San Francisco

Construction Begins on First Raised Bike Lane in San Francisco

Construction of San Francisco’s first raised bike lane will get underway Monday in the hopes of improving safety for cyclists.

Workers with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco Public Works will create the lane on two blocks of eastbound Market Street between Gough and 12th streets, SFMTA officials said. The work should take four weeks.

Construction will raise the height of an existing lane on which more than 3,000 inbound bike trips are made each weekday, according to SFMTA officials.

The officials said the raised lane will improve safety and comfort for cyclists who use it. The height of the lane will be lower than the sidewalk, but will deter cars from driving on the lane, SFMTA officials said. The lanes already exist - they are the green, bike-only lanes on the street, and they'll be raised by only a few inches. The hope is the cyclists actually use the raised lanes instead of the sidewalk.

Last year, California passed bill AB 1193, which formally defined raised bikeways and protected bike lanes as a new kind of bike facility in the California Vehicle Code. And this year, Caltrans started to develop guidance for local jurisdictions to use when they design and build the new bikeways. The new Caltrans guidelines are expected to be released on Jan. 1.

"This is an innovative design modeled after bike lanes shown to increase safety for people biking and walking," said Noah Budnick, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "We're excited to see how the new design calms traffic and makes San Francisco easier, safer and more enjoyable for everyone to get around."

The Raised Bikeway Demonstration Project is also one of 24 priority safety projects that San Francisco promised to complete by February 2016 as part of Vision Zero, the city’s commitment to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024. Nineteen of those projects have already been completed. All 24 are slated to be complete by February 2016.

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