Every bicyclist is hoping for a smooth ride on this essential part of the Wiggle
Total scrape to the dirt for reconstruction of Steiner Street block
Both traffic lanes of Steiner between Duboce and Waller to get a new base and asphalt
Only a rideability test on two wheels will determine for sure whether the roadbed reconstruction and paving of Steiner Street between Waller and Duboce will be as smooth and safe as bicyclists have long awaited. On Monday crews began removing the old base down to the dirt in the traffic lanes. A new layer of asphalt will follow early in July. The two block stretch is a crucial link in the Wiggle bike route used by hundreds of people on bikes every day. Advocacy by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and a commitment to safe bike routes by the Department of Public Works helped advance this project by several months. During the weeks ahead, Sanchez Street just south of Duboce, aka "the washboard," will receive a similar roadbed makeover.
Neal Patel, director of SFBC's Good Roads Campaign, said he was "thrilled" to see this segment of Steiner Street get repaved. "This is a great example of how Good Roads volunteers identified a crumbling stretch of road that needed fixing and how the Department of Public Works quickly responded and prioritized a fix."
Many bicyclists had taken to avoiding the two blocks of Steiner altogether given the rough surfaces that resulted from multiple repairs over several years. Others found the route even more frustrating with the temporary paving that followed a recent utility cut the length of the blocks. Several people complained to DPW directly about the uneven, bouncing ride that forced cyclists off the bikeway and into the traffic area. Their input contributed to the effort SFBC had begun to get the roadway repaved many months ahead of schedule.
The Steiner and Sanchez blocks are good examples -- although certainly not the worst -- of what happens when streets are not adequately repaired in a timely manner. Only during the last several years has DPW received enough funding to keep city streets from dropping below their "fair" rating. To avoid the much more expensive roadbed reconstruction (instead of asphalt repaving alone), the department will need a significant infusion of new revenue.
Disclosure: I am one of SFBC's Good Roads volunteers, and I can't wait to see the Steiner and Sanchez blocks completed.