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Posts from the "Market Street" Category

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Eyes on the Street: Easier Bike Navigation at Market and Buchanan

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A man uses a new waiting zone set up for bike commuters where the Duboce bikeway ends, at Market and Buchanan Streets. Photo: Frank Chan/Flickr

Doing the Wiggle should be a little easier, thanks to new green-backed sharrows and plastic posts installed by the SFMTA last week. These help bike commuters navigate the entrance to the Duboce bikeway, at Market and Buchanan Streets.

The sharrows are intended to establish a clearer path for bike traffic heading both to and from the bikeway, navigating around pedestrians in Market’s northern crosswalk across Buchanan. The paths mostly follow patterns long followed by bike commuters, but also set aside a new zone for eastbound riders to wait in without getting in the way of westbound riders.

Previously, the junction lacked any markings to direct bicyclists, who had little to go by other than the crosswalks. Riders heading in opposite directions often waited for the light on the same small spot of corner curb space. An added benefit of the sharrows is that they direct people to cross streetcar tracks at a safe, perpendicular angle.

The three plastic posts installed appear to help solve that problem in two ways: One post separates the two directions of bike traffic, while the other two mark the separation between waiting bike riders and car traffic on Buchanan.

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SFMTA Proposes New Steps to Divert Cars Off Market Street

With new diversions for private autos on Market Street, the SFMTA would direct traffic on to these possible routes instead. Image: SFMTA

The SFMTA has proposed new forced turns for private autos at intersections on the most congested stretch of Market Street, which could be implemented in phases early next year. SFMTA staff presented the changes [PDF] to the agency’s board of directors Friday — not just as a way to speed up transit, but to make the thoroughfare safer for walking and biking.

The SF Chronicle reports:

“This is primarily a safety project,” said Timothy Papandreou, director of strategic planning in the sustainable streets division of the Municipal Transportation Agency…

The changes announced Friday include stepped-up enforcement of existing transit-only lanes and turn restrictions. Early next year, additional mandatory turns are to be installed at Third, Fourth and Fifth streets and transit-only lanes would be extended eastward down Market.

Market Street between Eighth and Montgomery streets has twice as many collisions as parallel Mission Street despite having only a third of the traffic, Papandreou said. It also includes four of the city’s 20 worst intersections for collisions that injure or kill pedestrians — Fifth Street, Sixth Street, Eighth Street and Main Street. Two of the worst intersections for bike collisions are also on Market at Third and Fifth streets.

The MTA will focus first on Montgomery to Fifth streets before considering whether to head farther down Market.

As we reported last month, the SFMTA is implementing near-term measures in the meantime, including re-timing traffic signals, painting the transit-only lanes red (an effort that began on Third Street last week), and installing ”Don’t Block the Box” paint and signage at intersections, all of which will come with increased enforcement by early summer.

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Haight-Market Contra-Flow Bus Lane, Ped Upgrades Coming Next Summer

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The intersection of Market, Gough, and Haight Streets. Images courtesy of the SFMTA and the SF Planning Department

Construction of a red contra-flow bus-only lane and pedestrian safety upgrades at the hairy intersection of Market, Haight, and Gough Streets is on track to begin in January and be completed next summer, according to the SFMTA. The plan to create a more direct route for riders on Muni’s 71-Haight/Noriega and 6-Parnassus lines, approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors two years ago, is expected to come along with sidewalk bulb-outs, pedestrian refuges, and new greenery.

Currently, standing on the intersection’s northern pedestrian island to cross makes you “feel like a total loser,” said neighborhood advocate Robin Levitt at a meeting last night of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, where residents seemed to welcome the project.

The pedestrian safety improvements were rolled into the two-way Haight project along with sewer work, which adds to the seven-month construction period. SFMTA staffers said the 71, 6, and F-Market lines are expected to be temporarily re-routed during that time.

HVNA also suggested some adjustments to the plans to expand sidewalks and pedestrian islands, such as adding a bulb-out on the narrow east corner of Gough instead of the west corner, and moving the car parking lane to the east side to add protection for pedestrians. An HVNA sketch submitted to the SFMTA also included shifting the pedestrian island further to the west to make more room for passing buses. SFMTA staff said that bulb-out adjustments could be made with approval at a public hearing.

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Eyes on the Street: More Green-Backed Sharrows on Market Street

The SFMTA continues to paint green-backed sharrows along lower Market Street in the wake of a re-paving by the Department of Public Works. The new markings have been spotted as far east as Fourth Street.

The combination is a nice treat that may help tide over San Franciscans who are still waiting for raised, protected bike lanes to be installed in who-knows-what-year. Fewer potholes and more visibility are nothing to sneeze at, and the increasingly continuous sharrows are starting to add some definition to the “Bay-to-Beach” route.

