New bikeways create buffer 

Drivers and bicyclists could wrangle less on San Francisco roadways if an upcoming pilot project to install bike lanes between parked cars and the curb in Golden Gate Park is successful.

By year’s end, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency hopes to construct “parking-buffered” bike lanes along stretches of John F. Kennedy Drive between Stanyan Street and Transverse Drive.

The $250,000 project will move parking spots away from the curb so bicyclists and cars no longer have to mingle on the roadway. The lanes are expected to protect bicyclists and encourage more cycling in The City.

“A painted buffer area between the parked cars and bikeway will provide space for passengers to enter and exit vehicles,” the SFMTA said. “In areas without parking, the bikeway will be separated from the travel lane by a painted buffer area only.”

Around half the JFK Drive corridor will have the new “cycling tracks,” mostly between Transverse Drive and Eighth Avenue, the transit agency said.

The project is in the design phase and must be publicly vetted.

Should the idea prove successful, the hope is that similar separations between bicyclists and vehicles will be constructed citywide. The 11,000-member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said other good spots for the protected bikeways include Townsend Street by the Caltrain station and The Embarcadero between AT&T Park and Fisherman’s Wharf.

The SFMTA said it would construct more parking-buffered bikeways if the pilot project is successful, but it has yet to identify additional locations.

The lanes have been a success in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and New York City, said Andy Thornley, the Bicycle Coalition’s program manager. The lanes offer the comfort of safety and fluidity for cyclists, he said.

“This is the kind of innovation that we’re all hungry to see more of in San Francisco,” Thornley said, adding that bike-lane improvements on Market Street are already paying off.

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