SFMTA Crews Begin Striping Alemany Boulevard Buffered Bike Lanes

Crews striped the first stretch today eastbound from Rousseau Street to Justin Drive. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Alemany Boulevard will soon be dramatically safer for cycling as SFMTA crews began striping the city’s newest stretch of buffered bike lanes today.

Despite acting as a vital connection between the Glen Park and Bayview neighborhoods, this stretch of Alemany between Rousseau Street and Bayshore Boulevard [pdf] has long been uninviting for people who bike without any protection from drivers traveling at dangerously high speeds.

“Alemany Boulevard is such an important connector in the city, and with these new bikeways we will see even more people riding comfortably to work or school or the farmers market or simply for fun,” said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum.

The section has long reinforced the 280 freeway as a gouge through the city’s southeastern neighborhoods with a vast, parallel six-lane roadway. The new bike lanes, which will be separated from motor vehicles by safe-hit posts and a striped buffer as wide as nine feet, will provide residents a more accessible route to destinations like the thriving Alemany Farmer’s Market and bike routes toward downtown San Francisco.

“The bike lanes have eight-foot lanes here. This is good, cause these cars are flyin’ down here,” said the project foreman as crews striped the first stretch from Rousseau Street to Justin Drive.

The bike lanes will connect with existing lanes on Alemany to the west and link to the Glen Park BART station. However, to the east of Putnam Street as Alemany passes underneath the 101 freeway, the bike lanes will disappear, and turn into sharrows.

Crew members said they expect to finish the project this week. See more photos after the break.

Photo: Aaron Bialick
The west end at Rousseau Street where the existing bike lanes end. Photo: Aaron Bialick
A rider navigates around the construction zone. Photo: Aaron Bialick
Just east of today's addition. Notice the dark preliminary lines marking the stripe placement. Photo: Aaron Bialick
Passing underneath the 101 freeway where only sharrows will be added. Photo: Aaron Bialick
The approach towards Bayshore Boulevard on the east end of the route. Photo: Aaron Bialick
Preliminary markings westbound on the north side of the 280 freeway. Photo: Aaron Bialick
The improvements will make it easier to get to the Alemany Farmer's Market without a car. Photo: Aaron Bialick
This stretch of road between the 101 freeway and the farmer's market is apparently so dangerous the sidewalk needed to be barricaded. Unfortunately, it will only receive sharrows. Photo: Aaron Bialick
Bayshore Boulevard, the natural shoreline of San Francisco. Photo: Aaron Bialick
These bike lanes on Bosworth Street connect bike commuters from Alemany to the Glen Park BART station. Photo: Aaron Bialick
  • Awesome! Can’t wait to check it out!

  • Hmm… well, I don’t wanna be the first to leave a message since I am out of town, but anyway… what happens when a “safe hit post” is hit by a  motor vehicle (including big trucks) going 45, 55 or 65 mph? 

    The SFMTA is unfortunately free to experiment or base new installations on other whatever solutions or NACTO-thumbs-up whatever experiments plus the endorsement of the Everything is Good Committee, but what boggles the addled mind of this expat who spent 13 years in SF is why Leah Shahum, who recently spent 8 months in Amsterdam and thereabouts, continues to endorse infrastructure which her cycling expert friends in the Dutch capital would laugh at and which others there would simply reject as philosophically-opposed to subjective and objective safety.

    Sharrows are fine communicators to newbie car drivers and cyclists dancing in tandem on slower streets, but have no place on fast spots like we see in the example above. Does this actually follow government guidelines, such as they are?

  • SteveS

    Seems like missed opportunity with all those barriers already by the farmers market – just get a crew to move them 10 feet to the left and you have an instant protected bike lane! 

  • Nick

     Will they connect to the existing Alemany bike lanes? How much of a Network do we really have if not?

  • guest

    Agreed, this really sucks that they’re only doing sharrows on a particularly scary section.

    But posts + buffer = I’ll take it, for now. Better than nothing. Speaking of nothing, come on, can’t we do this for San Jose Ave too? So nuts that City College is effectively cut off from the rest of the world. Except that you can park your car in a huge reservoir there, I guess. 

  • Warshme

    The stretch of Alemany Blvd  heading west/south(3rd picture from the bottom) on the side of the Farmer’s Market is probably the most dangerous street in SF to ride on for any cyclist. I will never ride this stretch. Putting sharrows only is not the answer. A bypass needs to be made or make the sidewalk the bikepath. This stretch of street has cars and trucks reaching freeway speeds all the way to the last picture. In fact most people ride on the sidewalk till after the community garden.
    Definitely like the other side of Alemany. Thanks!!

  • Rachel

    Oh hell yeah!

    I used to ride that section to work because it
    was more level than any other route and shaved off almost 20 min from
    the ride. But it was Kamikazi. Even my avid bike friends admonished me
    for taking the risk

  • Rachel

    Maybe you don’t ride it, but some already do. Sharrows are not enough, but they are an improvement nontheless.

  • EL

     I will not ride along this stretch of Alemany.  Not because of the absence of infrastructure, but because I won’t want to ride anywhere near the pharmacies at Ellsworth.

  • Nick

    I rode it yesterday afternoon and it felt like a rollercoaster. Maybe the finished product will feel safer, but this did NOT. 
    I particularly liked how 20′ of guardrail over the freeway overpass was missing from a car careening into it. Wish Streetsblog would have taken a picture of that because this street may need comphrehesive traffic-calming akin to Masonic. However there is no one here to advocate foor it. 

