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Posts from the "Bike to Work Day" Category

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Watch: Time Lapse of Market Street Bike Traffic on Bike to Work Day

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The SF Bicycle Coalition has released an awesome time lapse video of over 1,000 people on bikes rolling by the Market Street bicycle counter on the morning of Bike to Work Day.

The SFBC’s volunteer photographer Volker Neumann took photos every five seconds with a camera mounted to a nearby telephone pole.

Photos and statistics are great, but nothing shows the potential to grow bicycling in San Francisco quite like the sight of serious bike traffic in action.

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As Bike to Work Day Booms, Some San Mateo County Cities Lead the Way

Commuting to work on Gateway Boulevard in South San Francisco. Photo: Andrew Boone

Among the record-breaking 9,000 bike commuters celebrating Bike to Work Day in San Mateo County on Thursday, County Supervisor Dave Pine led a convoy from downtown Redwood City to the Oracle energizer station, crossing Highway 101 using the Ralston Avenue bike-pedestrian bridge in Belmont.

Dave Pine and Diane Howard - Bike To Work Day 2013

San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine and Redwood City Council candidate Diane Howard at the Oracle energizer station. Photo: Andrew Boone

“We really have to look at bicycling as a viable and important part of the transportation network and not just a recreational pursuit,” Pine said. “The county needs to take more of a leadership role to publicize bike routes and get cities to work together to construct practical bicycle infrastructure so that people can get to work more easily.”

Bike to Work Day is booming throughout San Mateo County, with ridership increasing 33 percent since last year, and more than doubling since 2011, according to the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance.

Commuters were greeted with 37 energizer stations along popular bike commuting routes, where volunteers from the PTCRA and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition helped them fuel up with coffee and snacks. Nearly 1,000 cyclists enjoyed an outdoor breakfast at Oracle’s energizer station at the company’s headquarters in Redwood Shores, which lies along the Bay Trail, a route favored by many bike commuters for its long sections of off-street bicycle and pedestrian paths and beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay.

Each year, more Silicon Valley employers — from tech giants like Genentech, Facebook, and Google, to other major businesses like Kaiser Permanente (which partnered with Whole Foods) and Food Service Providers — are holding their own events to encourage participation in Bike to Work Day as a way to promote employee health and reduce traffic congestion.

“Bike to Work Day provides an opportunity for people who are considering biking to work to try it along with thousands of others, while being cheered on at the energizer stations along the way,” said PTCRA Executive Director John Ford. “Once people try cycling to work, many of them make it part of their regular commute.”

While improvements to make bicycling in San Mateo County safer and more convenient have been hampered by a lack of bureaucratic coordination between cities, a few are starting to take the lead. The city of San Mateo is currently planning safer crossings over and under Highway 101: a bike-ped bridge at Hillsdale Boulevard, and a bike-ped path along the 16th Avenue canal under the freeway.

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Market Bike Counter: 3,231 Cyclists in a Day — And That’s an Underestimate

The Market Street bicycle counter, seen here at about 10 a.m. on Bike to Work Day. Photo: Aaron Bialick

San Francisco’s first digital bicycle counter was activated on Bike to Work Day yesterday, and the day’s official total was 3,231 cyclists on Market Street. But that’s probably a significant underestimate, since many bike riders on that block choose to ride outside the bike lane where the ground sensors were installed. Many riders seem to prefer to ride in the adjacent traffic lane, which was closed to cars in 2009.

The SF Bicycle Coalition says Market is the busiest bike street west of the Mississippi. Meanwhile, Copenhagen claims the busiest bicycling street in the western world — Nørrebrogade, which sees over 36,000 bicyclists a day. So, can San Francisco catch up?

You don’t have to head to Market Street to keep track of the bicycle count — the SFMTA has a regularly-updated tracker online.

