A bicyclist makes her way up Sutter Street just after the evening commute. Photos by Bryan Goebel.
Pedaling up Sutter Street toward Leavenworth from his dentist's office during the height of the Wednesday evening commute, Dan Nunes is riding in the transit-only lane for his bike trip home, despite the new sharrows
recently painted in the center lane to his left. There, drivers often zoom by at alarming speeds, breaking the 25 mile an hour speed limit, narrowly avoiding crashes, and treating the three-lane arterial like a highway, especially as they make the descent down the hill on Sutter just past Leavenworth.
For Nunes, and many other cyclists, riding in the center lane is not an option, even with the beckoning of the white sharrows.
"I think it's just asinine. You're trusting the car coming behind you not to hit you," he said. "It's about avoiding contact with the cars so riding in the middle lane with cabs, with tourists looking at buildings, I mean, come on."
Sutter Street cuts through several of San Francisco's densest neighborhoods and commercial districts, and along with Post Street one block south, serves as a major east-west connection for bicyclists. Those streets also serve Muni's 2-Clement and 3-Jackson, which have dedicated transit lanes that are sometimes clogged by drivers cued up to turn right.
The SFMTA recently installed the sharrows on both Sutter and Post
Streets (Bicycle Route 16) as part of its Bike Plan directive to add 75
miles of new sharrows on bike routes across the city. Where Sutter and
Post intersect with other bicycle routes, the sharrows have been painted
in two lanes so drivers can more readily expect cyclists, and cyclists
can position themselves to turn, according to the SFMTA.
Plans are also in the works to paint sharrows on short sections of
other streets with transit lanes, including Clay Street from Montgomery
to Battery, and Stockton from Sutter to Post. Read more...