The SFMTA and other city agencies will hold an open house tomorrow to kick off planning for a protected bikeway on the Embarcadero.
No specific proposals have been put forth yet, but a report [PDF] on the SFMTA website promises that the agency will “develop a conceptual design and cost estimate” for a “a bicycle facility that is physically separated from moving or parked vehicles and pedestrians.” Options for the project are expected to include a two-way protected bikeway on the north side of the street, and a pair of one-way protected bike lanes on either side of the street.
“What we’re hearing and observing everyday — hearing from the port, primarily — is that the status quo is no longer sustainable,” SFMTA Senior Transportation Planner Patrick Golier told SFBay.
Port Planning Director Diane Oshima praised the idea of “allocating space and increasing predictability, so that people start to adopt a culture of understanding [of] what acceptable behaviors are,” SFBay reported.
The effort comes nearly a year after a wildly popular temporary protected bikeway was tested along a short stretch of the Embarcadero, to encourage visitors to bike to the America’s Cup yacht races. Last July, the SFMTA added green paint to the existing bike lanes, making them more visible to drivers and discouraging them from blocking the lanes. Despite the paint, the street remains both one of the city’s most fearsome, and yet most popular, bicycle routes.
As SFBC community organizer Janice Li wrote in a recent blog post: “Even with the bike lane, the fast-moving traffic and lack of physical protection or separation makes it an unwelcoming ride for even the experienced. Vehicles regularly park in the bike lane, forcing bicycles into fast-moving traffic.”
People are allowed to bike on the Embarcadero’s northern sidewalk, but it’s typically crowded and can be difficult to share.
“These conditions have led to some collisions, many close calls, and detract from the comfort of all users,” the SFMTA’s report says.