Of course, we have Frank Chan to thank for the superb shots.

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New Renderings, Details on Car-Free Areas From “Better Market Street”

Market between First and Second Streets shown with raised bike lanes. Images: Better Market Street

The vision for Market Street (and potentially Mission) is becoming clearer with the release of new renderings of streets and plazas at public workshops for the “Better Market Street” project this week.

Planners presented renderings of specific stretches of Market, including redesigns for both UN and Hallidie Plaza (where the Powell Station entrance would be raised), as well as proposed changes to Muni stop spacing. Ellis Street would also be closed to car traffic to create a new plaza.

The presentation also shed more light on the three bikeway options — putting protected bike lanes on Market, on Mission, or neither. New street plans show how those ideas would pan out, including the spots where planners say there just isn’t enough width to maintain a continuous bikeway on Market.

For each of the three options [PDF], details on potential car-free areas have also been released.

  • Option 1, with protected bike lanes on neither Market nor Mission, would ban cars between Fremont and Eighth Streets.
  • Option 2, with protected bike lanes on Market, would prohibit cars only between Fremont and Fifth Streets. The idea is that where protected bike lanes exist, car bans aren’t as neceessary, planners said. But since there’s not enough width to provide a protected bike lane between Grant and Fifth Streets,  they say, that stretch will at least be car-free, to provide more comfort for bicyclists and keep transit moving.
  • Option 3, with protected bike lanes on Mission (but not Market), would include the longest car-free stretch on Market, from Van Ness Avenue to the Embarcadero. One reason for that is to help speed up buses that would be re-routed from Mission on to Market, according to the presentation materials.

All of the proposed car bans would apply only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Planners will present the proposals for feedback again on Saturday at the SF Main Library from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You can also submit comments online.

Hallidie Plaza

See more images after the jump.

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Bikeway on Mission Instead of Market: Does Anybody Think It’s a Good Idea?

Bike traffic is already booming on Market Street, the city's main civic thoroughfare and most direct route to many major destinations. Does anybody really think ignoring this natural traffic pattern is a good idea? Photo: Mark Dreger, San Franciscoize/Flickr

Updated at 9 p.m. with street configuration diagram at bottom.

Two public meetings on Better Market Street will be held on July 17 and 20, and a webinar will be held on July 18.

The idea of building protected bike lanes on downtown Mission Street instead of Market Street, as proposed by the Department of Public Works and the SFMTA, doesn’t seem to have many adherents aside from the planners who proposed it.

The agencies framed the proposal as a simpler engineering task than protected bike lanes on Market — where the vast majority of people already ride, and are expected to continue to ride. But the idea was roundly criticized by advocates and city officials yesterday at the latest Board of Supervisors hearing on the Better Market Street project.

Although SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said the option is worth studying, he also said he “shares many of the concerns” about trying to divert bicycle traffic off the city’s main thoroughfare.

“If it’s not going to be a world-class bicycle facility that will be a better choice and naturally attract cyclists to Mission Street, and many bicyclists still end up on Market Street, then it won’t have achieved its goal of trying to de-conflict transit and cycling,” said Reiskin.

Paul Valdez, a bicycle commuter who spoke against the Mission option — as did every other speaker who commented on it — called it “absurd.”

“Scratch that option. Please re-focus your energies, time, and resources” on improving Market Street, he said.

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The Difference Some Sleek New Paint and Pavement Makes on Market Street

It’s remarkable how much more dignified bicycling on mid-Market Street feels with the fresh coat of smooth asphalt and green paint that crews put in over the weekend. The bike lane’s transformation from something like an abandoned trench to a green carpet is almost as refreshing as when it was first painted green (in fact, it’s brighter now than ever).

Crews made one neat change in the configuration at Market and 10th Street: Where there used to sit an empty traffic lane blocked by a sign since the forced right turn for cars was implemented in 2009, the bike lane was shifted to the left, which provides more of a straight shot for bicycle riders as they cross the intersection and makes the removal of that traffic lane finally feel official.

It also leaves a stretch of empty curb space to the right of the bike lane — no word yet on what that will be used for. Perhaps it’s time for Twitter to build the first parklet on Market Street?

