SF’s First Parking-Protected Bike Lane Outside a Park Opens on 13th Street

Photo: SFMTA Livable Streets/Facebook

SF’s first parking-protected bike lane outside of Golden Gate Park is open for business on 13th Street. The lane runs westbound on 13th, connecting existing bike lanes between Bryant Street and Folsom Street, underneath the Central Freeway.

The new bike lane runs along the curb with a buffer zone separation from parked cars, which provide protection from motor traffic.

SFMTA crews are still adding finishing touches, like green-backed sharrows in the “mixing zones” where turning drivers merge into the bike lane, left-turn bike boxes, and more visible crosswalks.

SF’s first parking-protected bike lane was installed in 2012 on John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park. Now that people are getting more familiar with this type of safer street design, hopefully the SFMTA will make it the norm on dangerous streets like the wide thoroughfares of SoMa.

Photo: Jessica Kuo
Photo: Jessica Kuo
  • I hope to be able to bike on this soon. The two times I tried last week there were cars parked in the bike lane and I biked in the car parking area. However, even this was an improvement over what was there.

  • BBnet3000

    What is the origin of the term “parking protected bike lane”, as opposed to “protected bike lane”?

    Why are the parked cars considered advantageous as opposed to something that obscures the mutual view of vehicles and people cycling and thus exacerbates turning conflicts?

    Are there really that many out of control drivers who would crash into the lane mid-block? I doubt it.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    Don’t question PROTECTION.

  • City Resident

    As others have suggested, the installation of physical barriers (planters, posts, etc.) and clearer paint markings on the surface – including green paint along the bike lane (along with maybe red paint along the curb) – would help to clarify where not to park. Today, when the paint is still fresh, things might appear well demarcated, but that paint will fade and at night (and in the rain) those lines may not be discernible.

  • I biked down this tonight on my way home. So much better than the previous harrowing situation! The green super sharrows really help calm the drivers down. The 11th Street intersection could use a bit more something: not qualified as an 8 to 80 facility yet for sure. All in all very welcome and some real progress for cyclists. Thanks SFMTA!

  • #blessings

  • theqin

    Drivers do veer out of their driving lane into the bike lane all of the time, sometimes to pass cars or trucks illegally, sometimes to see “what’s up” with the congestion ahead. Also it appears they tried to keep the mixing zones clear of parking spaces, which hopefully will improve the potential for turn conflicts.

    Hopefully they can take care of the gap in bike facilities eastbound between bryant and harrison, given that a bike lane does start eventually on 13th and the other end is on a well travelled bike route.

  • RichLL

    I suspect a bigger problem will be overspill from the side-walk e.g. shopping carts and detritus from the homeless encampments in that area..

    Putting the bike lane next to the sidewalk is safer, clearly. But it also encourages sidewalk users to expand into the bike lane, e.g. skateboards, strollers, wheelchairs and those ubiquitous shopping carts.

  • yohoo46

    Oh god, please don’t tell me you’re a vehicular cyclist too. You were already so horrible without that part.

  • Sure, it would be nicer to have simply “protected” lanes with low planters and such…but I’ll leave the political task of removing the sacrosanct parking spaces to you and whatever army of very persuasive people you think you can muster.

  • BBnet3000

    I never said we should remove the parking. I merely said that a “parking protected” bike lane is not a special or superior form of protected bike lane, and to the extent that it is different from other protected lanes it is probably worse rather than better.

  • Mario Tanev

    How do you propose cars park if they are on the other side and planters protect bicyclists? In an area where there are parked cars, parking-protected = protected. Of course, you could additionally add planters to protect bicyclists from parking cars, but the cost/benefit ratio is worse.

  • Just like in Copenhagen/Amsterdam.
    (Well, the other users, not the detritus.)

  • jonobate

    A bike lane protected by posts or planters rather than parking works just as well, it’s just politically more realistic to move parking to the road side of the bike lane rather than remove it altogether.

    The main advantage of parking protected bike lanes over non-protected bike lanes is that drivers don’t have to enter the bike lane to park. Given that empty parking spaces are hard to find in this city it’s common for a driver to see a space and suddenly pull into a bike lane and stop. This was the cause of my own accident in 2013 which resulted in a broken wrist.

    So not exactly ‘lose control’, but yes, there are certainly dangerous and erratic driver behaviors occurring mid-block.

  • jonobate

    No-one ever said it was a special or superior form of protected bike lane…

  • Gezellig

    Sure, but I’d rather deal with the occasional wayward shopping cart than even the occasional wayward SUV.

  • Gezellig

    Yup. High-quality bike infrastructure doesn’t just benefit people on bikes:

  • BBnet3000

    This article implies that it is, does it not? This is not the first protected bike lane in the city.

  • jonobate

    No, I think you’re reading into the article something which isn’t there. Streetsblog celebrates regular protected bike lanes just as much as parking protected bike lanes.

  • RichLL

    Gezellig, that is exactly the question here. Moving a bike lane from the street-side to the sidewalk-side implies that cyclists are willing to share their lane with pedestrians and non-car wheeled devices.

    Meaning that it is not so much a bike lane as an anyone-but-cars lane. Is that what you are saying?

