SFMTA Installs Second Green Wave for Bikes on 14th Street

Photo: Google Maps

The SFMTA recently implemented its second green wave on 14th Street, re-timing traffic signals for more bicycle-friendly speeds from Dolores to Folsom.

Following the success of SF’s first green wave on Valencia Street, the 14th Street project was installed in March, said SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose, adding that the agency is still “evaluating and tweaking it, if necessary.”

“This is a pilot because it is our first downhill green wave, but we do not see it as temporary,” said Rose. “Once we feel that it is working as intended, we will install signs stating what speed the signals are timed for.”

SF Bicycle Coalition Communications Director Kristin Smith said the organization “is very pleased to see the ‘green wave’ tool used on more and more of San Francisco’s key bikeways.”

“It’s a simple but powerful way to prioritize bike traffic and make bicycling even more convenient and comfortable,” she said. “Of course, it’s not just good for bike traffic — by pacing traffic to a human speed, green wave streets are safer for everyone.”

Next month, staff from the SF County Transportation Authority plans to propose “four to six potential new Green Wave corridors along the existing San Francisco Bike Network,” according to an agency document [PDF]. The SFCTA board is expected to approve $71,000 in Prop K sales tax funds in June to plan and implement them, and the document says they could be completed between April and October of next year.

  • mikesonn

    “Of course, it’s not just good for bike traffic — by pacing traffic to a human speed, green wave streets are safer for everyone.”
    Exactly! Speed limits mean nothing if the lights aren’t time to slow traffic.

  • Maybe I’m faster than your average rider when going downhill, but I’ve never had trouble 

  • This is great news for me! I’ve been taking 14th from Dolores to Folsom weekly for three years now. Though from Dolores I was always able to make the light at Guerrero (though I can’t say I was comfortable at the speed I had to go) I’ve had a great deal of trouble making the next light at Valencia. And then from South Van Ness to make the light and turn left onto Folsom I had to pedal like mad (as well as merge with traffic into the center lane to make that turn). I have noticed the last few weeks that the timing on the lights was different. Would be interesting to know what exactly is the “bike-friendly speed” the lights are now set at.

    I would say that 90% of car drivers on Valencia do not realize the lights are timed at 13 mph given that they race then stop, race then stop every single block.

  • Anonymous

    I do find these lights a little slow for me, unlike Valencia which is pretty much perfect.

    A good corridor to implement this on would be Folsom through Soma – it’s a major commuting route from Mission to Downtown and everyone on two wheels seems to hit multiple reds.

  • J

    I’m so jealous. I can only dream of this type of treatment in NYC, even though we have so many one-way corridors where it would be so easy to implement, and so beneficial for everyone’s safety and non-auto mobility.

  • guest

    They’re timed for between 18 and 20MPH.

  • Anonymous

    “they race then stop, race then stop every single block”
    I would say this is true even on non-green wave city streets. I estimate that while biking about 80% of the cars that pass me I catch up with at the next stoplight. In urban areas a car’s maximum speed is greater, but the average speed must be very close to that of a semi-fit cyclist, even one who is not queue jumping or running stops/signals.

    I often wonder if the driver is conscious of the futility involved in passing a cyclist when there’s a red light and line of cars waiting up ahead.

  • Urbanwalker

    Now what I want to see next are cameras taking pics of cyclists blowing thru the stop light or stop signs. Can’t wait for SF MTA spend some money on that. 

  • Dave Snyder

    Excellent! Go SFMTA!

    When you’re ready, please install the signs in the most visible place for motorists passing by (and of course, therefore, also visible to bicyclists). And please move the signs on Valencia Street to the overhead mast arms where everyone will see them. 

  • Mario Tanev

    Would appreciate this on:
    – 17th St. I stop on every block going from Valencia to Sanchez.
    – Valencia from 16th to Market
    – Fell St + Panhandle
    – Ocean Ave
    – Alemany

  • The Fell/Oak project proposal actually includes slowing the signal timing from 25 MPH to 20 (I know I’ll enjoy that).

  • Sprague

    This is great news.  Kudos to the SFMTA for their continued progress.  Agreed with the comments that prominent signage of the green wave (on the upper stretches of 14th Street) will encourage safe downhill speeds, reducing the risk of an accident at Valencia.

  • Greenwave

    I’ve commuted on 14th every day, and in the last few weeks it’s been much worse than before. That is, it used to be if you rolled from Dolores right on green, you’d get green lights most of the the way to folsom (sometimes speeding up or slowing down a bit, often with a miss at SVN). Now Guerrero seems to be a few seconds too late, Valencia a few seconds early, and I haven’t figured out the others yet.

    It may also be time of day related, I hear from others that that used to matter. Does it still?

  • Joanna

    Would love to see a green wave on Polk Street too!

  • Adrienne Johnson

    I look forward to trying this out!  In the meantime, has anyone else noticed that the lights on Valencia St. are out of sink?  The timing has been off for about a week.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I have noticed this too. Streetsblog: any idea what is up?

  • mikesonn

    I believe @murphstahoe contacted SFBC via twitter. I think they mentioned some sort of repair work being done. He may be able to speak it better than myself.

  • Wow, I don’t know what happened, but when I took 14th street from Market to Folsom this morning, the light timing was absolutely dreadful, much worse than a few weeks ago and even worse than how it was timed originally at 18 mph. It could in no way be called a green wave.

  • hgbr

    Anybody else notice changed timing for the 14th st green wave recently (week of August 5th, 2014)? I think it’s worse.


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