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Bike to Work Day at City Hall: Lots of Pro-Bike Talk, Few Real Commitments

Elected officials and thousands of commuters took to two wheels for the 19th annual Bike to Work Day, welcomed by the new protected bike lane on Oak Street and the city’s first bicycle counter on Market Street. As in the past few years, the mayor and city supervisors gathered on the steps of City Hall to give speeches cheering bicycling, with some calling for the implementation of more bike lanes.

Supervisor David Chiu neglected to mention Polk Street in his Bike to Work Day speech. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The event saw record-breaking bike traffic counts, according to manual counts by the SF Municipal Transportation Agency, which found that bikes accounted for 76 percent of eastbound vehicle traffic on Market at Van Ness Avenue between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. — a three percent increase in bike traffic over last year, and a nearly 30 percent increase since 2009.

By 9 a.m., the new digital bike counter on eastbound Market between Ninth and Tenth Streets displayed a total of 1,300 bicycle commuters. (That may be an underestimate, as riders who didn’t run over sensors in the bike lane appeared to not be counted.)

While city leaders had a few recent improvements to point to, important issues went unaddressed. At the podium, Mayor Ed Lee made no mention of the SFMTA’s Bicycle Strategy, which he has so far refused to fund.

Meanwhile, the Board of Supervisors’ supposed bike champion, David Chiu, said nothing about Polk Street – the vital bicycling corridor on which the rally was held, where the SFMTA has ruled out plans for protected bike lanes on all but six blocks. His omission didn’t seem to sit well with several rally attendees, who, after Chiu’s speech, shouted “Polk Street!”

Mayor Ed Lee made no mention of the need to increase funding for bicycle infrastructure on the 19th annual Bike to Work Day. Meanwhile, Morgan Fitzgibbons (out of the frame) holds a sign in the back reading, "19th Annual Photo Op & Empty Promises Day.” Photo: Aaron Bialick

After the rally, when Chiu was asked if he planned to take a stand for protected bike lanes on Polk, he declined to do so, instead characterizing himself as a mediator between street safety advocates and parking-obsessed merchants. “I think there has not been enough dialogue between the various sides of this perspective,” he said. “On the one hand, we’ve had significant safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists on a thoroughfare that is used every single day by thousands of folks. On the other hand, the plight of our small businesses is very, very real.”

“I do hope we will have more protected bikeways around the city,” he said. “The question is if that should be for all of Polk Street.”

Chiu, along with Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos — who represent San Francisco on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission – did call for an increase in the city’s abysmal level of investment in bicycling, currently 0.46 percent of the capital budget.

“We’ve got to get real here,” said Wiener. “If we don’t put our money where our mouth is and start investing in bike infrastructure, in Muni, it’s not going to happen as fast as we need it to happen. I want to move fast, and I want us to invest and transform our city into a city where we can get around in all sorts of different ways, including biking.”

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SFMTA Aiming to Install Oak Bike Lane By Bike to Work Day

The SFMTA laid down preliminary markings for the Oak Street protected bike lane yesterday, and says it aims to have it ready by Bike to Work Day next Thursday. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Crews erected the bicycle counter on Market Street earlier this week. Photo: SFMTA

The SFMTA expects to have the protected bike lane on Oak Street and the Market Street bicycle counter ready on Bike to Work Day — next Thursday, May 9 — according to agency staff.

As we reported Wednesday, construction on the three-block Oak bike lane has been held up by renovation work at the Kelly-Moore paint shop. However, the agency apparently found a way to work around it, and yesterday laid down the first markings for the bike lane buffer zone on Oak between Baker and Broderick Streets. “Crews are trying to get the work completed by Bike to Work Day,” said Ben Jose, public information officer for the agency’s Livable Streets subdivision. “But at this point we are not certain that given all the work to be done, it will be totally completed.”

Meanwhile, the bicycle counter has been erected on Market between Ninth and Tenth Streets, and is being calibrated. SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said it will start counting bicycle traffic at its official unveiling on Bike to Work Day.

