Eyes on the Street: Easier Bike Navigation at Market and Buchanan
Doing the Wiggle should be a little easier, thanks to new green-backed sharrows and plastic posts installed by the SFMTA last week. These help bike commuters navigate the entrance to the Duboce bikeway, at Market and Buchanan Streets.
The sharrows are intended to establish a clearer path for bike traffic heading both to and from the bikeway, navigating around pedestrians in Market’s northern crosswalk across Buchanan. The paths mostly follow patterns long followed by bike commuters, but also set aside a new zone for eastbound riders to wait in without getting in the way of westbound riders.
Previously, the junction lacked any markings to direct bicyclists, who had little to go by other than the crosswalks. Riders heading in opposite directions often waited for the light on the same small spot of corner curb space. An added benefit of the sharrows is that they direct people to cross streetcar tracks at a safe, perpendicular angle.
The three plastic posts installed appear to help solve that problem in two ways: One post separates the two directions of bike traffic, while the other two mark the separation between waiting bike riders and car traffic on Buchanan.
A bulb-out on Market was also shaved down, since it used to create a pinch point where drivers and bicyclists were squeezed together between the curb and a streetcar boarding island. While bulb-outs usually offer benefits like shortened crossing distances and slower turns, this seems to be a case where the trade-off was worthwhile.
According to the SFMTA, the improvements were installed with the help of the developer constructing a condo building on the site of a former gas station at the adjacent corner. The concept for the markings was sketched out in the SFMTA’s ThinkBike workshops with Dutch transportation planners in September 2011, but the agency lacked the funds to install them until the developer fees kicked in.