An effort is underway to stop 20 blocks of much-needed bike lanes from possibly being installed along Polk Street. It's a tentative plan under serious consideration from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
Tinged with hyperbole, the above flyer care of the Coalition to Save Polk Street was spotted along Polk. It urges people to "STOP the radical agenda of the SFMTA." (Oh dear.) And on March 18, a meeting will be held at It's a Grind in an effort to squash cycling and pedestrian improvements along the increasingly twee-ified strip.
In actuality, the bike lane project won't be 20 blocks. In fact, "it is likely to be limited to a shorter stretch of the street." Leah Shahum, executive officer of the SFBC, told the Chronicle that, while the proposal for Polk Street has yet to be selected, it would focus on improving both bicycle and pedestrian safety -- two issues lacking on Polk.
The SF Bicycle Coalition asked people to fill out a survey about cycling on Polk Street and about this rendering of a bike lane.When asked which factors make bike rides on Polk unsafe or uncomfortable, or make riders less inclined to take Polk, the top 5 responses were:
72%: Not enough separation from vehicles
45%: The roadway is uneven and bumpy
44%: The bikeway is inadequate or missing
30%: There are too many double-parked vehicles
26%: The light timing slows me down
When asked to divulge what survey part of the bike lane rendering they liked best, the top responses were:
91%: Bikeway separated from motor vehicles
62%: Green treatment of bikeway
44%: Widened sidewalks
34%: Reduction in the number of automobiles on the road
More information on bike safety along Polk can be found at SFBike.org.
Photo: John Vlahides