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Posts from the "America’s Cup" Category

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Curbside Bikeway at Fort Mason Only Temporary, Set to Be Removed

The bike lane we spotted at Fort Mason last week, which replaced a lane of car parking on the northern end of Van Ness Avenue, could be removed any day now, according to city staffers. The bike lane was installed temporarily as part of the People Plan, intended to encourage visitors to bicycle during the America’s Cup yacht races — but only on a trial basis.

Photo: Aaron Bialick

As a number of Streetsblog commenters noted, it was a refreshing surprise to see such a sensible project apparently go in without the fierce, drawn-out political battles that typically accompany parking removal. But it looks like this space will revert to car storage, and sharrows will be painted in the roadway instead.

The bike lane was originally scheduled to be removed on November 1, said Adam Van de Water, project manager for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. It’s unclear why the lane has lasted this long (best guess — it’s on the backlog for street painting crews). The lane “was designed as a pilot to provide safety, comfort and direction to cyclists transiting between [America's Cup] venues with the long term legacy value of providing empirical data on its effectiveness given competing uses at the site and the desire to create a contiguous SF Bay Trail,” said Van de Water.

Through “visual surveys and mode counts on site,” the SFMTA and the National Park Service, which holds jurisdiction over the land, came to the conclusion that the post-separated bikeway linking the bicycle/pedestrian paths along Fort Mason and Fisherman’s Wharf isn’t worth keeping, according to Van de Water:

I believe the consensus only a portion of cyclists used the cycle track with many opting for a quicker transit along the center of the roadway where the pavement is in better condition and where they are used to riding. As a result, SFMTA is adding new painted sharrows in the roadway when the temporary cycle track is removed.

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Temporary Bikeway Provides Glimpse of Bike-Friendly Embarcadero

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KTVU: “So far, it seems to be working, and that has critics concerned.”

A temporary, two-way bikeway put in place on a short stretch of the Embarcadero last week provided a brief glimpse of what a permanent, safe bike route along the waterfront could look like.

Bicycle traffic signals were temporarily installed for the bikeway. Photo: Frank Chan/Flickr

The bikeway was a measure to encourage attendees of the America’s Cup races to bike to the event, repurposing a north-side traffic lane and car parking lane for bicycling space separated from motor traffic using metal barricades. SFMTA spokesperson Ben Jose said agency staff “will be evaluating how this temporary bikeway changed travel behavior along the Embarcadero and how it minimized conflict.”

The SFMTA also installed bicycle traffic signals “to ensure safety and to control traffic,” Jose said, though they will be removed. Traffic signals normally seem to require a significant amount of time, funding, and engineering to install, and it’s unclear why the SFMTA was apparently able to implement and remove these ones so swiftly.

While the protected two-way lane was in place, biking on the Embarcadero seemed to be more popular than ever. ”Last week’s pilot of the Embarcadero on-street bikeway showed how well-used this space would be by the growing number of people biking along our waterfront,” said Leah Shahum, executive director of the SF Bicycle Coalition. “This was a win-all-around, with more bike space, more dedicated space for people walking along the promenade, and more people visiting the businesses and attractions along the waterfront.”

Of course, the installation wasn’t a perfect, complete model for a protected bikeway along the length of the Embarcadero. It ran less than half a mile, from Washington to Green Streets, outside of which people on bikes were dumped back into the Embarcadero’s regular configuration with green-painted bike lanes on opposite sides of the street, which are frequently blocked by drivers. Most southbound bicycle riders continued to use the regular south-side bike lane, rather than the temporary bikeway, as crossing over to the opposite side of the street to use the temporary bikeway was, for many people, counterintuitive and inconvenient.

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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.

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‘People Plan’ Could Speed Bike, Ped, Transit Improvements on Embarcadero

Mayor Lee on the Embarcadero yesterday with Board of Supes President David Chiu, SFMTA CEO Nat Ford, and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. Photo: Aaron Bialick

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has unveiled the People Plan [pdf], a document laying out strategies to meet the quickly approaching challenges of bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city’s waterfront for the 2013 America’s Cup yacht race.

Transit advocates see it as an opportunity to boost sustainable transportation and build out some long-term improvements that will benefit transit and bike riders and pedestrians on the Embarcadero.

“Whatever we do, whatever we build, whatever we improve, has got to be an improvement that benefits all San Franciscans for future generations to come,” said Mayor Lee. “We’re looking at transportation and the infrastructure that we invest in with a future that will not only handle the 200,000 people a day, the millions of people that come here, but will benefit our city in the long run.”

A new sense of urgency should compel city agencies to implement changes prioritizing transit, bicycle, and pedestrian trips to the Embarcadero if the city is to avoid inundating the streets with gridlocked private automobiles during the series of events. The initial draft of the People Plan outlines how that could be done.

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