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Rush Hour Bike Traffic on SF’s Market Street

I just scratched my head in amazement as I read of plans that the MTA board in San Francisco voted to eliminate a bike lane for cyclists along Market Street. Obviously those on the board need a video reminder to demo just how busy Market is with cyclists, so I decided to post some rush hour bike footage - in the rain - that I took the last time I was there in October.

Every time I am in the Bay Area I am amazed at the bike traffic on Market. In fact, I can only think of one other place in all the U.S. that I have witnessed denser, steady bike traffic: the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, Oregon (oh and maybe certain sections of the Hudson Greenway.) So the question to ask: why remove a bike amenity that seems to benefit so many's safety? File this as a real curio.

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  • Peter

    i think you may have read something about the Market/Octavia intersection, which is problematic on the downhill-for-bikers/northern side because cars keep running us over there. cars make the illegal right turn b/c it's the only way to get onto the highway for miles, and bikers are hauling downhill and so can't stop in time thus getting right-hooked.

    to remedy the situation, the city wants to remove the bike lane just before the intersection to force cyclists to merge and, in theory, 'take the lane' so we can't get right-hooked.

    SFBC doesn't agree with the decision, but i haven't heard any better answers.

    in the short term, i'm all for saving biker lives, so i'd agree with the removal in the short term, as long as we have a long-term fix that is more bike-friendly.

  • W. K. Lis

    I was counting the number the cars vs the number of bicycles. Even if each car had 4 people in each, the number of people on bicycles exceed them. But, being generous with carpooling is not reflective of real life. I would think on average that there are only 1 person per car.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/JF Jim F.

    According to the bike counts on bike to work day 2008 there were more bikes on Market than cars! Let's have more space for bikes on Market and dare we say, only allow transit and bikes on Market since car traffic is at a standstill most of the time anyway.

  • http://www.meetup.com/Portland-Bike-Commuting/ JohnB

    Re: Your problematic intersection: I don't know your roads, but if you are going downhill, it shouldn't hold up cars that much for cyclists to take the lane to prevent a right-hook at the bottom. Especially given that bikes can go 2 or 3 wide in a general travel lane. So I agree with the city that that's the best solution for the existing infrastructure. Of course, if it's illegal for cars to turn right, why don't they just put up bollards or something to physically prevent it? But if motorists are really so inconvenienced by not being able to turn right there, isn't allowing cars to turn right but also having cyclists take the lane, with signage reminding everyone that it's legal and recommended, the best compromise for everyone, instead of insisting that one group is given preferential treatment at the expense of the other?

  • http://picasaweb.google.pl/mauz3r Mauzer

    wtf, critical mass everyday? 😀 greets from Poland (alcoholand;)

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/jwb Jeffrey W. Baker

    Was re-watching these old street films. #1 "miles around" is not true. The next opportunity to enter the freeway after the illegal, prohibited right turn at Octavia is at Gough, a whopping 600ft (.1 miles) down the road. Even if anybody respected the speed limit on Market, it would still only take you 15 seconds to cover the distance.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/diakrite diakrite

    Heh..the vid reminds me of an average working-day in the Dutch town I currently reside (minus the helmets. No-one, but very small kids, wears them.)luckily it's all separated bike-lanes overhere, so pushy cabs are not gonna run into ya while illegally using the bike-lane like I had happen too much in NY...(and I also do not miss the rude comments thrown at me from the drivers of forementioned cabs..heh..)Just recently found out that you can cycle from one Dutch city to another via fully-fledged separated "bike high-ways"  o_O