-deaths-per-year/survival-of-the-fittest thinking.

  • Gezellig

    Exactly! I really don’t get how straddling an endless stream of 3-ton metal boxes hurtling down the road at 45mph, double-parked cars, regular parked cars, etc. is somehow “freeing” while some theoretical “obstacle” in a protected cycletrack is cause for grave “I’m trapped!” cycletrack-killing concern. It just doesn’t usually work that way in practice. Almost ever.

    And again, embracing conventional infrastructure as only solution is inherently ableist, 1% modeshare thinking. Not 8-80, 20%, Vision Zero stuff.

    Not everyone can or even wants to play the game of bike Frogger where you’re constantly dodging recalcitrant parked and driving cars in the Second-Class (aka Class II) conventional lane.

  • Gezellig

    If I understand this correctly it seems you think that the potential for trash in a cycletrack is a worse obstacle than trucks driving through and double-parking in a conventional lane.

    As or the trashcan thing, there’s no real incentive to leave them in a protected cycletrack because the trash trucks won’t be picking them up from there, anyway. And there are ways to design around this.

    It also seems you’re a bit claustrophobic about the idea of being “boxed in” by a curb to the right. I honestly haven’t experienced this as a problem but again this is why solutions such as raised cycletracks (with their own separate grade as opposed to street and sidewalk) are sometimes used:

    http://youtu.be/6imqI8VfwNo

    That video has all the supposed cycletrack-killers: frequent driveways, parking protection…potential for leaves to fall in it…but this stretch and thousands of others just like it work fine 99.99% of the time every day.

  • Just rode it this morning (after rush hours) and it was clear. One side borders the freeway, so there’s no one wanting to park on that side. The other is also wide stretches of very little. It does feet a bit safer than the previous 4-lane freeway, especially when going uphill.

  • Was clear this morning (after rush hours).

  • murphstahoe

    I understand all of this stuff. They are inherent hazards if I am trying to ride like I would typically ride, fast, efficient, alert.

    I am willing to forego some of that speed in order to produce conditions that other people can ride, not only so that they can ride, but so they will support other worthy goals. WIth blinders on a protected cycletrack might be a net negative for me personally – I’m willing and able to cycle in all sorts of conditions – but I don’t wear blinders. I ride thousands of miles a year in all sorts of conditions. With my son I am unwilling to go more than 1/2 a mile from my front door, and he has shown the capability to ride 10 miles plus on a separated MUP. He just can’t hold his line to my tastes for riding on the shoulder. Put a barrier there and off we go. Worth it to me, YMMV

  • Gezellig

    And since increased bike ridership comes from people converting at least parttime from other modes you also get increased experiential empathy from car drivers. The last time most drivers today last rode a bike was on a driveway as a kid.

    I personally feel that good protected infrastructure actually speeds up my biking in general. This is either due to the lack of obstacles/cars and/or simply the fact that time passes faster when you’re not in a stressed position requiring constant vigilance.

    But protected setups may actually indeed often be faster anyway–for example at protected intersections you always get a free continuous-travel right on a red light/stop sign whereas cycling vehicularly always requires a stop:

    More often than I care to admit there were times in the Netherlands I was racing against time to catch a train, make an appointment, make it to a store before they closed (which is usually Early O’Clock there, unfortunately), etc. Let me say I’d much rather be racing on my bike through a comprehensive network of protected cycletracks than duking it out with the cars vehicularly as I do when I’m racing against the clock in SF.

    By the way, the point about your son is perfect. On the other end of the 8-80 spectrum, the example of my grandparents, who are both 81–to their credit they both bike every day, which is awesome, but only within the safe confines of their senior community. Thus they are physically entirely capable of operating a bicycle just fine, but are understandably unwilling to use the conventional lanes right outside their senior community. It’s really sad how the infrastructure lets them down and we all totally accept it. Meanwhile, as they get older they and their peers keep on driving when they really shouldn’t be.

    What’s especially enraging is that like many parts of the US, they actually are surrounded by a network of conventional lanes they could theoretically take to the supermarket/bank/pharmacy/etc. only a half-mile away but of course they never do that. Would you want your 81-year old grandparents riding even just a half a mile on this conventional lane?

    (link opens to streetview)
    http://goo.gl/maps/fMtks

    Judging by my real-life experience there and streetview no one else seems to think that’s a sane idea, either.

    Waste. Of. Paint. 0-1% (at best) modeshare thinking.

    It’s just sad how many people it could be serving perfectly well if only it were protected. For the most part these odious so-called “buffered” lanes are just the reheated, sad leftovers of the current unacceptable status quo which now has a multi-decades-long track record of utter failure. We absolutely must push for better than this.

  • TransBayTube

    I’ve only tried the north bound version of this return. Thanks for the heads up as now I’ll never even try that south bound.