Crews paint a fresh coat on the center bike lane on the eastbound approach to 10th Street, where cars must turn right. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Just past 10th Street, the bike lane has been shifted closer to the center of the street. Photo: Aaron Bialick

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Planning Commission Approves Ped-Friendly Plan for Market and Dolores

As part of a newly-approved agreement, developers will add a sidewalk extension at Market and Dolores to make room for a mini plaza. Image: Prado Group

A plan to add a mini plaza and pedestrian safety improvements at Market and Dolores streets was approved by the SF Planning Commission on Thursday. The project will include new pedestrian refuges and sidewalks as wide as 14 feet, as well as special pavement treatments to highlight crosswalks on the block of Dolores between Market and 14th Streets. The crosswalk on Dolores at Clinton Park, a side street, will also be raised.

Image via Curbed SF

The plan received unanimous approval from commissioners, who were not swayed by some neighbors who opposed the conversion of two traffic lanes to pedestrian space on a short, lightly-trafficked section of Dolores. The improvements were part of a city agreement with the developers of an 85-unit apartment building and Whole Foods Market under construction at the corner. The arrangement calls for the developer to install the street upgrades in lieu of $510,000 in impact fees.

“The current design allows cars to whip around the corner quickly onto Dolores, endangering people who are crossing,” Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe wrote in a letter to the Planning Commission in support of the project. “Dolores itself is also a high-speed street, making conditions more dangerous for all users, since any collisions are made much more serious at higher vehicle speeds.”

D8 Supervisor Scott Wiener praised the plan because it “appropriately balances pedestrian safety with traffic flow in the area. It’s a unique opportunity that we’re not gonna have again to do this upgrade.”

“If you’ve ever walked that intersection or driven by it, it is an incredibly wide, long pedestrian crossing — one of the longest in the area,” he said.

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Supes Seek Answers on Bike/Ped Strategy, “Better Market Street” Delay

Supervisors Avalos, Kim, Mar, and Wiener.

Members of the SF Board of Supervisors are calling attention to the need to fund the SFMTA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Strategies, as well as the delayed Better Market Street project, which suddenly looks like it might not include space for bicycling.

The Market Street situation concerned Supervisors Scott Wiener and John Avalos enough to call separate hearings and release statements on the issue. Both are troubled by the new completion date of 2019 — a four-year delay — and the idea of building protected bike lanes on downtown Mission instead of Market, which was recently added as a potential option to the surprise of advocates and supervisors.

Avalos called for a hearing at the next meeting of the SF County Transportation Authority Board on February 26. In a statement, he said, “Market Street is the most bicycled street West of the Mississippi, and I believe it deserves dedicated cycle tracks along its full length. The current state of Market Street with the ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ zig-zagging bike lane is unbecoming for the premiere thoroughfare of one of America’s premier bicycling cities… We, as city officials, can’t squander this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Wiener’s hearing would take place at an upcoming meeting at the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee. “The Better Market Street project should be the best example of improving our streets through creating safer pedestrian and bike access and making thoughtful transit decisions,” he said in a statement. “The plan should encourage people to make better use of public space and to advance our city’s Transit-First policy. We need to carefully scrutinize any changes to the plan that could impact that goal.”

On funding the Pedestrian Strategy, D6 Supervisor Jane Kim called a hearing with city staffers about how to fund the safety improvements needed to reach the plan’s goals, which include cutting pedestrian injuries in half by 2020. She didn’t say if Mayor Ed Lee was expected to attend.

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Eyes on the Street: Progress on Market/Valencia Turn, Green Paint on Fell

Green paint now highlights the Fell Street bike lane from Scott to Divisadero. Photos: Mark Dreger

Improvements on two of San Francisco’s most important bicycling links continue to take shape: Green paint now graces the first block of the Fell Street separated bike lane, and much of the visible construction has been completed on the left-turn bicycle lane and traffic signal going in at Market and Valencia Streets.

Streetsblog reader Mark Dreger sent in photos of the improvements today, noting that the green paint on Fell highlights the beginning of the bike lane west of Scott Street, and there is now a longer segment of dashed green markings extending from the area where bike riders merge with drivers queuing up at the Arco gas station. SFMTA crews laid down the basic stripes of the bike lane last week, including the outline of a bike box and an advanced stop line for cars at the Divisadero intersection.

At Market and Valencia, Department of Public Works crews appear to have mostly completed the concrete work, which involved cutting out a section of the sidewalk (formerly an unused curb cut) and installing an island that sets off the area where left-turning cyclists queue up. Bike traffic continuing straight through the intersection will be routed around the left of the island, according to the project plans, meaning there will be a short stretch with no buffer zone. One of two bicycle traffic signal heads has also been installed. SFMTA crews still have to add markings for the left-turn lane and activate the new traffic signals.

Update: Mike Sallaberry of the SFMTA’s Livable Streets Subdivision said the traffic signals are expected to be activated this week.

See more photos after the break.

The left-turn queuing area at Market and Valencia.

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