Eyes on the Street: Cargo Way Bike Lane Finally Gets Paved

Six years after San Francisco's first protected bike infrastructure opened, it finally gets fresh asphalt

Finally, SF's first protected bike infrastructure gets some smooth pavement. All photos Streetsblog/Rudick
Finally, SF's first protected bike infrastructure gets some smooth pavement. All photos Streetsblog/Rudick

It opened in 2012. This week, it finally got paved.

The Cargo Way bike lane, San Francisco’s first concrete (and chain-link fence in this case) protected bike infrastructure, was described as having “dangerously uneven pavement” the day it opened.

The pavement continued to deteriorate to the point of making the two-way path almost unusable. Then, to add insult to injury, San Francisco Public Works (DPW) came by in August and paved the truck and car lanes–but left the bike lane as it was.

But this week all that changed. A crew came through and, as first reported by Stanley Roberts at KRON4, finally put down some fresh asphalt in the bike space.

A crew was there today cleaning debris off the path. The workers on the scene weren’t sure when the striping would get done.

This crew was cleaning the end of the Cargo Way protected bike lane today

So why did it take so long to repave it? One crew member said “money.” The other said “We didn’t have small paving machines. We had to rent them.”

Isn’t that kind of the same thing?

They looked at each other, shrugged, and nodded.

So far, it doesn’t look as if the missing segments of the much-maligned chain-link fence are getting replaced. Streetsblog has a request in with DPW to find out if what’s left will be torn out, repaired, or left to rust.

Another look at the smooth pavement and the remains of the chain-link fence
  • The chain link fence was an odd design decision. It’s fragile but ugly. Why?

  • Walt

    Why have a fence at all? If a vehicle has the kinetic energy and momentum to jump over that raised pavement, then a fence isn’t going to stop it anyway.

    Interesting that there are no cars in any of those pictures. Are bike lanes really most needed where there is little or no traffic?

  • HayBro

    There’s so little traffic on Cargo Way – why not take out one of the two lanes and widen the bikeway?

  • Walt

    So you can’t answer either of my questions?

  • They’re not, but the presence of lanes leads to high speeds.

  • curiousKulak

    The traffic that IS there often tends to be high-speed (40-80 MPH!), and often large trucks. Of course, neither a cyclone fence nor concrete footings will prevent injury in those situations.

    The fence is a restriction on cyclists freedom, and little else. If a rider has to leave the lane for any reason (flooding, debris, blockade), its next to impossible to do so with a 1000′ fence hemming one inside. If you want the ‘illusion’ of safety (and thats what it is), then put chain link segments every other panel. But leave room for a rider to exit the ‘tunnel’. Please.

    I suspect this location was an opportunity to spend Transpo funding on a ‘cycling project’, and little else. I use the wide lane on the other side on the return trip and experience little discomfort or concern.

  • The Cargo Way Bikelane/Signal/mini-stop sign was part of the Heron’s Head redevelopment.
    I rode Cargo Way at least weekly before/during/after the bikeway was put in.
    During, some pics in the comments: https://sf.streetsblog.org/2012/03/21/crews-installing-bike-lanes-two-way-bikeway-on-c-chavez-and-cargo-way/

    I rode loops on Cargo Way in the morning for exercise, with the recycling and mail trucks barreling past for a couple years before the separated bikeway got started. I started to feel the tug of the dark side ( see comment: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2012/10/22/study-protected-bike-lanes-reduce-injury-risk-up-to-90-percent/ ). As a recreational rider who was perfectly fine with the morning adrenaline rush this route provided (and from the concrete & rendering trucks on Amador St) it felt like an imposition of the bikeway here. Certainly the chainlink fence was intended to make people feel safe (for relatively cheap) with the trucks, etc., but it was so high that it also blocked visibility….I had to stop for the stoplight because I didn’t trust my mirror/over-the-shoulder glance for traffic which now now had the right-of-way to turn right across the bikeway.

    In the end I realized that this route WAS so much less stressful, and you had to trade some inconvenience & interrupted strava routes for the HUGE change in safety that it provided.

    Once the bikeway was in and there was dedicated bike-only space, I was amazed by the number of wheel tracks left in the mud and dust on the bikeway.

  • RichLL Commentary Track

    When someone replies to me without directly answering every question I pose it’s because they can’t. When I reply back and don’t answer the question they pose in response it’s because I choose in my infinite wisdom not to.

  • Walt

    So you cannot answer the questions either?

  • Walt

    RichLL, I only asked two questions. He couldn’t answer either of them, clearly, and sought instead to ask a question he preferred. Obviously I demand he answer my questions before I educate him on why his suggestion is misguided.

    Although of course by not answering my question, he revealed as much as if he had.

  • That’s not a bike lane.
    You’ve been called out on this in the past, Streetsblog


    Get it right.


Public works paved the roadway to the left, but left the bike lanes full of cracks, dangerous furrows, potholes, and other defects. All photos Streetsblog/Rudick unless noted.

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