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Mayor accelerates expansion of San Francisco bike lanes

The Californian city will create 20 miles of new protected bike lanes and put in place increased enforcement to protect cyclist safety.

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Since 2006, cycling in San Francisco has almost tripled
Since 2006, cycling in San Francisco has almost tripled

San Francisco has announced it will speed up the creation of new bike lanes to develop 20 miles of new, protected bike lanes over the next two years. The expansion is to help create a connected bike lane network in the Californian city.

 

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has also been mandated to increase citations related to blocked bike lanes by 10 per cent over the next six months.

 

Improving safety

 

The enforcement move, beginning with immediate effect, seeks to improve cyclists’ safety by preventing collisions.

 

“Since 2006, bicycling in San Francisco has almost tripled. As our city continues to grow, we know we need more protected bike lanes, not only to keep people safe, but also to encourage more people to bike in the city and reduce congestion. That is why I am directing the SFMTA to double our pace of creating new bike lanes in San Francisco,” said London Breed, mayor of San Francisco.

 

“While we work to create the bike infrastructure we need, we also need to make sure that we’re keeping cars and trucks out of the bike lane so that bicyclists are not forced into traffic.”

As our city continues to grow, we know we need more protected bike lanes, not only to keep people safe, but also to encourage more people to bike in the city and reduce congestion"

The SFMTA goal of 20 miles of on-street protected bike lanes within the next two years would increase dedicated bike infrastructure throughout the city and help create a more complete protected bicycle network.

 

In 2017-18, SFMTA built protected bike lanes at a pace of just over five miles per year. The increased production will be possible in part due to the mayor’s efforts to streamline the process to deliver safety projects, which she announced in March 2019, and will be heard by the SFMTA board later this month.

 

Bold challenge

 

In the last six months of 2018, the SFMTA reported roughly 27,000 citations for infractions related to blocking bike lanes. The SFMTA will increase these citations by 10 per cent in the next six months based on 311 data, in order to better keep these lanes clear.

 

“Mayor Breed has issued a bold challenge to the SFMTA to quickly close the gaps in our citywide protected bike lane network,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

 

“Building out our infrastructure is the best way to improve safety and make it easier for people to bike to work, school or wherever they may need to go. We will need more of this kind of leadership moving forward if we want to grow the number of people biking, achieve Vision Zero by 2024 and meet our ambitious climate goals.”

 

The SFMTA has also released an evaluation of street safety improvements, showing the beneficial effects of improved infrastructure programmes in San Francisco. Of bicyclists who were surveyed about the new Folsom Street, 83 per cent reported increased comfort after the completion of the project.

 

Turk Street saw almost a four-fold increase in bike counts (287 per cent) following a bike lane being installed. Additionally, projects helped slow traffic, such as an observed 18 per cent decrease in vehicle speeds on Vicente Street following the introduction of new bike lanes and speed humps.

 

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