Thursday, February 25, 2010

Steiner Street on the Wiggle NOW Safer

Seth Fischer is all for a smoother, safer Steiner Street on his commute

Surprise for cyclists turning northbound on Steiner from Duboce

One smooth 1/2 block; the southbound lane still needs work

This is why SFBC Good Roads Campaign blew the whistle on unsafe surface

Seth Fischer knows a smooth surface and that's what he got Thursday morning for his regular Wiggle spin from Duboce and northbound on Steiner. This stretch between Duboce and Herman has been one eyesore and hazard for some time. The Department of Public Works (DPW) has filled hole upon hole here in the past, but after the rains and especially the SFPUC/Water Department's construction on the south side of the street, only one option remained. Grind it out and add new smooth asphalt.

Neal Patel, Community Planner for the SF Bicycle Coalition, might have been the first to fully appreciate the change in the surface. Last night his ride on Steiner brought one huge smile from the just-completed paving. Just last week he was on the block with DPW reps urging quick action for the street defects. "As soon as the rain stopped enough for them to get out there, work crews took care of the problem," Patel said, "and they did a great job."

So, cyclists, enjoy the northbound lane, and here's the story on the bumpy utility trench work on Steiner southbound from Waller to Duboce. SFBC is also pushing for this work to be either re-applied or smoothed out by some other means as soon as possible. DPW managers are working with SFPUC to address the problem. Normally if utility work involves a cut that is 25% or longer of the given block, the full length of the block from curb to mid-point needs to be repaved. In this case, the city allowed a waiver since these blocks are due to be re-paved curb-to-curb after August 1st of this year. Budgets are tight, and SFBC volunteers* report just the real hazards to the city, not the regular inconveniences of the road. Given the huge amount of bicycle traffic that the Wiggle gets everyday, a wait of seven months or more seemed unwise for either the cyclists or the city's liability status.

This morning I also walked the block of Sanchez south of Duboce. Cyclists know how bad this block has been as well. A neighbor and homeowner from that block stopped by to chat -- and complain about the terrible street surface SFPUC left in its wake once they believed construction was done. After he heard about SFBC's efforts to get these streets smoothed, he smiled and said, "It's great to work on these problems as a community together; I really appreciate that the bike coalition is working on this." He also said he was going to get his neighbors to call 311 requesting a better pavement job.

*Full disclosure: Along with several other volunteers, I am a member of the SFBC Good Roads Crew.


  1. The half assed approach is a bit disappointing but at least the real deal is scheduled for August, good to hear

  2. Hey Bike Man Dan, it's really a problem of "different departments," with negotiation over whose budget is going to be hit for the re-do of the utility trench.DPW is committed to rectifying the problem; SFPUC, we're not so sure about yet. And that trench can't wait till August.

  3. the south bound section was the worst part, and the other side was were I road to avoid it. I have never see a SFPUC job the was so poor in the resurfacing component. Who did the follow up inspection, and said it was up to snuff?

  4. Cary: well, the other side is now much better! I think everyone all around is recognizing that the "temporary" fix of the utility trench was unacceptable. I'm drafting a post for the first of the week about how DPW will repave earlier than planned..which is being very responsive.