Eyes on the Street: Drivers Blatantly Park in the Oak Street Bike Lane

Photo: Patrick Traughber/Twitter

If the tow trucks stowed in the Fell Street bike lane weren’t enough a blatantly dangerous abuse of space for people on bikes, the situation on its Oak Street counterpart can be even more egregious. Patrick Traughber recently tweeted the above photo of five vehicles parked in Oak’s curbside, buffered bike lane, squeezing bike commuters alongside passing motor traffic in the door zone.

These drivers don’t even get to try the Ted and Al’s Towing excuse, i.e., limited space to store their trucks while they’re queued to pull into the garage.

Of course, we’re still awaiting a row of partial, protective planted islands that will separate the Fell and Oak bike lanes from motor traffic, which would send a stronger signal that the lanes are not to be parked in. The SFMTA is currently building bulb-outs and rain gardens in the area, also partially blocking the bike lanes in the process, as another part of the project. Maybe that’s a sign that the islands will be built in this decade.

The SFMTA initially installed temporary plastic posts to separate the Fell bike lane, but they were removed with a re-paving and never replaced. The Oak bike lane never got them at all.

Traugher’s suggestion for a short-term, seemingly no-brainer measure? “The curb needs to be painted red.” Some more enforcement from SFMTA and SFPD might also work, too.

  • Simon

    To be fair to Ted & Al’s, the incidence of tow trucks parked in the Fell street bike lane seems to have decreased since your article on September 4th. I have noticed them parked in the 76 Gas station, as well as driving around the block while vehicles are shuffled inside. Have other bikers noticed a similar change or is it just me?

  • 415-553-1200, 1, 7

    (4 = parked for 72 hours/abandoned, 5 = blocked driveway, 6 = sidewalk parking or illegal in construction zone, 7 = all other illegal parking)

  • Prinzrob

    Armadillos could be installed within the buffer in the short term, at very low expense and less likely to be obliterated within a week compared to plastic bollards: http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/how-create-bike-lane-seconds.html

  • Gezellig

    Just added that to my phone!

  • Bruce

    Why not porcupines (real ones), to puncture cars’ tires if they try to cross into the bike lane?

  • SF Guest

    Really, porcupines? Cars with flat tires will be stuck there longer. How is this a solution?

  • Bruce

    Apparently your snark detector is broken. Although that would teach them never to do it again.

  • Nicasio Nakamine

    This morning, there were dated sandwich-board style “no parking – tow away” signs all along Oak – as if the regular no parking signs are just a suggestion, but now they really mean it.

  • murphstahoe

    But think of all the goodwill we’d get with Ted and Al’s towing

  • murphstahoe

    presumably these signs were placed right in the middle of the bike lane.

  • 94103er

    “Much quicker and more cost effective to install than other solutions, Armadillos have been successfully installed and used by major towns and cities across Europe and North America for the past 7 years.” Sigh. Aren’t we all tired of being in a city that’s supposedly at the forefront of the tech revolution and yet is hopelessly stuck in the past?

  • EastBayer

    I think SF Guest is ironically feigning outrage at the suggestion. Or maybe it’s not ironic. Either way, this little side conversation made me giggle:

  • That’s 4155531200,,,,,1,,7 if you’re ATDT.


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