SF’s ‘Vision Zero’ Failure in One Callout

The city still has people on staff who think a "sharrow" on a four-lane arterial (with two more lanes for parking) constitutes bike safety. That's a big problem

From an SFMTA video on curb management. Photo: SFMTA
From an SFMTA video on curb management. Photo: SFMTA

SFMTA planners apparently still think sharrows, the bane of safe-streets advocates, represent an actual safety measure. “Bicyclists are safe in shared lane” declared a callout in a just-released SFMTA video about curb management on 10th Street, a major arterial with four lanes of fast-moving traffic plus two parking lanes.

The SFMTA’s callout was brought to Streetsblog’s attention via a twitter thread started by bike safety advocate Scott Feeney. Here’s the video in question:

The callout is at 1:57.

The fallacy of painting a sharrow on a large arterial and calling it “safe” has been studied and written about again, again, and again. More amazingly, this stretch of 10th Street, a ground-level freeway masquerading as as a city street, is actually a suggested bike route from SFMTA.

Feeney was absolutely right to add that “I initially saw a still frame without context and assumed it was from decades ago when people used to have mistaken ideas about what’s acceptable bike infrastructure. It’s shocking SFMTA still thinks this is OK in 2021.”

Streetsblog would add that it’s shocking that anybody ever thought it was okay.

10th Street. The “sharrow” marking is barely visible, off to the left. Image: Google Streetview

“Even as the City continues to fill gaps in our protected bike lane network in SoMa and beyond, streets like Tenth show just how much work remains. We need streets that serve the neighborhoods and communities that surround them, not as freeway onramps for people on their way to somewhere else,” wrote the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Brian Wiedenmeier, in an email to Streetsblog.

Feeney, meanwhile, hopes SFMTA will learn from the crass callout in the video and the blow back it earned and install some real safety measures on 10th. He told Streetsblog that the “…obvious long-term solution should be a two-way cycle track the entire length of 10th. It connects to a bike lane at both its north (Polk) and south (Potrero) ends, yet SFMTA would have us “wiggle” over to 11th and back for no reason, in a clear second-class treatment of bicycles versus freeway-bound cars and trucks.”

Streetsblog has emailed SFMTA and Supervisor Haney’s office for comment and will update this post.


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