Eyes on the Street: Embarcadero Bike Lane Gets Greater Priority at Battery

Photo: SFMTA Livable Streets

The southbound Embarcadero bike lane was re-aligned and painted green this week to smooth out a tricky junction where people on bikes have to merge with right-turning drivers between Sansome and Battery Streets.

Previously, the bike lane disappeared on that block, and people biking were left to battle it out with fast-moving drivers. SFMTA Livable Streets staff wrote in a Facebook post that they “repurposed the third travel lane and shifted the location of the bike lane near the intersections of Sansome and Battery (southbound Embarcadero) so there is a continuous path of travel for people riding bikes.”

Before this project, there was a significant gap in the bike lane which created a merge that wasn’t very comfortable. Now, we’ve eliminated that gap so that vehicles, not people biking, must merge,” SFMTA staff wrote.

While the bike lane still won’t attract as many risk-averse riders as the proposed two-way protected bikeway, regular Embarcadero bike commuter Bruce Halperin said he had long pushed the SFMTA to at least make this fix. He launched an online petition on Change.org, which gained 58 signatures, and raised the issue to SFMTA planners at public meetings as well as through emails and phone calls.

Photo: Bruce Halperin

“The bike lane on the Embarcadero southbound ends abruptly at Sansome Street, with no warning,” Halperin wrote in the petition (now marked with “victory” status). “Bike riders are forced into fast-moving traffic, dodging cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles, in order to continue straight. These conditions are incredibly unsafe!”

Check out this video made by Halperin showing the hairy conditions under the former configuration:

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