Long-envisioned bikeways on The Embarcadero move forward 

click to enlarge San Francisco Bicycle Coalition executive director Leah Shahum rides a green lane on Polk Street. - JESSICA CHRISTIAN/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Jessica CHristian/special to the S.f. Examiner
  • San Francisco Bicycle Coalition executive director Leah Shahum rides a green lane on Polk Street.

The Embarcadero on Wednesday morning, like any other day of the week, was a bustling mix of bicyclists, tourists and locals, Muni streetcars and private vehicles. On the promenade, one of the only mixed-use spaces in The City for cyclists and pedestrians, Leah Shahum discussed the advantages of creating a bikeway along the waterfront.

"The idea is it would be really comfortable for people of all age levels," the executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said. "And again, you're not setting up a conflict between people biking and walking, because unfortunately that is happening."

Painted bike lanes were added to The Embarcadero from 1998 to 2006 and made green last summer, but the lack of infrastructure physically separating them from pedestrian and driver zones creates confusing crossover. A project to create a bikeway along The Embarcadero from Third Street in South Beach north to Powell and Jefferson streets in the Fisherman's Wharf area has been floated for years, but is finally moving into the planning and stakeholder-outreach phase.

The options include a two-way lane on the water side or two one-way lanes on either side or along the Muni tracks that split The Embarcadero.

The vision was born out of concerns from the Port of San Francisco. Between 2006 and 2011, 84 people were injured on The Embarcadero while biking or walking, including two pedestrian fatalities and three cyclists who were severely injured.

Among the challenges is finding a middle ground, said Patrick Golier, senior transportation planner for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

"The land use and demand for curbside use changes dramatically from block to block," he said of The Embarcadero. "So there really is no one-size-fits-all solution for the issues that we are trying to address."

The first public meeting on the proposal is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 24 at Pier 1.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Bio:
Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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