San Francisco just took bike safety to new heights, literally. The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency just debuted it’s first ever raised bike path, in an attempt to provide a few blocks of protection in the heart of downtown.
The lane stretches along Market Street, from Gough to 12th, and is just the first of many paths scheduled for construction during the next year. San Francisco has chosen path locations based off accident prone areas of the city, and will hopefully choose the path over weaving through the sidewalk, while cars will hopefully find it more difficult to veer off into the newly raised lanes.
The lanes, although only in the pilot stages of the project, are a point of pride for the city, as noted in a recent press release:
The SFMTA, which oversees all ground transportation in San Francisco, is taking an innovative approach with the demonstration, testing four different raised bikeway designs simultaneously. This approach will allow the agency to test future applications of raised bikeways with different elevations and slopes, as well as collect feedback from street users on the designs.…
“We’re looking forward to the implementation of this experiment as we continue to search for new ways to improve the quality of life in the City,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “The pilot will provide us with the real-world experience to evaluate raised bikeways in San Francisco.”
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition visited the site and noted that there are a lot of different “angles” to the lane, where the slant of the curb between the bike line and the main street have stretches which are more vertical than others. The project is, however, still in the initial stages of design and roll out, and I would hope that these issues are addressed in the final versions of the elevated pathways.
I’d love to hear what San Francisco thinks? Has anyone ridden on these paths yet? Do they look like they will actually provide some safety and clear lanes for cyclists in our city? And have other cities seen success in traffic and bicycle safety because of such measures? It sounds great in theory, but these kind of programs are only useful if they provide some real benefit to those that use them.