Friday, February 5, 2010

"Better illegal and safe than legal and dead": Masonic Avenue sidewalk cyclist

Travelling up Masonic

In front of the San Francisco Day School

Bicyclists who ride on Masonic Avenue sidewalks do so as a last resort, according to several who posted comments following yesterday's BIKE NOPA story about riding on sidewalks in the city. A study conducted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency found that 30% of cyclists (13 of 43) passing through the Masonic and Golden Gate Avenue intersection rode on the sidewalk. The percentage made the NOPA intersection the second highest of the three dozen sites included in the study. The bike count was undertaken on an August day last year between 5pm and 6:30 pm.

"Masonic is the only street in the city which I regularly ride on the sidewalk - and only in the uphill direction. Riding in the street there is some of the worst in the entire city -- and the sidewalk is plenty wide to acomodate bikes and pedestrians." mfogel

"I'm part of the better illegal and safe than legal and dead sidewalk riding crowd. I've been riding in the City for over 20 years and for the past few years I've switched to the sidewalk on Masonic heading uphill to Geary. I had too many scary encounters to ride in the street." Cheryl

"I think this street corridor is one of the biggest problems city-wide." Philip Peter

"I commute on Masonic daily and it's still treacherous. The cars get the light on Turk and keep their momentum going past the 25 mph sign hidden by the trees. On Monday morning when the parked cars are cleared, it's even faster. The Allowed Full Use of Lane sign is placed at O'Farrell after the damage is done. It's also way above sight level. I hate taking the sidewalk there which is uneven and terrible to ride on, but I do, only place in the city I do." James Farinacci

Although the SFMTA study counted bicyclists at the intersection of both Masonic and Golden Gate Avenue, there's little doubt that the incidence of sidewalk bicycling occurs almost exclusively on Masonic since Golden Gate is flat, smooth, and has a striped bike lane.

On the northeast corner of the intersection is the San Francisco Day School, and children, parents, and staff frequently use the sidewalks and crosswalks. But one of the teachers at the school has no problem with the sidewalk cycling.

"I teach at that corner. I've never seen a bicyclist riding carelessly on the sidewalks of Masonic. ... Almost all cyclists who use the sidewalk are going uphill which is slow work. I've also never seen a pedestrian get upset with such a bicyclist, because it's so obvious to everyone that riding on the street would be really scary." Diane

Fix Masonic, the neighborhood group that has advocated for safety measures on the corridor for years, continues to urge the SFMTA to use available, dedicated funds to assess neighborhood sentiment about a re-design of Masonic. A few of the BIKE NOPA readers have already expressed theirs.

Riding on the sidewalk: "that's not a good solution, compared to removing a traffic or parking lane, and putting in some real (painted GREEN!) bike space." mfogel

"It would be nice to have a physically separated, bi-directional bike lane on the east side of the street that connects logically from the Panhandle, through the weird overpass business to Laurel/Presidio Heights." Philip Peter

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