A Jug-handle for Sansome/Market Intersection?

Advocates push for a jug-handle to protect turning cyclists, and reduce conflicts among all road users

"How is this ok?" asks Paul Valdez, who snapped this picture at the intersection of Sansome and Market
"How is this ok?" asks Paul Valdez, who snapped this picture at the intersection of Sansome and Market

Bicycle and safe-streets advocate Paul Valdez put this back on our radar–the Sansome/Sutter/Market intersection remains a deathtrap of buses, bikes, trucks, and pedestrians, all vying for space. But, as the headline indicates, he’s got a proposed solution. Or at least part of one: a jug-handle, which is a bit of curb and some paint that gives cyclists a refuge when they are waiting to turn (see second-to-last picture).

This is the location where Mark Heryer was killed while biking in 2015Streetsblog also covered an incident here in 2016, when a taxi cab jumped up onto the sidewalk, seriously injuring two people. Many other collisions of varying severity have continued in the meantime.

Valdez shot two short videos (in addition to the lead photo) and uploaded them to twitter to give people a sense of the crazy conditions:

And this isn’t just about bikes. “For the 500,000 people who walk on Market Street every day, the crosswalks are where they are at serious risk,” wrote Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director of Walk San Francisco, in an email about the intersection.

“It is part of our High Injury Network and we are looking into ‘quick-build projects’ that can make the area safer,” wrote Ben Barnett, Media Relations Officer for SFMTA. “My main mode of transportation is by bicycle, so I do share your concern about the Market Street corridor.”

Quick build? It’s been four years since Heryer’s death. The Better Market Street plan is moving slowly forward, which will eventually provide a separated facility for cyclists in addition to banning private automobiles from Market. But in the meantime, more people will be injured–or killed–if something isn’t figured out.

“We desperately need a ‘jug-handle’ at Market/Sansome/Sutter NOW. I think I am going to take action and protect people biking myself,” wrote Valdez on twitter. In the exchange, other advocates are also discussing guerrilla action. “Hit me up with any urban tactical solutions you might have,” wrote another advocate.

With the exception of my fellow safe streets advocates, no one else at a higher level has responded about this dangerous intersection where people biking have no safe place to wait to cross Market to Sansome and Sutter. Help me @StreetsblogSF,  you’re my only hope!” wrote Valdez on twitter.

A shot of the jughandle in front of the SFBC at Market/Valencia. Photo: Aaron Bialick
A shot of the jug-handle in front of the SFBC at Market/Valencia. Valdez wants one at Sansome. Photo: Aaron Bialick

We’re trying.

And so is Walk San Francisco, which wants to implement aspects of the Better Market Street plan as soon as possible. “We’re excited about the Market Street EIR being done in October so we can get all private vehicles off Market Street before the end of the year!” wrote Medeiros.

The cab that crashed onto the sidewalk in 2016, seriously injuring two people. Photo: Paul Valdez
The cab that crashed onto the sidewalk in 2016, seriously injuring two people. Photo: Paul Valdez

Meanwhile, you can make yourself heard at the city’s next Bicycle Advisory Committee, Monday, August 26, 6:30 PM in Room 408 of City Hall.

  • shamelessly

    Just to clarify, you’re talking about a jug handle for cyclists heading west on Market who wish to continue on Market? I walk through this gnarly intersection multiple times a week and definitely support changes. Just trying to visualize this proposal.

  • Private cars off Market. Cabs off Market. Rideshare off Market. From the Embarcadero to Fell. Now. That is the answer.

  • mx

    I think the idea is a jug handle for cyclists headed east on Market who want to turn onto Sansome (a key connection between two of SF’s bike routes, not that Sansome has anything besides sharrows). There’s currently no safe way to make that turn that doesn’t involve standing in traffic inches from 20-ton buses or going up on the sidewalk.

    I’m all in favor—that spot has been hell for years—, but I’m pretty down on jughandles after I had a close call at the Market/Valencia one (on my way to Sunday Streets, naturally). It’s way too easy for a car to blow through the mid-block red light and there’s nothing you can possibly do about it if it happens to you. I suspect that situation would be better at Sansome though, given the number of pedestrians who usually cross there.

  • sf in sf

    Well, there will be no cars on this part of Market soon.

  • nodolra

    I’ve had near misses with other cyclists at the market/Valencia jughandle. Keeping right to turn left is not intuitive.

    If there’s a gap in traffic I usually move into the regular left turn lane before I reach Valencia. The car left turn signal also has a longer cycle than the bike one (since bikes can only turn from the jughandle when traffic going straight has a red) so I often save some time by doing this too.

    Another spot that could use some left turn bike infrastructure is market and Sanchez. Turning from northeast on Market to north on Sanchez is challenging, but it’s also the best route to the wiggle from the south. A simple bike turn box would be nice there.

  • Bruce

    We’re talking about 2 jughandles actually: one for cyclists heading west on Market to turn left onto 2nd, and one for cyclists heading east on Market to turn left onto Sansome.

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