A contentious clash between cyclists, car-parkers and business owners over the Polk Street Corridor Improvement Project has caused the SFMTA to go back to the drawing board and offer some decidedly less bike-friendly alternatives to its original plan.
The plan, which is go into effect alongside a Polk Street repaving project in 2015, is aimed at improving bicycle and pedestrian safety and supporting businesses along the Polk corridor, but opinions are divided over which will positively impact the neighborhood: parking or increased bike traffic. Neighborhood groups have expressed particular concern over the issue of reducing parking spots to accommodate bike lanes, and it looks like the SFMTA is paying attention.
Bike advocates say that designated bike lanes are key to improving safety and fostering traffic along the commercial corridor. According to the SFMTA, people who visit businesses on foot or by bicycle spend 15% more overall than people who drive.
The SFMTA is currently accepting feedback on its 6 alternatives for Upper and Lower Polk, which include the following options:
Option A: A shared roadway that removes parking approximately 5% of the spaces within one block of Polk street for pedestrian safety enhancements but does not have designated bike lanes.
Option B: One bike lane in the uphill direction, with "sharrows" on the downhill direction, which would be more narrow than existing conditions. Approx. 5% of parking spaces would be removed.
Option C: Two designated bike lanes which would require parking removal of approximately 18% of parking within one block of Polk Street.