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East Bay’s Record-Breaking Bike to Work Day: Ten Mayors, 17,000 People

In Oakland, Mayor Jean Quan and Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente arrive to work by bike. Photos: Ruth Miller

Bike to Work Day in the East Bay broke records once again yesterday, with ten mayors, dozens of council members, and over 17,000 participants riding — an overall 22 percent increase across the East Bay. The record-breaking number of elected officials riding in included the mayors of Albany, Berkeley, Piedmont, Dublin, Fremont, Emeryville, Hayward, Richmond, and Union City.

Piedmont Mayor John Chaing and Vice Mayor Margaret Fujioka at the festivities in Oakland.

“It’s great to see so many of our local elected officials out riding on Bike to Work Day and setting an example,” said Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC). “They understand the benefits of bike commuting, and they’ve directed city resources to help make bicycling viable as an everyday means of transportation.”

The largest ridership increase was seen in Pleasanton at 40 percent more than last year, followed by Alameda at 29 percent and Emeryville at 17 percent. In Berkeley, more bicycles than cars passed by lower Sproul Plaza for the first time yesterday morning, according to the EBBC. “This a doubling of bike mode share at Cal,” the EBBC wrote on its website, noting that Berkeley has the country’s fourth-highest bike mode share at 8 percent, according to the American Commute Survey.

Oakland has the eighth-largest Bike to Work Day in the United States, according to the Alliance for Biking and Walking. The free pancake breakfast in front of Oakland City Hall yesterday drew over 600 people who were greeted with free valet bicycle parking and tote bags before mingling and enjoying breakfast in the sunshine.

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On Bike to Work Day, City Leaders Call on SF to Step Up Bikeway Expansion

Supervisor David Chiu: "Does anyone think we can do better in San Francisco?” Photo: Volker Neumann/SFBC

City officials and advocates rode in to City Hall today alongside thousands of commuters for San Francisco’s 18th annual Bike to Work Day. According to the SFMTA, 1,031 eastbound bicycles traveled through the Market and Van Ness intersection between 8 and 9 a.m. this morning, making up 73 percent of vehicles on Market and averaging 17 bikes per minute.

While the city’s recent cycling boom and expansion of bike infrastructure were widely celebrated, some leaders said SF could do much more to catch up with cities like New York, Minneapolis, and Davis and make cycling on its streets safe and accessible for riders of all abilities.

“Does anyone think we can do better in San Francisco?” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, eliciting cheers from the crowd. “San Jose just decided to segregate bike lanes in their downtown area. In Davis, California, they bike at four times the rate of what we do here in San Francisco. Can we do better than Davis and San Jose?”

“Right now, we are spending about a quarter of a percent of our MTA budget on cycling improvements,” said Chiu, who spearheaded the 2010 legislation that led the city to adopt the goal of increasing cycling to 20 percent of all trips by 2020. “We need to do better.”

Supervisor Jane Kim, seen here on her ride through District 6 today, said she'll only feel safe riding regularly on her own with protected bike lanes. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

D6 Supervisor Jane Kim said that while she enjoyed riding with a convoy on Bike to Work Day, she would only feel comfortable biking regularly on her own with protected bike lanes on streets like SoMa’s high-speed motorways — a sentiment shared by many San Franciscans. “I want to keep working make sure we have that type of infrastructure in San Francisco,” she said.

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Bike to Work Day Shifts Into High Gear Tomorrow

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Image: SFBC, based on data from SFMTA

San Francisco’s streets are expected to fill with bike commuters tomorrow for the city’s 18th Bike to Work Day.

The city has more bike lanes, more people on bikes, and more political momentum for bike policy today than in years past. ”We definitely expect to see more people bicycling on Bike to Work Day this year than ever before,” said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum, “given that the number of people of biking every year has been increasing significantly — 71 percent over the last five years, given that it’s supposed to be really lovely warm weather, and given, most importantly, that the city has added more dedicated bike space in the last year than ever before.”

