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Posts from the "Colored Bike Lanes" Category

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Friday: Opening Ceremony for Polk Contra-Flow Bike Lane

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The Polk Street contra-flow protected bike lane connecting Market Street to City Hall is set to be unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday at 11 a.m.

City officials will follow the event with a bike tour of recent streetscape projects, hitting various neighborhoods before returning to Civic Center. Get one of the few available spots while you can.

In addition to the contra-flow bike lane, the Department of Public Works has been painting the existing southbound bike lane green, as well as the northbound bike lane connection to McAllister Street in front of City Hall. The angled parking spaces along Civic Center plaza on that block were also converted to angled back-in parking. SFMTA staff said the agency couldn’t make that stretch of bike lane protected by placing it curbside (similar to the planned bike lane for two blocks of Bay Street) because electric car ports installed by former Mayor Gavin Newsom are in the way.

The ribbon-cutting will take place at Market and Polk Streets.

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DPW Tallies the Vote Before Committing to More Ped Space on Potrero

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A DPW rendering of option 1 for Potrero between 22nd and 24th Streets, which has been selected after receiving the highest number of votes from the public.

The Department of Public Works has selected a design option for the two most heavily-contested blocks of Potrero Avenue following a vote by attendees of two public meetings. Of the three choices presented for the section between 22nd and 24th Streets in front of SF General Hospital, the most popular was Option 1, which will allocate street space to wider sidewalks and a center median with plantings — not a bike lane buffer or car parking, as in the two other options, according to DPW.

By November, DPW had settled on the plan for the rest of Potrero, between 17th and 25th Streets, which will include a planted center median (south of 20th Street), pedestrian bulb-outs, and green-painted buffered bike lanes. It also calls for moving the existing red-painted transit lane from the northbound side to southbound side and extending it a few blocks. No other section will get a full sidewalk widening other than the one side of the two blocks that the public voted on.

Although DPW originally proposed widening four blocks of Potrero’s eastern sidewalk, planners downsized that part of the proposal after some people agitated to retain parking and traffic lanes for cars. However, according to DPW, in the vote on options for the two blocks between 22nd and 24th, only 25 percent of attendees voted for option 3 — the one that prioritized car parking.

Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider said the organization “is thrilled that DPW did not choose option 3, a plan to maintain sub-par sidewalks in front of a hospital.” The improvements in option 1 “can cut the number drivers that hit pedestrians in half,” she said.

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New Ordinance Streamlines Conversion of Gas Stations to Ped-Friendly Uses

The Arco gas station at Fell and Divisadero Streets, where a queue of drivers regularly blocks the sidewalk and bike lane. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The SF Board of Supervisors today approved changes to the city’s planning code to make it easier for developers to convert gas stations to uses like apartments and storefronts on major transit and pedestrian streets.

“Gas stations have a lot of [drivers] coming in and out, and they can slow down transit,” said Judson True, an aide to Supervisor David Chiu, at a hearing of the Land Use and Economic Development Committee last week. “In a transit-first city, while we want to make sure there are some gas stations, on primary transit corridors, this allows them to be converted under certain parameters without a Conditional Use authorization.”

By removing the hurdle of obtaining a Conditional Use permit — an exemption from local planning regulations — the amendment is intended “to balance the desire to retain [gas stations] with city policies which support walking, cycling, and public transportation, and which encourage new jobs and housing to be located in transit corridors,” according to the Board of Supes’ summary of the bill [PDF].

In addition to attracting car traffic that often blocks transit, bike lanes, and sidewalks, gas stations are voids in the urban fabric that degrade the pedestrian environment. On a block of Divisadero Street between Fell and Oak Streets, which is packed with three gas stations, street safety advocates held protests in 2010 calling for the closure of a driveway at an Arco gas station where drivers regularly block the bike lane on Fell. The situation improved somewhat after the SFMTA painted the bike lane green and removed parking spaces to create a longer queuing space. Though major street improvements are planned for Fell and Oak, the Arco entrance would remain mostly as it is, and it’s unclear whether these routes would be considered primary transit or pedestrian streets.

The ordinance, which also includes a provision expanding the enforceable bike parking requirements within buildings, is part of a larger effort underway by Livable City and Supervisor Chiu to reform myriad aspects of the city’s planning code. Stay tuned for more coverage of this ongoing campaign.

A gas station at the corner of Market and Buchanan Streets, where the Wiggle begins, is currently being converted into a 115-unit condo building with ground-level retail space. Photos: Google Maps and Arquitectonica via Curbed SF

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Bikeway Update: JFK Drive Coming in January, East Cesar Chavez in March

San Francisco will soon see its first parking-protected bikeway like this one on Chicago's Kinzie Street, which was installed less than 30 days after Mayor Rahm Emanuel entered office. Photo: Josh Koonce/Flickr

Update: An explanation for the delay of the JFK bikeway project was provided by SFMTA staff below.

Protected bikeways on John F. Kennedy Drive and eastern Cesar Chavez Street will arrive in January and March respectively, San Francisco transportation planners said this week.

