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Posts from the Golden Gate Park Category


It’s Not That Hard to Find People Who Like the JFK Bikeway

Just a hunch: Might the kids riding in front of Stanley's camera like the new bike lane? Image: KRON 4

Much has been made about the “strangeness” of San Francisco’s first parking-protected bike lane in Golden Gate Park, which employs the type of design that other American cities are increasingly using to improve safety and raise bicycling rates.

As someone who lives next to Golden Gate Park, I’ve been going out of my way to ride on John F. Kennedy Drive almost every day since the easternmost section was installed a few weeks ago. The sense of safety and dignity that the protected bikeway affords is highly enjoyable. And day by day, as more drivers grow acclimated to the new arrangement and fewer block the bike lane, I’ve watched a growing number of children and casual bicyclists enjoy riding on a calmer, quieter street in a space that truly belongs to them.

Callie, 7, gives the new bikeway a thumbs-up. Photo: Aaron Bialick

There are ample signs that drivers are getting used to it. In fact, after crews striped the second of three sections yesterday between the de Young Museum and Stow Lake Drive, I found all the cars parked where they’re supposed to be.

Still, floating parking lanes are new to San Francisco, and some members of our local media just can’t resist sensationalizing this transitional phase, focusing on the initial complaints of a few people who aren’t used to it yet. When KRON’s Stanley Roberts went out to JFK Drive last week, he seemingly ignored the swaths of riders, young and old, who use the reconfigured lane. “It was hard for us to find someone who likes it,” he told viewers.

Well, it wasn’t hard for me as I made my way along JFK Drive yesterday. Pretty quickly, I found Colleen and her 7-year-old daughter Callie, who live in the Inner Richmond and regularly bike in the park twice a day. They said the new separation from cars makes them feel safer.

“I think that once the car drivers get used to it, it’ll be easier,” Colleen said. “Right now, they’re confused, and once they understand they’re not supposed to park in the bike lane, it’ll be good.”

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Eyes on the Street: Bike Traffic Signals Going in at Page and Stanyan

The traffic signals are pointed backwards until activated. Photo: Aaron Bialick

A new set of traffic lights that include bicycle-specific signals were erected at Page and Stanyan Streets this week at the recently renovated Golden Gate Park entrance in the Upper Haight. Crews said the lights should be activated in roughly a few weeks, though they couldn’t confirm a date.

The crossing connects a route from Page to John F. Kennedy Drive, where the SFMTA is also constructing a parking-protected bike lane. The signals, which will give a green light solely for pedestrians and bicyclists to enter the park, are part of the latter phase of a San Francisco Bike Plan project. The intersection will also be equipped with pedestrian countdown signals and bicycle sensors, according to plans on the SFMTA’s website [PDF].

A bicycle ramp was also added as part of renovations at the entrance late last year.

See the “before” image here (via Google Maps). Photo: Aaron Bialick


New Car-Free GG Park Sunday Streets Route Kicks Off This Weekend

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Head out to the Avenues for some car-free action this weekend at Sunday Streets in Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway. Don’t forget: the route through Golden Gate Park is slightly different this year. At Transverse Drive, the route switches over from John F. Kennedy Drive to Martin Luther King along the western section.

Activities in the park include the intriguingly named “Roller Soccer International,” Purusha Yoga, a YMCA program for kids, and of course, the regular swing classes and musical skating area on JFK Drive. At Lincoln Way and Great Highway, you’ll find free bike rentals and repairs, the SF Bike Coalition’s Freedom From Training Wheels classes, and booths representing other local organizations and businesses. Along the coast: more music, dance, and kids’ activities.

Here’s hoping the beautiful forecast holds out.

Check out a map and full list of activities after the break. See you out there!

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Eyes on the Street: More Progress on JFK Drive Parking-Protected Bikeway

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The bike lane and the parking lane will soon swap sides around this ladder-shaped striping, which outlines the future buffer zone of the JFK Drive bikeway. Photos: Aaron Bialick

Crews have placed preliminary road markings for the coming re-design of JFK Drive in front of the Conservatory of Flowers.

Next month, JFK will become the first street in San Francisco where cyclists are protected from moving traffic by parked cars. The markings, for the time being, give bicyclists a teaser of how the protected bikeway will look, with the traffic pattern remaining the same for now.

Over the past few weeks, crews have been adjusting storm drains, adding curb ramps, and removing road stripes on JFK in preparation for the re-design. The project should be completed just before the city’s first on-street, two-way protected bikeway debuts in the southeastern neighborhoods.

See more photos after the break.

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First Signs of Construction Appear on the JFK Drive Bikeway

JFK Drive yesterday during the regular Sunday closure to cars. The center line has been partially grinded off. Photos: Aaron Bialick

After repeated delays and some intermittent rain, the SFMTA has apparently begun construction of the city’s first parking-protected bikeway on John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park. The center lane striping appeared mostly grinded off on the western section of the road yesterday from Transverse Drive just past Stow Lake Drive. Construction equipment also sat at a spot where some digging had begun, possibly for drain work or curb ramps. The SFMTA has said it should be finished in March, weather permitting.


JFK Bikeway Gets Final Approval From Rec and Parks Commission

Image: SFMTA

San Francisco bicycle advocates are celebrating a major milestone after the city’s first parking-protected bike lane cleared its final hurdle yesterday. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commission approved the John F. Kennedy Drive bikeway, which will be installed in Golden Gate Park this December.

“The new, dedicated bikeways coming on JFK Drive will be a great benefit to the growing number of people, including so many families with children as well as seniors, biking in the park,” said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) Executive Director Leah Shahum. “These parking-protected bikeways have been proven in cities such as Portland, Oregon and New York City to make the streets safer and more inviting not only for people biking but also for people walking. And there’s nowhere this is more needed than in a park.”