  • disqus_e4qPyvtwW2

    I live over looking the Alemany maze – I’ve always thought a great solution would be actually linking San Bruno across Alemany over to Tompkins/Peralta, following the old San Bruno road right of way. That would allow people to cross over from Portola and hopefully ease the auto congestion coming into Bernal Heights on Putnam on weekends for the Farmers Market. A new 40-unit development is supposed to be going right at the corner of Peralta and Tompkins so another entrance/exit would be useful and would calm traffic coming down Alemany from Bayshore.

  • Bruce Halperin

    I don’t think connecting San Bruno to Thompkins/Peralta is the most cost-effective transportation improvement. Congestion caused by cars trying to make this movement is very low. I’d much rather see my tax dollars spent on more bike infrastructure and projects like Geary BRT or a North Beach Central Subway station.

    I’m all for removing the 280 spur, though.

  • disqus_e4qPyvtwW2

    i can definitely see your point but that connection would also allow bikes a much safer passage through the farmers market rather than along Alemany. The respective cost for an improvement like this is not even in the same ballpark as Geary BRT or a NB Subway station. If they build this 40 unit building on Tompkins and Peralta we’re hoping that community development fees could be put towards it.

  • jonobate

    That makes sense, but you’d need to clean up the maze first. There’s a huge mess of roads between Tompkins/Peralta and where San Bruno ends.

  • Gezellig

    By the way, lest anyone get the idea that Dutch drivers are just inherently better at respecting the rules due to cycle culture alone, I present a few videos of how Dutch drivers also behave poorly in conventional lanes in the Netherlands, just as drivers do in similar environments in the US:

    Big truck completely disregards and nearly runs over bike by right-hooking it in a “buffered” lane:
    http://youtu.be/SxU4-cMRXeg

    Car narrowly avoids a frontal collision by carelessly veering into a conventional lane:
    http://youtu.be/1Z2t4XiX9v4

    Two problems: first, the forward-moving SUV ahead encroaches onto conventional bike lane (just like happens all the time here on conventional lanes) and only moves back into the real lane when it sees the other problem–that there’s a truck totally blocking the bike lane in the way:
    http://youtu.be/VqHrVsrLPOc

    The difference in the Netherlands is over time they’ve been gradually phasing out these designs (especially when above certain traffic thresholds and speeds) as they obviously encourage bad behavior and conflict points in a way protected infrastructure doesn’t.

    A Dutch before-and-after conventional->protected lane:
    http://youtu.be/7jXYywR1z_w?t=14s
    Their Before looks like some of the Afters SF is building (e.g. Cesar Chavez, anyone?).

  • vcs

    Going down that freeway ramp twice is two more times than I would ever attempt it, so thanks for the report.

  • EastBayer

    Lots to respond to here, and though unfortunately I disagree with almost all of it, I do appreciate that for the most part it has remained a civil conversation.

    “0-1% modeshare, multiple deaths per year thinking” is a rather sweeping condemnation to make (and repeat) on very little actual data (especially considering that we have very few protected bike lanes and much higher than 1% mode split). There is some evidence that people prefer to ride in bike lanes (protected or not) as opposed to riding in traffic, which is why I applaud any bike lane that SF or Oakland (in its own haphazard way) installs, because riding in a conventional bike lane is a much better experience than sharing with roadways. But bicycling data isn’t at the point where we could split hairs about the mode split or vehicle deaths that result from conventional lanes and cycle tracks. We’re basically working off anecdotes and the fact that some places with cycle tracks have a higher bicycling mode share (and not all places – in Montreal, it’s really not that high).

    On the anecdotal note, it’s unfair to look at a facility like that by your grandparents place and compare it with an urban protected bike lane. Obviously that’s not a great road (but it is by far and away better than nothing). A more apt comparison might be Valencia Street. It is highly utilized, despite not being a “protected” facility. Do people honestly consider Valencia Street a “waste of paint”? That seems ridiculous – and counterproductive – to me.

    Mostly I’m reacting to the jeering that permeates this website whenever a bike lane is installed in the city. These are GOOD for most cyclists. Perhaps not 100 percent of potential cyclists, but many. And goodness, I’m absolutely not a vehicular cyclist. Bike lanes and bike boulevards all the way. I am, however, comfortable acting vehicularly when required, and I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation of bicyclists.

    Personally, I started riding a bike not because innovative new facilities were suddenly added in the town I was living in (nothing was being built) but because it was the most efficient way to get around. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Cycling increased in San Francisco throughout the moratorium. But take away the time advantage of cycling and you’ll see fewer cyclists. So slowing cyclists down is absolutely a matter of concern.

    I also don’t think it’s fair to dismiss my concerns of obstacles in the bike lane when there are entire websites devoted to pictures of something as inane as trash bins in bike lanes. It’s a real problem, no less valid than your concerns about double parking. And I generally find drivers to be pretty understanding when there is an obvious obstacle in the bike lane (such as a double-parked car, less so with common hazards like broken glass or potholes).