The parking-protected bikeway on JFK in Golden Gate Park, previously slated to be installed this month, has been pushed back to January, according to an email update from SFMTA Livable Streets Division Planner Miriam Sorell. The reason for the delay, which is not the project’s first, was to mitigate construction impacts on the neighboring de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences during a peak season, she said.

Delaying construction has also allowed the SFMTA to perform more outreach and “refine design details through additional meetings with stakeholders regarding concerns raised by members of the disability community and pedestrian safety advocates,” said Sorell.

On eastern Cesar Chavez Street, a bikeway separated from motor vehicles by soft-hit posts is also due to be installed in March, SFCTA Deputy Director for Policy and Planning Anna Laforte told the SFCTA Plans and Programs Committee yesterday. It will arrive the same month as a two-way bikeway on Cargo Way in Hunter’s Point.

Laforte also said the Cesar Chavez project, which was re-drawn after a previous iteration was dropped, will include colored pavement treatment at “conflict zones,” mainly at intersections.

Last weekend, the SFMTA also held a public workshop for the protected bikeway project on Fell and Oak Streets, drawing input from hundreds of attendees. That project is expected to be implemented by summer.

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SFMTA Crews Begin Filling in Green Bikeway Gaps on Market Street

Eastbound Market Street at Van Ness Avenue. Photo: Aaron Bialick

SFMTA crews were spotted installing more green coloring on the Market Street bike lanes today, and say they expect to complete the entire section between Octavia Boulevard and 8th Street in time for Bike to Work Day May 12.

A dashed green treatment can now be found on the sections of bike lanes approaching Van Ness Avenue, complementing the recently installed bike boxes, as well as Octavia Boulevard and near the Haight/Gough Street intersection. More soft-hit posts are also expected to be added to missing sections.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has urged the SFMTA to fill in the gaps since soft-hit posts and green lanes were first installed on portions of Market between Van Ness and 8th Street nearly a year ago. The SFBC says the green lanes on the city’s most important street for bicyclists have greatly increased safety by making people who ride bikes more visible to drivers and deterring illegal parking.

Crew members said they plan to continue greening the bike lanes in the early mornings this weekend and over the next two weeks.

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Hopenhagen or Carbonhagen, We’ll Still be Cycling Regardless

chic_cyclist_brown_3792.jpgCycling chic in Copenhagen, and this is a cold day in December!

I caught Mikael Colville-Andersen's inspiring talk on urban cycling from the Copenhagen context at San Francisco's SPUR on the last Friday of October. I suggested we could do an interview when I came to Copenhagen in December and he graciously agreed, stepping outside into the drizzling snow at a December 10 awards ceremony he was hosting. (The title of this post is a quote from him when he was on stage at the ceremony, and is a new tag line on his blog too.) They were handing out prizes for the best new designs for the next generation of Copenhagen's bikeshare program. He is well known for his blogging at Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycling Chic. The photos throughout were taken by me in Copenhagen during the last couple of weeks there.

Chris Carlsson: What was your experience in San Francisco? Did you have a good time there?

Mikael Colville-Andersen: I had a brilliant time. I just blogged a film with three of my friends, about Critical Mass.

C: Did you get in to the Halloween Critical Mass?

M: Oh yeah, all the way!

C: I saw you wrote some vaguely critical comments about Critical Mass in general.

M: I have done… it’s just that marketing thing. You’re not selling it if you’re pissing people off. Riding around… I didn’t see any bad behavior. There were so many people at that Critical Mass that it was more tame?

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News From New York: The ABC’s of Trial Plazas and Complete Streets

Picture_18.pngThe trial plaza at Madison Square
When we wrote about the trial pedestrian plaza on 17th Street and Market Street that DPW expects to start this May, the story generated numerous doubts about how the city would create a successful public space out of a busy street abutting a gas station. 

As commenter Josh said, "This truly is a ridiculous idea! Why would anyone want to "enjoy" a small patch of cemented area that's filled with salvage yard leftovers while inhaling unhealthy fumes from not only the cars on the busy streets that surround the designated area but by the gas station?"

Though we can't make guarantees on a pilot project that hasn't been built, we thought we'd highlight some of New York City's temporary plazas and street treatments as best practice analogs, knowing our DPW and MTA are also looking to the Big Crabapple for inspiration. 

DPW Director Ed Reiskin explained to Streetsblog by email that his goal is to keep expenses low. "As for cost, it should be minimal, since materials cost should be close to zero," he said.  "There will be some labor cost to us and MTA to put up signs, transport and place materials, and install any pavement treatments and cuts."

In New York, even the "salvage yard leftovers" have become very nice public amenities.

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Loving the Blue Bike Lane in Brisbane

Blue_lane_5.jpg

While all bicycle facility improvements in San Francisco remain at a halt because of a disruptive bike injunction, other Bay Area cities are moving ahead. Take Brisbane. Our reporter, Matthew Roth, snapped this photo of a blue bike lane that was installed near the Brisbane/South San Francisco border in early January. The concept was thought up by a working group of professionals and bicyclists and Fehr and Peers, a transportation consultant firm, designed it.

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