The bike lane will be the city’s first to place a row of parked cars between motorized traffic and bicycle traffic, protecting bicycle riders from the dangers of passing vehicles and opening car doors. It will also be the first completed project that the SFBC called for in Connecting the City, its plan for a citywide network of protected bikeways.

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JFK Bikeway Project Faces One Last Hurdle Before December Arrival

Image: SFMTA

Anticipation is building for the arrival of San Francisco’s first parking-buffered cycle track along the eastern stretch of John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park this December. The project received approval from the Golden Gate Park Concourse Authority on Wednesday, and the final step in its approval will come at a Recreation and Parks Commission hearing on October 20.

“We are happy to see such strong public support for the proposal for a dedicated bikeway on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park from key city leaders as well as hundreds of citizens who have sent letters of support,” said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) Executive Director Leah Shahum. “We hope that the Recreation and Parks Commissioners will also prioritize safety and access in the park by making the street safer for the growing number of families, locals, and visitors who bicycle.”

Recreation and Parks General Manager Phil Ginsburg testified at Wednesday’s hearing in support of the project, and it also has the backing of District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Lee, who announced the project’s December arrival at Bike to Work Day, sent a letter [PDF] to the Concourse Authority lauding the project.

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JFK Drive Bikeway Promises Pleasant Travel in Golden Gate Park

One conceptual rendering showing a painted buffer between the bikeway and vehicle travel lane. Image: SFBC

As early as this spring, residents and tourists could be enjoying a world-class bi-directional, physically-separated bikeway along a 1.5 -mile stretch of Golden Gate Park’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) Drive as part of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s (SFBC) Connecting the City campaign for a network of routes safe and comfortable enough for an eight or eighty-year-old.

The project would be the first section installed on the 3-mile Bay to Beach Route. “Envision how welcoming this bikeway would be for the growing number of families who want a safe way to bike to museums and playgrounds in the park and the large number of people who want a comfortable route from the western neighborhoods to downtown,” the SFBC said on its website.

Separated bikeways are expected to dramatically boost the number of bicyclists on key routes by providing a comfortable and safe continuous green ribbon of bikeways, with designs similar to New York City’s recent Prospect Park West Bikeway. Results there have shown a drastic reduction in speeding motor traffic and overall crashes along with a tripling of weekday cycling.

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Eyes on the Street: Is this Our Stop? Signage Shortcomings on Muni Metro

IMG_0105.jpgLike most Muni Metro surface stops, the N-Judah stop at 9th and Irving offers little guidance to museum-bound riders. Photos: Michael Rhodes
Anyone who's given a friend from out of town directions on riding Muni knows it can be tricky to describe just where they need to get off to reach their destination. Fortunately, buses now automatically announce upcoming stops and display them on screens at the front of vehicles, and light rail vehicles announce upcoming stations when they're running in the Market Street tunnel.

When those same light rail vehicles get out of the tunnel and start running at street level, however, things get a little messier: stops aren't automatically announced or displayed, and many train operators don't announce stops themselves. Unlike most modern light rail systems, Muni Metro surface stops are often more like bus stops than stations, with little signage even at major destinations.

One of the most egregious examples is the intersection of 9th and Irving, a popular shopping and dining destination, as well as the nearest N-Judah stop for tourists on their way to the de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Both museums advertise the N-Judah on their websites as an option for reaching them by transit, but once on the N, first-time riders, whether tourists or visitors from other Bay Area cities, have little guidance on when to get off or where to go once they exit at 9th and Irving.

Given the importance of promoting transit as a means of traveling to the museum for visitors, - who are currently swelling the park with vehicles - shouldn't Muni do more to make traveling by transit simple?

"We're always trying to improve our wayfinding," said Judson True, a spokesperson for the MTA. Indeed, the new T-Third light rail line has clearly marked stations, and some other Muni Metro stops, like Stonestown and SF State on the M-Ocean View line, are similarly station-like. For the most part, though, when Muni's light rail vehicles reach the surface, even major destination like Dolores Park, Church and 24th Street, and the SF Zoo lack any signage beyond street signs, which aren't always easy to spy from a train.


Eyes on the Street: Backwards Driver Crashes Into Cyclist in GG Park

3927087364_ed4bda0fcd.jpgFlickr photo: NateShow

From SF Citizen via Eyes on Blogs comes word of a nasty collision between a bicyclist and an SUV driver in Golden Gate Park Wednesday. The photographer who snapped these shots described the crash on his Flickr post:

The driver of this SUV (apparently not from the area), was backing up in traffic to correct an incorrect turn, and backed right into the cyclist (unidentified), who took a dive through the truck's rear window and briefly lost consciousness. When I arrived, SFFD was on the scene and working on the cyclist, who had regained consciousness and was speaking with EMTs. He was put in a neck brace, loaded onto the ambulance and sent off to SF General. Confidence was high the cyclist would recover. SFPD were also on scene taking witness statements.

Sgt. Lyn Tomioka, an SFPD spokesperson, said the driver kicked into reverse after an illegal u-turn:

This occurred on 9/16/09 at 11:33 am, on JFK west of Kezar. SUV driver was a Marin resident and the cyclist lives in SF. The driver of the SUV was making an illegal U turn and then had to back up to complete that turn. That is when the cyclist was stuck and went through the rear window. (Thank God he was wearing a helmet - which absorbed most of the impact) There was an independent witness who stayed on scene, and the cyclist was taken to SFGH for treatment. He was interviewed at SFGH, but did not recall the incident. The driver was at fault in this case.

Tomioka said the driver was not cited at the scene for unsafe backing (California Vehicle Code 22106) or speeding. See additional photos after the break.