Thursday, October 21, 2010

Safe Passage: Keeping the Bike Lane Open Through Construction

Polk from Bush to Pine
Flickr photo: geekstinkbreath

Here's a street scene we really like: a sewer project that keeps the bike lane open during construction, especially since the work is on a much-used north-south bike route like Polk Street. This block between Bush and Pine might easily have blocked the bike lane altogether; instead the Public Utilities Commission, or its contractor, has closed the street to all but bicyclists while the work proceeds outside the bikeway.

San Francisco streets need a lot of work above and below ground with sewer line reconstruction, concrete base renovation, and basic surface repaving. In our compact urban space any street construction can leave bicyclists -- and sometimes motorists -- scrambling to safely get from Point A to Point B along their usual routes or find detours.

The city's Blue Book of regulations governing street construction is being revised, partly to include new requirements that are more responsive to the needs of bicyclists. The recent difficulties during the Valencia Street upgrade are a good example of what can go wrong: bikeways can be left exposed to trenches, strewn with debris, diverted without notice, and be blocked altogether. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is working with the Department of Public Works and the Municipal Transportation Agency to add new safety measures and better enforce those that exist.

1 comment:

  1. Now this is progress! I wish there were many more places where there were "bike only access."