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Bicycle Commuting

Construction Crews to Reduce Ped/Bike Hazards at 1844 Market

Changes will be made to better accommodate people walking and biking past the construction site at 1844 Market Street, seen here on August 3. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Last week, we wrote about a construction site on Market Street where bicycle commuters were forced into a traffic lane with trolley tracks and cars. The situation exemplified a lack of consideration for the safety of people walking and biking sometimes found at construction sites when enforcement of safety requirements is lacking.

But the attention brought on by the Streetsblog post apparently helped the SF Bicycle Coalition remedy the situation at 1844 Market Street. "Thanks to that article, we worked with [SF Municipal Transportation Agency] Permitting Division to order the construction company to complete that phase of the project by 5:00 PM, to help reduce disruptions to evening bicycle traffic," SFBC Program Manager Marc Caswell wrote in today's weekly SFBC member newsletter. "And, when they need to close the right lane during the day, they will be required to have a person directing traffic and the construction company will position the truck so bicycle riders can ride past without entering the track lane."

This is promising news, and hopefully a sign that people walking and biking will be running into fewer hazards during the city's construction boom. After all, shouldn't it be a given that, whenever possible, crews need to maintain Safe Paths of Travel? (SPOT is the acronym for the SFMTA's construction education and enforcement program.)

While many construction sites do accommodate walking and biking, instances of poor consideration for vulnerable street users do crop up from time to time. Just look at a recent "People Behaving Badly" segment, filed by KRON 4's Stanley Roberts on the same day as our post, which points the finger at pedestrians for ignoring signs at construction sites where sidewalks were closed, including 1844 Market and two other sites in SoMa.

While drivers enjoyed the luxury of multiple traffic lanes, crews dismissed people's natural tendency to take the most direct route available, posting signs telling pedestrians to backtrack to the nearest crosswalk -- a time-consuming detour. Roberts, with his regular letter-of-the-law, ratings-driven approach, called the people walking in the road "stuupid" [sic].

As Streetsblog intern Robert Prinz pointed out in the comments section, however, "the real stupidity is in not accommodating [pedestrians] in the first place."

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