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The Wiggle

Independent Safety Advocates Beef up the Wiggle

Signs and soft-hit posts installed by advocates make the Wiggle bike route calmer and safer for cyclists and pedestrians

Photo from Safe Street Rebel

Safe Street Rebel, a covert coalition of independent safety advocates, installed safe-hit posts and other features along San Francisco's Wiggle bike route early Tuesday morning. According to a statement released by the group, the "Slower Safer Wiggle" installation involved three main parts:

  1. Installing prominent median soft-hit signs along one block of Steiner adjacent to Duboce Park, identifying this crucial artery and signaling to cars that bikes and pedestrians should have the right of way.
  2. Adding median flex posts, which, along with the signs, force cars that normally speed along this block to slow down, and prevent them from passing.
  3. Daylighting curbs along the entire Wiggle corridor from Duboce to Pierce, painting them red to align with the recently passed state law, A.B. 413, which removes all parking within twenty feet of any intersection. This makes it far easier for drivers to spot any pedestrian, skater, wheelchair user, or family with a stroller who are using any crosswalk along the Wiggle, allowing drivers to slow down well before pedestrians enter the crosswalk.

Five flex posts and five paddle signs like the one in the lead image were installed. According to a Safe Street Rebel volunteer who spoke with Streetsblog, total costs were about $650, all from community contributions.

The Wiggle is the main east-west bike artery in San Francisco connecting the Mission and SOMA neighborhoods to the Richmond, Haight-Ashbury, and beyond. Almost everyone who bikes in SF relies on it because it avoids steep hills yet, despite notable improvements over the years, nearly every part of the Wiggle still prioritizes cars over bikes and pedestrians.

Safe Street Rebel hopes the city doesn't rip this installation out, as they did with last month's guerrilla safety installation on Franklin. Meanwhile, they are demanding that the city:

  • Remove cars and vehicle traffic from Steiner to extend and improve access to Duboce Park for the elderly and disabled residents who live nearby. This would immediately and inexpensively fix the very dangerous intersection at Steiner, Duboce, and Sanchez.
  • Add Slow Streets-style diverters and median soft hit posts along the entire Wiggle to prevent cars from speeding past bikes, a regular occurrence on the Wiggle currently.
  • Eliminate eastbound car traffic on Duboce between Belcher and Church and make this busy intersection of the Wiggle and Muni 22 and N lines a car-free plaza.
  • Fully daylight every intersection along the entire corridor to twenty feet from each crosswalk and install bike corrals, benches, and planters in each daylit space.

The Wiggle has long been the focus of demonstrations by independent and informal safe-street groups. One such group, the Whig Party, staged protests back in 2015 where cyclists lined up and dutifully stopped, one at a time at every stop sign, to show the folly of an SFPD's selective enforcement campaign against cyclists rolling through stop signs. That resulted in atrocious traffic jams for motorists and underscored the stupidity of mindlessly applying rules written for two-to-ten-ton motor vehicles to people on bikes. In addition, according to a Safe Street Rebel volunteer, the first sharrow markings to make the Wiggle "official" were painted by advocates in the 1990s.

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