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Oak Street Protected Bike Lane Still Held Up by Paint Shop Renovation

Photo: Aaron Bialick

The protected bike lane on Oak Street may not be constructed until some time after May 19, when the permit for renovation work on the Kelly-Moore paint shop on the corner of Oak and Divisadero Street ends, according to planners from the SF Muncipal Transportation Agency. Because the permit allows the paint shop to occupy the parking lane where the bike lane will go, the bike lane can't be completed until after it's done, agency staff said.

The project was originally promised this past winter, then delayed to February. SFMTA planners said they are now looking at ways to work around the renovation to start preliminary work on the bike lane, but that the agency's hands are largely tied until it's finished. Agency staff also said the paint shop owners have indicated they're unlikely to need an extension of the permit.

The main cause of the delay seems to be of lack of coordination between the SFMTA and the Department of Public Works, which issues permits to occupy street space for construction.

SFMTA staff has said that unlike the Fell lane, installing the Oak bike lane will require crews to re-stripe all of the traffic lanes on the three-block stretch, in order to fit it into the street's geometry.

The SF Bicycle Coalition is counting the seconds that safety upgrades haven't been completed on Fell and Oak Streets.

Meanwhile, the SF Bicycle Coalition is calling for the Oak bike lane to be completed by Bike to Work Day on May 9. The organization has placed an automatic counter on its website ticking away the days, hours, minutes, and seconds since the SFMTA Board of Directors approved safety improvements on Fell and Oak Streets on October 16, legally clearing the way for construction.

Since that time, the SFMTA has striped the Fell bike lane, striped more visible crosswalks, and reconfigured traffic lanes on Baker Street, which included a road diet, a wider left-turn lane with a green bike box for Oak-bound bicycle riders, and the conversion of parallel parking spaces to perpendicular and angled ones, offsetting the number of spaces removed for the bike lanes. In addition, the agency added plastic posts to separate the Fell bike lane from motor traffic, a temporary substitute for concrete planters.

However, the agency has since announced delays for the rest of the safety upgrades planned along the three blocks of Fell and Oak between Baker and Scott Streets, including 12 sidewalk bulb-outs, adjusted signal timing to calm traffic, and bicycle traffic signals. When the project was approved, the SFMTA said the bulb-outs and planters would be completed by this summer.

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