In San Francisco’s most visible display of bicycling growth, SFMTA Bike to Work Day morning commute counts show that bike traffic has risen steadily over recent years on Market Street, which the SFBC now calls the busiest bicycling street west of the Mississippi. Last year at the Van Ness Avenue intersection, bikes made up 75 percent of vehicle traffic as car traffic plummeted on the corridor.

Since the bike injunction was lifted in 2010, the SFMTA has striped bike lanes in locations around the city, including some of SF’s first physically protected routes. The parking-protected bike lanes on John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park are “substantially complete” as of this week (save some finishing touches), according to the SFMTA. Construction is also nearly complete on a two-way bikeway on Cargo Way.

The 23 miles of bike lanes added by the SFMTA since August 2010 “really cover very diverse neighborhoods,” said Shahum.

Bike commuters tomorrow will benefit from new curbside, post-separated bike lanes on DivisionLaguna HondaAlemany and Cesar Chavez as well as the green lanes on Market. Buffered bike lanes have also been striped on Bayshore and Sloat, and new conventional lanes can be found on 17thFolsom, Illinois, North Point, Townsend, Kirkham, Phelan, HollowayOceanPortola, and McCoppin. The SFMTA also continues installing bike racks (in corrals and on sidewalks) and sharrows throughout the city.

“When there’s more dedicated bike space, time and time again we see more people bicycling, and we see a more diverse cross-section of people biking,” said Shahum. “We see more parents riding with their kids to school, we see more older folks riding to a farmer’s market, we see more of San Francisco’s work force biking downtown rather than heading in in their cars.”

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Scenes from Oakland’s Bike Away From Work Party

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A well-trained passenger arrives in Old Oakland.

Oakland’s official Bike to Work Day after-party kicked into high gear in Old Oakland last night. Over 600 people converged to dance, eat, drink, mingle, and just take in the atmosphere from the middle of the street.

“We saw people of all ages out enjoying bicycle carnival rides, great local food, and the company of our vibrant East Bay cycling community,” said Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC), which spearheaded the event. “I look forward to the event growing into an Oakland institution as more and more people bike everyday here in the East Bay.”

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Walk Oakland Bike Oakland executive director Kassie Rohrbach and EBBC executive director Renee Rivera draw raffle winners.

Raffle drawings and award presentations punctuated the ceremony.

The EBBC recognized this year’s Bike-Friendly Businesses, Clif Bar, Sun Light & Power, and Alta Planning & Design, for taking that extra step to motivate their employees to ride to work.

“I wish we could make 30 awards instead of three,” lamented Rivera. “So many businesses in the East Bay realize that cycling to work makes their employees healthier, happier, and more productive.”

Berkeley Assemblymember Nancy Skinner presented Alameda County’s Bike Commuter of the Year award to sixth grader Jason Hollick, already a successful cycling advocate among his friends and family.

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Bike to Work Day Comes With Unprecedented Growth of Bike Infrastructure

Mayor Ed Lee rides the new green separated bike lanes on Market Street on Bike to Work Day. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Cycling San Franciscans have plenty to be happy about on the streets this Bike to Work Day, with new and greened bike lanes, new bike parking, sharrows, bike boxes, and traffic signals to make riding a little easier.

“This is by far the most work we’ve done in a span of time like this,” said the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Mike Sallberry of the Sustainable Streets Division, which has been at the forefront of innovative bike improvements in the city.

“San Francisco has a lot to celebrate on this Bike to Work Day as more people than ever are bicycling,” said Leah Shahum, executive director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, which has been hard at work over the years pushing city agencies to improve the streets for bicycling.

“We know that [the city] shares the goals of making it easier to move around – more accessible, more affordable, more business-friendly and family-friendly,” she said.

Here’s a summary provided by the SFMTA of the improvements that riders can see on the ground today since the bike injunction was lifted in November 2009:

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