New and Improved Lefty O’Doul

SFMTA's newest project makes for a low-stress ride between the ballpark and Terry Francois Blvd

A view of the new lane on the bridge, facing towards the baseball stadium. Photo: Christopher Ulrich
A view of the new lane on the bridge, facing towards the baseball stadium. Photo: Christopher Ulrich

Last year Streetsblog reported on the nearly completed two-way cycle track on Terry Francois Blvd., running one mile from Mariposa to Mission Rock. One of the major limitations was the lack of a safe connection between it and the rest of the Bay Trail behind the baseball stadium on King Street. Well, that’s fixed now, with the opening of a roughly 1/3-mile two-way cycle track connection between the two, including new protected lanes on the Lefty O’Doul Bridge.

Photo: SFMTA
Photo: SFMTA

From the SFMTA’s project page (written before the opening):

The Third Street Bridge quick-build will create a two-way bikeway connection between the Promenade/King St and Terry Francois Blvd to the south across the Lefty O’Doul (3rd St) Bridge. The protected bikeway will provide dedicated space for bicyclists and reduce the risk of conflicts with vehicles. When completed, the Third Street Bridge Bikeway Connection will close a critical gap in our bike network by connecting the existing protected two-way bikeway on Terry Francois Boulevard to the San Francisco Bay Trail.

Photo: SFMTA
Photo: SFMTA

Tipster and urbanist Christopher Ulrich has ridden the path twice now. “I accidentally found this path Tuesday evening. Pleasant surprise!” he wrote in an email to Streetsblog. “Not the best signage for the new path. It does connect to Terry Francois path.”

The connection from the bridge to
The connection from the bridge to Terry Francois, using a newly striped path along the Bay. Photo: Christopher Ulrich

The new lane is a great improvement to a previously squirrely situation trying to cycle in mixed traffic over the slippery decks of the bridge. This also ties in nicely with the relatively new Berry Street countraflow lane, which gives cyclists a decent route from Third Street to King Street Station.

The bikeway project was done following a retrofit of the aged Lefty O’Doul drawbridge on Third Street. The bridge, originally constructed in 1933, received “repairs or replacement of damaged steel members, welds, concrete counterweights, support piles, bridge fenders, spot removal of rust and associated priming and recoating,” among other fixes, according to the SFMTA.

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