Saturday, August 22, 2009

Love Your Bike Lanes: Baker Street

Cyclists love the Baker Street bike lanes. The five blocks from Fell to Golden Gate are a godsend for north/south bikers. Whip off the Wiggle onto Fell and then charge up Baker and you get to all of NOPA's east-west streets.

Going to the Richmond? A quick left on Golden Gate and you're on the way to Parker, Turk, Arguello, and then
Lake or Cabrillo. It's a clean sweep all the way to the ocean. Morning commute downtown? Re-trace your ride through NOPA or hit the Panhandle to reach Baker. On to Oak with the Wiggle ahead.

It's quick, it's essential. But it's not smooth, not the NOPA stretch between Fell and Golden Gate. Here's the odd thing: not long ago the worst pavement in NOPA was Baker between Hayes and Fell. Thankfully, the city intervened and re-paved...but only some of the block, down the center, for the cars. Left behind and untouched were the bike lanes on either side -- rough, ridged, and bumpy. Why not pave the whole block?

Just over a year ago Arguello received just the opposite treatment. The city re-paved the bike lanes -- but not the vehicular lanes. Never again, said the Dept of Public Works. It cost almost the same to pave the bike lanes alone as it would have to resurface from curb to curb. So why not all of Baker? If we were stuck in the bikes vs. cars paradigm -- that's so pre-injunction -- we'd say, "one for one; we're even; move on."

Today motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians seek livability for all. Pave all of Baker and all of Arguello. Safe surfaces on major routes for all. When will it happen? DPW is set to repave Baker through NOPA beginning October 31st of this year. No more straddling the traffic side of the bike lane. And Arguello? Not till July 2012.

Love the lanes; make them smoother, safer. To find when your NOPA block will be repaved see the earlier post here; for any block in the city, check the DPW site here.

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