Eyes on the Street: SFMTA Crews Remove Sharrows on Sutter/Post Streets

Here lies a spot on Sutter Street where a sharrow once existed. Photo: Bryan Goebel

SFMTA crews have removed the sharrows in the center lanes on long stretches of Sutter and Post Streets, eliminating a confusing design that didn’t seem to be at all popular with bicyclists. The problem now is there are no amenities for bicyclists on those portions of Bicycle Route 16.

We first wrote about the issue last July, and the Bay Citizen/New York Times picked up the story in January. Many bicyclists we spoke to felt the center lane was too dangerous, especially considering both streets are one-way arterials. Their design encourages drivers to speed above the posted 25 mph limit.

“I think it’s just asinine,” one bike rider told us. “You’re trusting the car coming behind you not to hit you.”

A better alternative might be to allow bicycles in the bus lanes. As we pointed out last summer, “the Bike Plan does call for the SFMTA to experiment with bikes in transit lanes. Other cities around the U.S., and the world, have lanes that accommodate both buses and bikes, such as Paris, Madison, Wi., Vancouver, B.C., Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.”

When we last contacted the SFMTA bike program about the issue, staffers claimed allowing bikes in the bus lanes would require a change in state law, but doesn’t that same law also apply to taxis, which the city allows in transit lanes?

We’ve emailed the SFMTA and are hoping to get some clarification. In the meantime, what do you think the SFMTA should do for bicyclists on Sutter and Post Streets?

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