Survey Says: North Beach Wants Protected Bike Lanes

And better bus service... and the kind of street transformations they've watched happened on the other side of Market Street

Cyclists gather in North Beach for "Bike to Work Day" last May. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Cyclists gather in North Beach for "Bike to Work Day" last May. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Lot’s of people want to bike around North Beach. But according to a recent survey by the North Beach Neighbors association, 72 percent don’t bike (or at least don’t bike as often as they’d like) thanks to a lack of safe infrastructure. The survey asked some 120 North Beachers how they get around and what they think of bike infrastructure and Muni service in the area.


“The lack of bike infrastructure is disappointing,” said Danny Sauter, President of North Beach Neighbors. “We’ve seen great progress around the city, in SoMa especially, but north of Market there’s no change–and when we ask members why they don’t bike more, the reason is, by far, that they don’t feel safe.”


As the chart above shows, there’s also dissatisfaction with transit. “There’s a lot of frustration around crowding of buses–most pronounced in the commute hours,” said Sauter, adding that some buses are so overcrowded people simply can’t get on board. “People understand that there are stops where they’ll be passed up, and if they miss a window, they just don’t get on the bus.”

A parking protected bike lane on Folsom. While these have popped up all over SoMa, North Beach has gotten zip. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
A parking-protected bike lane on Folsom. While these have popped up all over SoMa in the last couple of years, North Beach has gotten zip. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Sauters added that he did the survey after SFMTA held outreach meetings in North Beach, to look for possible transit and street improvements. In the long term, residents want to see the Central Subway extended. But in the short term, it’s clear the respondents want the streets reconfigured to prioritize transit and bicycles over private cars. However, Sauter added that in his view changes to North Beach streets are “Not a priority of the Supervisor’s… You can see the contrast between District 6, Matt Haney’s District. In a matter of months we’ve seen streets dramatically transformed, that’s possible in D3 too, if we had the political leadership.”

He’s talking, of course, of the way streets such as Folsom in the above image have been updated to address safety, while Columbus Avenue in North Beach, seen below, remains essentially unchanged. Both are Vision Zero high-injury streets:

While SoMa is getting protected bike lanes, this is what passes for bike infra in North Beach. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Unfortunately, painted sharrows are still what passes for bike infra on main streets in North Beach, such as Columbus Avenue seen here. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

For the full survey results, click here.


StreetUtopia North Beach

View southeast across North Beach from Russian Hill. StreetUtopia is a new community organizing effort centered in North Beach. Launched by Hank Hyena and Phil Millenbah at an inaugural event in early January, they drew upwards of 150 people to an empty historic storefront at 1 Columbus Avenue, where they showed Streetfilms, had a small […]

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