Golden Gate Park JFK Bikeway Project Delayed Until December 2011

A rendering of the JFK Drive bikeway. Image: ##http://www.connectingthecity.org/routes/bay-beach/##SFBC##

The expected construction of a physically-separated bikeway along a stretch of John F. Kennedy (JFK) Drive in Golden Gate Park will now come no sooner than December, according to a report from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA).

“All parties involved in the project recognize that they underestimated the complexity of the planning and design process…and agree that additional planning and design work is needed to move the project forward,” said a resolution [pdf] adopted by the SFCTA Board today which granted further planning funds to the SFMTA, the agency overseeing the project.

It was originally expected to be completed in December 2010 but the SFCTA now projects a full year of delay in the implementation schedule, with several different timeline and cost scenarios laid out. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC), which has been working with the various city agencies to prioritize the project, had hoped to see the project done by this spring.

One reason for the delay, according the report, is an expansion of the project’s scope. Initially, it only involved the section of JFK Drive from 8th Avenue to Transverse Drive, but it now includes bike facilities along the more complicated stretch east to Stanyan Street at end of the park.

The report says concerns were raised in the planning process including the safety of intersection designs, accommodations for shuttle loading to serve disabled visitors, and the removal of parking spots.

Engineers are also exploring multiple design options, including two one-way cycle tracks on either side of the road. Additional treatment options, including a “slurry” roadway seal and pavement coloring, wouldn’t go in until August and October 2012, respectively. Total construction costs range from $400,000 to $1,000,000.

“The devil’s always in the details,” said Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) Director of Policy and Public Affairs Sarah Ballard, who highlighted the need to develop a bikeway design that could be easily replicated for further expansion.

“The next goal would be to replicate [this project] throughout JFK all the way to the beach, and eventually fill in a more robust vision where you could bike between our 224 neighborhood parks on a separated bike lane on the streets,” said Ballard.

The SFBC has been working with the SFMTA and the RPD to get the cycle track implemented as the first piece of its Connecting the City vision for a network of safe crosstown bikeways. The project aims to create the first section of a “Bay to Beach” route welcoming enough for everyone from ages eight to eighty to ride on.

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