Folsom Street gets a bike-friendly makeover

|
()
The new design teaches motorists and cyclists to safety merge when approaching right turns off of Folsom Street.
Steven T. Jones

In the wake of some high-profile cases of motorists running over cyclists in San Francisco this year, including the Aug. 14 death of Amelie Le Moullac at the intersection of Folsom and 6th Streets, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has taken a lane from drivers to create safer cycling along seven key blocks of fast-moving Folsom Street.

The project on one-way Folsom Street between 11th and 4th streets creates an extra wide bike lane with bright green cycling signage on the roadway, with that green lane narrowing and breaking up as it approaches the right turns on 10th, 8th, and 6th streets. The idea is communicate with both motorists and cyclists about how to safely merge and avoid having cars make the unsafe “right hook” turns that are dangerous to cyclists.

“Right now, the project is almost complete and it should be complete by the end of the month,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the Guardian.

He said the design was discussed and subject to community outreach efforts during community plan meetings in recent years, but that it was recently accelerated as a $250,000 pilot project with help from Sup. Jane Kim’s office following public concerns about how dangerous that fast-moving strip is to cyclists.

Rose said the traffic flows in the project area will be carefully monitored to see how it’s working, and the agency hopes to learn from that data “so it will inform future projects.”

While San Francisco planners try to learn from other bike-friendly cities, particularly in Europe, Rose also said the agency is on the cutting edge in this country of trying to create safer conditions for the rapidly growing community of cyclists in San Francisco.

“A lot of the work we do in San Francisco generally is the first around country. One of those is sharrows,” Rose said, referring the cyclist shared arrow (sharrow) markings that are ubiquitous around San Francisco, and which remind motorist to safety share the road.