SFMTA: Work on Oak Street Protected Bike Lane to Begin This Month

Oak and Divisadero Streets. The Kelly-Moore Paint Store is currently undergoing renovation work, and the SFMTA says it could delay the installation of the bike lane on Oak. Image: Google Maps

Since the striping work on the Fell Street protected bike lane was finished last November, little progress has been seen on the Fell and Oak safety upgrades. The SF Municipal Transportation Agency, which has promised completion of the project by this spring or summer, says it will begin work on the Oak bike lane this month, though there could be delays due to ongoing construction work on a paint store.

“Weather permitting, bike and pedestrian improvements to Oak Street between Baker and Scott Streets and Baker Street between Fell and Oak Streets will begin in February and continue through April or May,” said Ben Jose, public relations officer for SFMTA’s Livable Streets subdivision, in an email. “Final completion of the Oak Street bike lane implementation is contingent on the Kelly-Moore Paint Store’s construction efforts on the corner of Oak and Divisadero Streets.” Cones to set aside space for workers at the scaffolding-covered paint store have been occupying part of Oak’s south-side parking lane, where the bike lane is set to be striped.

Jose said the remaining work on Oak and Baker Streets, which includes striping the Oak bike lane and converting parallel parking spaces on Baker to back-in angled parking spaces, will be “more labor intensive and requires more coordination between SFMTA shops than the improvements seen on Fell Street in late 2012.”

“SFMTA crews will need to install new signs, remove parking meters, remove and replace all traffic striping on these street segments, and modify the traffic signals before the separated bikeway can be installed on Oak Street,” he said. “This work will be phased to ensure the safety of bike and motor vehicle traffic during construction.”

Bike lane projects in Chicago and New York City, by comparison, seem to be constructed at a much faster pace. Chicago’s 1.2-mile Dearborn parking-protected bikeway through downtown was completed just four months after it was announced. NYC’s Department of Transportation built a combined 50 blocks of protected bikeways — including pedestrian islands and bike corrals — on 8th and 9th Avenues in Midtown Manhattan during the 2012 construction season.

The Fell and Oak project, which is comprised of three blocks on two streets, had its first community planning meeting in July 2011 and is scheduled to take seven months to construct (granted, winter weather can delay construction).

Concrete work, including pedestrian bulb-outs and new planters separating the Fell and Oak bike lanes from motor traffic, is also anticipated as part of the project. The traffic signal speeds will also be re-timed from 25 MPH to 20 MPH to calm traffic. Although some bike riders have complained about the bumpy concrete surface on the Fell lane, the SFMTA has no plans to re-surface it.

  • mikesonn

    “Weather permitting” means it will happen in 2019.

  • Anonymous

    Comparisons to Chicago are not really fair.  Being from there (or near there), I gotta tell you that everything political happens faster.  The reason is that we in SF allow community input, which can drag on and on forever. In Chicago, they decide to do it and just do it. There are good and bad to both, but I’ve found that to be true for most projects in SF. We all want our say in how the project should be done, and try to remove the planning and engineering from the planners and engineers.
    I will not comment on which method is better.

  • Anonymous

    Amen to what @JJ94117:disqus stated.  Look at the Bay Bridge.  It took almost a quarter century to get the new Bay Bridge built.  The prestressed concrete bridge that Caltrans originally proposed  would have been in service for 20 years by now.

  • Let’s not forget that the reason we insist on community input.

    While waiting for things like this sucks, ultimately it’s better than, for example, letting the state bulldoze half the city and replace it with freeways and parking lots.

  • mike
  • Really?

    Who needs community input when we have business people and an industry that have already spoken. I’m no engineer, and I have full faith in my local government’s ability to ignore profit motive and act in the people’s best interest. Always has, always will. Leave your conspiracies of corruption and stories of poor design at the door. They are all just fables perpetuated by those concerned types that seek validation for their annoyance of government and business.

    I will simply say citizen oversight is, like, beyond highly over rated. I know I’m from near a city. It is like expensive, and a waste of time for all involved. Don’t ask me to site specifics, that is a waste of time also. I’m not here to comment on the benefits of apathy, but maybe you should be raising your kids, or whatever it is you do, and just let the professionals handle everything. I am just going to wait for the bill so I can listen to political types fight over the fun stuff like whose kids and grand kids get to pay for whatever this article is about (see I don’t even care what project I’m talking about, ‘cus professionals). By the way this city is slow, take my word for it. I know I’m from close enough to a city to know cities.

  • Josh Cruz

    Great update!

  • Gneiss

    A very welcome development.  I think we will see much less conflict between cars and bicycles on Oak during morning commute hours once this change has been implemented.

  • voltairesmistress

    Here’s a question for traffic engineers or other informed types: If an arterial street like Oak has signals timed for 20 mph, does that still make it a swifter route than parallel neighboring streets? I ask, because it would defeat the purpose of calming traffic on Oak, if a portion of the drivers then used the rest of neighboring streets as viable alternatives.  I know I am guilty of this tactic sometimes, not because the parallel route is faster, but because it’s nearly the same in terms of time but a lot more pleasant to roll up to stop signs, see the neighborhood, and be free of bumper to bumper travel.

  • Eric Fischer

    Thanks for asking about this and prompting me to check what speeds have been recorded (by Cabspotting) on other streets.

    It turns out that the only places where it would make sense, from a travel time perspective, to choose other streets over a 20 mph Fell and Oak are Turk east of Masonic, where effective speeds peak at 27 mph at Scott, and Golden Gate east of Divisadero, where effective speeds reach 24 mph at Webster.

    The western portions of those streets, and other streets from Haight to Turk, have lower effective speeds than Fell and Oak would have with a 20 mph signal progression or currently have.

  • Anonymous

    “Final completion of the Oak Street bike lane implementation is
    contingent on the Kelly-Moore Paint Store’s construction efforts on the
    corner of Oak and Divisadero Streets.”….

    are you kidding? After YEARS of planning and talking about every minute detail of this project , the SFMTA/City are allowing a small time construction job to determine when this critical project can be completed? Yes, they are. 


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