With construction on Polk Street’s two-year transformation underway, we’ve made a change to the plan for a raised bike lane in light of our recent research on best design practices.
The previous plan for the Polk Streetscape Project included a raised bike lane, with a two-inch mountable curb, on the northbound side of Polk from McAllister to Pine streets. But in our experiment with different curb designs last year on Market Street, we found that raised bike lanes on commercial streets like Polk should have a parking-protected configuration, with a lane of car parking and loading zones between the bike lane and the roadway, to prevent drivers from parking in the bikeway.
Making room for that parking lane on Polk would require major changes to the plan already under construction. To make the bike lane safer without a major delay, the northbound bike lane will no longer be raised but will be built at road level with plastic safe-hit posts and a painted buffer zone to separate it from the traffic lanes.
Under the new plan, Polk Street’s northbound bikeway (right) will no longer be raised on a curb, and will be separated from traffic with a buffer zone and plastic “safe-hit” posts.
These measures will be more effective at deterring illegal parking and loading, and they could save on costs and time for construction. Since they won’t require changes to infrastructure like curbs, they won’t preclude further improvements.
"In a blog post published this month, the SFMTA confirmed that the northbound bike lane will be street-level, rather than raised, and include soft-hit posts to keep drivers from parking in the lane."
Based on findings from the city’s first raised bike lane, Polk Street’s northbound bike lane will be street-level—not raised.
From Streetsblog 3/3/15:
"The SFMTA Board of Directors voted today to approve the plan to redesign Polk Street with a protected bike lane along one side of the street for 10 of 20 blocks. After a four-hour hearing, the board approved the plan with the condition that SFMTA staff would report on the impacts of the project a year after it’s completed, when they will consider extending protected bike lanes along the upper half of the corridor.
“Of course, we wanted the full suite of Vision Zero improvements along the length of Polk,” said SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Noah Budnick. “But the improvements that were approved today are the foundation to build on and as we work through the massive construction on Polk, and the safety improvements are implemented, the MTA’s data-driven approach, I predict, is going to show that safety improves, traffic is reduced, businesses thrive, and will back up the case for extending pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements for the entire length of the street.”
Sadly, the proposed plans from the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to improve Polk Street don’t go nearly far enough to save lives, much less make biking on Polk Street comfortable and inviting for people ages 8 to 80. Only 25% of the total road miles in the current proposal would get protected bicycle lanes. 50% of the proposed project has zero physical protection for people biking -- just green paint.
The SFMTA can and must do better for Polk, especially if they are to take their Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries within ten years seriously. Our vision for Polk is straightforward: ambitious pedestrian improvements and a continuous, green, protected bikeway on all thirty blocks of the project area. San Franciscans deserve nothing less.
Email the SFMTA and Supervisor Julie Christensen today (Julie.Christensen@sfgov.org) and tell her to #SaveLivesonPolk with a better project design that will truly achieve safety for all.
Thank you for helping us #SaveLivesonPolk.
Chema Hernández Gil
We need your help to push the SFMTA to choose a final design for Polk Street in February that includes protected bikeways and much-needed pedestrian improvements from Union to McAllister.
Stay involved with our campaign here: www.sfbike.org/news/the-top-th...
Since releasing the Preferred Alternative for roadway design in July, the SF Planning Department's project team has focused its attention on refining the roadway design concept and investigating options for public realm enhancements such as lighting, landscaping, bulbouts and alley improvements.
Please join to view plans and illustrations of the new design, and to celebrate all the work that has taken place to develop the design for Polk Street. City staff will be on-hand to answer questions and listen to your thoughts on the conceptual design.