    More to the point, I don’t see it as really relevant how
    frequently people encounter obstacles in conventional vs protected bike lanes – the point is that in the latter situation, the cyclist has no recourse.

    You mention that the Dutch aren’t “saintly” but let’s be honest; Europeans are pretty much better than Americans in every conceivable way. They kill each other less (with cars or other weapons), are less stressed, pollute less, recycle more, and many are even taught to open doors with their right hand instead of their left! I am skeptical that Americans would act similarly.

  • Gezellig

    >>”0-1% modeshare, multiple deaths per year thinking” is a rather sweeping condemnation to make (and repeat) on very little actual data (especially considering that we have very few protected bike lanes and much higher than 1% mode split).”<>”But bicycling data isn’t at the point where we could split hairs about the mode split or vehicle deaths that result from conventional lanes and cycle tracks. We’re basically working off anecdotes and the fact that some places with cycle tracks have a higher bicycling mode share (and not all places – in Montreal, it’s really not that high).<>”which is why I applaud any bike lane that SF or Oakland (in its own haphazard way) installs, because riding in a conventional bike lane is a much better experience than sharing with roadways.”<>” A more apt comparison might be Valencia Street. It is highly utilized, despite not being a “protected” facility. Do people honestly consider Valencia Street a “waste of paint”? That seems ridiculous – and counterproductive – to me.”<>”Mostly I’m reacting to the jeering that permeates this website whenever a bike lane is installed in the city. These are GOOD for most cyclists.”<>”I am, however, comfortable acting vehicularly when required, and I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation of bicyclists.”<>”And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Cycling increased in San Francisco throughout the moratorium.”<>”But take away the time advantage of cycling and you’ll see fewer cyclists. So slowing cyclists down is absolutely a matter of concern.”<>”I also don’t think it’s fair to dismiss my concerns of obstacles in the bike lane when there are entire websites devoted to pictures of something as inane as trash bins in bike lanes.”<>”More to the point, I don’t see it as really relevant howfrequently people encounter obstacles in conventional vs protected bike lanes – the point is that in the latter situation, the cyclist has no recourse.”<>”You mention that the Dutch aren’t “saintly” but let’s be honest; Europeans are pretty much better than Americans in every conceivable way. They kill each other less (with cars or other weapons), are less stressed, pollute less, recycle more, and many are even taught to open doors with their right hand instead of their left! I am skeptical that Americans would act similarly.”<<

    It sounds like you may be fetishizing what is an incredibly diverse continent a bit 🙂

    Perhaps more relevant to the bike issues, you seem to be ascribing a certain defeatist pessimism to people on this continent–as if even better infrastructure can't change people's ways so why bother giving them nice things they can't handle.

    This logic is quite potentially self-defeating, much in grain with those arguments à la "cyclists can earn nice things once they prove it by stopping riding on the sidewalks!" (when of course it's precisely the "nice things"–i.e. better infrastructure–which would nearly entirely get rid of the behavioral problem in the first place) or "why bother spending money on this new bike lane? Only a small percentage of people bike here anyway!" etc.

    The point is, bad infrastructure *encourages* bad behavior. This is what the Dutch have figured out, and my real-life experience there (in addition to the few video examples I gave of Dutch drivers behaving poorly around conventional lanes) bears that out.

    Sure, there are some cultural differences, but you cannot argue with the stats that with the conventional infrastructure the Dutch had death rates were more than twice what the US had in the 60s-70s. Humans are humans. Dutch drivers are self-interested, too, and also want to get from Point A to B in as little time as possible. They also get distracted, road raged, impatient, careless.

    Dutch infrastructure, however, in general now minimizes (at least compared to the US) these deleterious effects to people around them on bike and foot. I just find it very telling that where their infrastructure *is* lagging, humans there tend to behave just like they do elsewhere. Cars fudge the lines when a bike lane is only separated by paint, they speed on long straightaways, they make turns without looking, etc.

    I lived in a mostly 18th-19th-century neighborhood in Amsterdam that had one glaringly incongruous 1960s-era expressway arterial that hasn't yet been replaced. It's a nightmare to cross and feels unsafe. As it was designed to near-freeway standards it has long straightaways that encourage drivers to speed and disregard non-cars, which they constantly do. That stretch has a comparatively high incidence of accidents. Thankfully, this is not the norm in most of the Netherlands, but it just shows how bad infrastructure encourages bad behavior even in places like the Netherlands. The good news is it's fixable. The same is very much true here, too.

  • disqus_e4qPyvtwW2

    yeah our little racetrack 🙂 I’m sure it’d be complicated due to state/county trying to figure out what’s what – I’m just saying it’d be a much more straightforward arrangement and have a better traffic calming affect (two way vs one way traffic)

  • djconnel

    Report during BTWD is that vehicles are using this as a passing lane: very dangerous as they pull w/o warning to the right. This is an example where posts would have helped or, better, photo enforcement.

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