Big changes could be coming to the Fell Street freeway, but it remains to be seen how city officials will overcome massive obstacles to reducing traffic.
For years, cyclists have been pushing for upgrades to the dangerous street along the panhandle. There are no protections for cyclists, who face the risk of getting hit by open car doors and by speeding drivers. The one short stretch of bike lane that currently exists is too narrow for many riders to safely use.
But the SFMTA, which regulates roads, is pushing hard to improve the street's design. The most likely scenario would remove a lane of traffic, or possibly some parking, in order to create a physically separated bike lane. One estimate suggests that work might be done by this summer, according to Streetsblog.
Both Mayor Lee and Mayor Newsom have expressed support for the project.
The city will have to overcome a few obstacles to make it happen. The first challenge is that the SFMTA's already planned out their work for the next few months, and will have to adjust their priorities.
Other problems are more tricky. Neighbors may object to the loss of parking. Drivers may object to increased congestion due to fewer lanes. But those "problems" may be imaginary: as capacity dwindles, drivers tend to move elsewhere, spreading out the impact to that it's less noticeable. And as cycling becomes more attractive, fewer people will need to drive at all.