The SFMTA wants to remove bike lanes and sharrows on King Street in SoMa’s South Beach area to discourage bicycling on the truck-heavy street, Hoodline reports.
The agency wants to divert bike commuters to the parallel stretch of Townsend Street, but has no plans to improve the bike lanes there, which are unprotected and routinely blocked by drivers near the Caltrain Station.
The SFMTA originally proposed extending King’s striped bike lanes (one of its 24 Vision Zero projects). But the agency instead decided to remove all bike infrastructure on the street until concrete changes can be made.
The existing bike lanes are narrow and disappear suddenly, which “is not comfortable for people biking,” said SFMTA spokesperson Ben Jose. “By directing people to bike on Townsend or the Embarcadero Promenade, we can improve safety for people biking and reduce confusion in the area.”
“In the long-term,” said Jose, the agency “will be examining how biking can be improved in the area through the larger-scale Embarcadero Enhancement Project,” which could bring protected bike lanes along the waterfront years down the road. In the meantime, the agency’s “goal is to encourage people biking in the area to use Townsend when appropriate.”
The SF Bicycle Coalition isn’t fighting the removal of King’s painted bike lanes. But Communications Director Chris Cassidy said it “highlights the importance of protected bike lanes on Townsend.”