  • Gezellig
  • Flatlander

    At least you can bike around those obstacles on the left…

  • Gezellig

    While neither is fun, when given the choice most people would rather play tag with shopping carts than big rigs.


    If only those kids had a nice high-speed arterial to bike on to save them from the dangers of that separated bikeway!


  • SFnative74

    Wow, that quote from Forester says a lot about how far out to lunch he is. I don’t even understand his issue with woonerven, which are basically very slow speed roadways. Those roads with 10mph traffic are more dangerous that normal roadways that have speeds of 30-45 miles per hour?? Or does he get cranky because he wants to be able to ride at 20mph+ at all times – a speed unattainable by the vast majority of people who may want to ride.

  • SFnative74

    I like that double dooring pic. Has Bob Gunderson seen that one?

  • Dino Galdamez

    Now I only wish the Bikers respect stops signs, traffic lights, one ways and wrong directions, etc. Everyone who share the streets should follow proper traffic rules.

  • Gezellig

    Yup. That image is from this post:


    Which perfectly juxtaposes J-Fo rants with the reality that most embodies his supposed dystopian nightmare–the horrible, dangerous Netherlands:




    J-Fo’s quite the Stockholm Syndromist in terms of wholeheartedly adopting the whole car-centric status quo apologist thing. His complete and utter denial of data is especially sad.

    Also, he consistently misspells woonerven.

  • Gezellig

    I especially wish the people piloting speeding multiton metal boxes would follow proper traffic rules.

    Also, this:




  • Gezellig
  • SFnative74

    At least J-Fo acknowledges that 20mph is a sprint speed. Ironically, a very challenging speed that is impossible to sustain for most people is what you need to ride “with ease” in his reality.

  • Justin

    Nice to see a PARKING PROTECTED bike lane installed on a street in San Francisco. However, that bike lane needs some work, it be nice to see green paint on it, as well as proper markings indicating where the parking spaces are.

  • Rain__or__Shine

    The first week (or two) of the GGP parking-protected bike lane was pretty ugly too. It got better reasonably quickly though. Hopefully the same happens here.

  • Nicasio Nakamine

    Are you for real? This is the most boilerplate anti-bike comment there is. Do you post this comment in every thread on all news sites across the country, all day, every day? Amazing!

  • SFnative74

    Good thing is that with better facilities (like the one on 13th St), people on bikes tend to follow the law more: less sidewalk riding, less wrong way riding, more predictable movements. When people constantly feel like they are fighting for their survival, they sometimes do crazy things.

  • D G Spencer Ludgate

    Since this a side path (optional use facility not subject to CVC 21208), is San Francisco painting sharrows on the general travel lanes and installing BMFL signs? It would be nice to remind motorists that use of this is optional. By using sharrows and BMFL signs in conjunction with the side path truly creates cycling infrastructure for all skill levels.

  • mx

    Why on earth would you install a protected bike lane and then put sharrows next to it? How is anybody on earth supposed to know what to do when confronted with such a combination of symbols?

  • D G Spencer Ludgate

    The sharrows and BMFL signs would be for the education of the motorists, not for the confusion of the cyclists. Since we cyclists are not required under CVC 21208 to use this facility, motorists need to be reminded that we are entitled to use of the general travel lane.

    Just like some people choose to operate a bicycle instead of an automobile – or some motorists prefer the use of freeways instead of surface streets – there are cyclists who choose to use the general travel lanes instead of segregated facilities.

    Cyclists that travel at 15+ mph may wish to avoid a facility that reduces their speed to 10 mph.

    The City of Redondo Beach, California installed a cycle track and sharrows in the general travel lane. Faster cyclists, who wish not to have to dodge slower cyclists, rollerbladers, and pedestrians still use the general travel lane.

    The installation of sharrows and BMFL signs along with the side path creates an environment that is truly 8 to 80 and for all skill levels.

  • Gezellig

    In a thread earlier this year he acknowledged that physical pain prevents him from what he described as “normal” (20+ mph?) riding:


    While these kinds of aches are unfortunate and something no one would wish upon anyone, one really does wonder if he and others in similar conditions would bike more often if he hadn’t spent decades decrying 8-to-80 infrastructure as “not normal” or for “incompetents.”

    Indeed, my eightysomething grandparents actually bike every day, but understandably only under speeds and separated conditions J-Fo has for decades acerbically disparaged as the domain of “not normal” or “incompetent.”

    The sad part is that while my grandparents are clearly physically able to bike under the leisurely speeds and safe conditions comfortable to them available within their senior community, they would never dream of biking the quarter mile to the shopping center since the infrastructure to do so is totally lacking. So they drive.

    The tragedy is that for decades J-Fo fought against bike-specific infrastructure, lambasting it as a supposed defense of “motordom” for “incompetents.” Yet the end result is only props up “motordom” all the more. And a lot of it is truly incompetent motordom, at that!

    If we should all be so lucky to reach such an advanced age, I’d surely hope we won’t be so disenfranchised by a “sink or swim” infrastructural status quo that barely even works for the youngest and fittest.

    That’s not an equitable or acceptable policy for the public spaces we all share.


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