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Connecting the City

Brinkman Pushes SFMTA Staff To Install Fell Street Protected Bike Lane

Image: SFBC

The SFMTA Board of Directors today issued a directive to staff to move on installing a trial curbside protected bike lane on Fell Street between Scott and Baker Streets. SFMTA Director Cheryl Brinkman raised the issue at today's board meeting, pointing out Mayor Ed Lee's comments to Streetsblog last week that he would like to see a physically-separated bikeway on Fell Street happen "quickly."

"We've now had two mayors in a row express their approval to fix this gap. Mayor Newsom, and now Mayor Lee, have said they really want to see this happen and that they want to see it fast-tracked," Brinkman told directors.

She went on: "In the time of rising gas prices, I know we've got more people who want to move to bicycles. This can really help with our rush-hour transit crowding, because every person that we can remove from transit and not put in a private automobile would be fantastic for our health."

Brinkman told Streetsblog that she would like to see the protected bike lane on those three blocks in place by the summer. As we wrote last week, that problematic stretch of Fell, which presents many dangers to bicyclists, links the popular Wiggle bike route with the multi-use Panhandle Park path for points farther west, as well as connections north and south.

In an interview with Streetsblog, SFMTA Sustainable Streets Director Bond Yee said installing a protected lane on the three block stretch of Fell "is doable," but he would not commit to a date.

"Right now, I'm very cautious.  We're looking at it from a sound level to see what's exactly needed to get that done in terms of potential obstacles and resources, and we may require, you know, shuffling priorities around a little bit, but I'm pretty sure it's doable," he said.

Ultimately, bicycle advocates would like to see green physically-separated bike lanes from Scott to Stanyan on Fell and Oak, acting as a couplet for bike traffic.

Update: Leah Shahum, the SFBC Executive Director, issued the following statement after today's SFMTA Board meeting:

"We applaud the City's recognition of the pressing need to improve this important route that literally connects our city for a growing number of people bicycling. There really has been a significant boom in the number of people biking here -- whether it's people commuting between their homes in the western neighborhoods to their jobs downtown or families riding together to enjoy Golden Gate Park. There is strong community interest in making San Francisco a family-friendly place for bicycling, and this section of Fell and Oak Streets will go a long way toward welcoming more people of all ages onto their bicycles."

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