The basic striping for a separated bike lane on Fell Street now links the Wiggle to the Panhandle, a milestone in the years-long campaign to make one of San Francisco’s most important bicycle routes more appealing to all. Crews from the SF Municipal Transportation Agency yesterday striped the 5-foot buffer separating the bike lane from motor traffic, the most significant sign of progress yet on this long-awaited street safety project.
“We are extremely excited to see the Fell Street separated bikeway underway,” said SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum. ”This is a safety improvement project that is so crucial to the huge number of people who bike and walk along this corridor every day. The paint and buffer is a great step toward making this intimidating corridor safer, and we’re looking forward to the addition of the other pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements that are planned. We continue to applaud the SFMTA for taking biking, walking, and neighborhood safety seriously on Fell and Oak Streets.”
The SFMTA plans to add bicycle stencils, intersection treatments, green paint in some areas, and eventually concrete barriers to complete the bike lane. The rest of the project’s bicycle and pedestrian improvements will be added in the coming months, including a similar bike lane on the three parallel blocks of Oak Street, more visible crosswalks, and sidewalk extensions at 12 street corners. The sychronized traffic signal speed will also be lowered from 25 MPH to 20 MPH to calm car traffic, and dedicated bicycle signals will give bicyclists and pedestrians a head start to cross in front of turning vehicles.
Many bike commuters using the Fell lane so far have been seen riding close to, or even inside, the buffer zone. That may be due to the poor riding surface along the curb, which has for decades served as storage for cars, leaving the concrete bumpy in some areas. Or maybe it’s just habit for those who grew accustomed to braving the old bike lane, which has now become the buffer zone.