Riding the Bay

There is good news for San Francisco’s bike riders.   Parking-protected bike lines have been approved for Upper Market Street, by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. This mile-long stretch of land will elevate safety for pedestrians and cyclists between Octavia Boulevard and Castro Street.  Featured in the project are: expansion of the sidewalk curb (making road crossing safer); Laguna Street will get a refurbished Muni boarding island (bolstering disabled access); supplementary bike lanes and upgraded markings for current ones.  As well, the currently hazardous intersection at Octavia Boulevard (with the traffic that merges onto US highway 101) will be handled.

While there have been some objections (from officials in the fire department due to provisions extending bike lanes on a third mile stretch), since the vote to go ahead was unanimous it is thought that the proposals will be greatly beneficial.  The concern is that blocked cars sitting between the street and bike lane could cause an impediment to fire engines seeking access to burning buildings in places that have overhead wires.  This would be particularly worrying if the area is built up with towering constructions.

But as Chris Cassidy, spokesman for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition correctly pointed out: “If other cities’ fire departments can work around these, I believe the San Francisco Fire Department can do the same.”

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