  • guest

    Yeah man, projects sure are scary. All poor people are scary. And that Alemany Farm? Whoo! Watch out for those flying zucchini! 

  • KenonAlemany

    Biking on the west/southbound(farmers market) side anywhere other than the sidewalk is just 100% suicidal.  Sharrows there are a horrible idea.  Somebody who doesn’t know might use them and get KILLED.Those concrete barriers in the third to last picture just need to be moved 1.5 feet to the left, just up to the curb.  There’s perfectly good mostly unused sidewalk already there that would then only some overgrowth pruned away & a little sweeping.  It would be the most protected bike path in the whole city.

    The current set up at eastbound Alemany at Stoneybrook Ave. is a death-trap also.(note location of fast bus in the picture)  The lead up to the right turn lane for cars shown in the picture is an even more dangerous death-trap.

    I’ve lived right there for 11 years.  I know this street better than anyone.  Alemany was safer before these lines were painted.  They have to be changed.

    I’ve sent a detailed explanation of problems to SFBC’s “contact for Alemany”:
    Andy Thornley
    SFBC Program Director431-2453 ext.307
    I hope he’s helpful.  Share your experience with him as well.

  • KenonAlemany

    I thought I’d add a picture of that bus coming down toward the dangerous area.

  • KenonAlemany

    Compare the two pictures of the same bus.  Notice how the the right hand lane that the bus starts off in abruptly ends creating a bottleneck for fast moving downhill traffic and becomes the bike lane at the same spot where cyclists are steered to the left.  Barriers will not solve this problem.  The design is flawed at it’s core.  The bike lane should continue on the right hand side of the road & never steer the bikes to the left.

  • Anonymous

    isn’t the point of the lane moving to the left to prevent right hooks, the most prevalent type of car/bike interaction there is?

  • KenonAlemany

    I can offer some words of encouragement on the scary guardrail wreckage.  You see that because nothing gets fixed here as opposed to it being that way because of cars flying off the road often.  I’ve biked here for a couple years now & feel safe until after the farmers market.

    I would advocate against any “calming” here.  280 north, 280 south, 101 north & 101 south all run through here.  These are all busy & fast highways.  Traffic calming or road diet nonsense here will only cause perpetual traffic jams in every direction for miles around worse than Octavia.  I prefer cars coming through my neighborhood pass thru quickly as opposed to lingering.

  • mikesonn

    @ddbbd231fdd807571e942a5e58c10e66:disqus “I prefer cars coming through my neighborhood pass thru quickly as opposed to lingering.”


  • KenonAlemany

    I understand what they were thinking when they moved the lane left which is to prevent right hooks.  I real life if you ride at THIS intersection the sharp nature of the right turn onto a side street has the cars going nice & slow & I never have a right hook problem.  Moving to the left at a bottleneck(the right lane ends for cars going straight) just after a downhill with fast cars moving to the right IS going to be dangerous in my opinion.  I’m concerned we’re trading a potential slow right hook for a potential fast right sideswipe.

  • KenonAlemany

    I took a bike ride down the new Alemany eastbound lane to Rousseau two nights ago.  It seems more complete than here at Stoneybrook but, not quite done yet.  The right hand car lane seems to appear to your right out nowhere.  A car driver cut across the solid white bike lane lines in front of me to turn right.  This area makes it very unclear where drivers are supposed to go.

    Yesterday morning 5/25 I snapped 25 photos in 16 minutes of cars going thru the bike lane here at Stoneybrook and 1 picture of a savvy cyclist who knows it’s best not to use it.  First car pictured came thru at 8:30am the last picture shows the last one I took at 8:46  I also took a drive down the right hand car lane from Congdon.  The lane just ends abruptly with no clear direction on where drivers are supposed to go.  Cars are still driving thru the bike lane today.

    I hope they complete or fix this soon so it works better than it does now.  It’s been half-complete for 6 days.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    Nicely done with the photos. This is the exact same situation that happens at Laguna Honda north bound with the right turn on to Clarendon, which was redesigned twice before the recent repaving. That intersection is on its third bike lane configuration with minor changes and with little added success. Cars either turn early over solid lines or way late over the solid lines.

    San Jose north at Rousseau is the also the same, and with added bike emblem in the lane and added turn arrows letting cars know exactly where they are to move over for the turn lane and they still choose to to so when and where ever usually well above the 45 mph speed limit too.

    I have often thought of stopping and taking photos of bike lane violators, and you have just re-motivated me.

    All three of these lanes need greening and better labeling to better inform drivers that it is a bike lane they are driving in, but none of that matters to those who don’t care.

    I have to ask, did you choose the two photos with a BMW and an Benz in them? Or was it just how it worked out. From my experience drivers of those two makes could not give a *@#* about bikes, peds, bike lanes, other drivers, or anything else.

    On the bright side at all three of these intersections the lane configurations by default give the cyclist right of way, as cars are technically turning across a lane and must yield to traffic (bikes) going straight. So if you are hit and live you will be compensated.

    Or at least that is what I tell myself after each close call at the above mentioned intersections, of which I encounter one or the other daily. It’s like picking your poison.

    Thanks again for sharing the photos.

  • mikesonn

    Can you take a couple pictures of the lead up to this section of road? With the right turn at the far side, it would appear that the bike lane is right where it should be (to the left of the right turn lane). Is it three lanes before this bike lane appears and it is going to two and a turn lane? Are these drivers just lazy and taking their time merging to the left to go straight or right to turn? Does their travel lane disappear and “become” the bike lane?


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