|"Adding bike lanes on this important east-west route will make biking safer for those of us already riding, and will also encourage more people to give bicycle commuting a try," says Hitesh Soneji, a Mission resident who lives near the 16th St. BART station and bikes regularly. "We know that more people choose to bike when they have dedicated space, such as bike lanes. And we know that more people bicycling means better health, a cleaner environment, less congestion, and a safer, more livable Mission District."|
17th Street Bike Lanes Coming Soon, By Leah Shaham, director of the SF Bicycle Coalition
It’s easy to notice the growing number of people biking for transportation in the city, especially in the Mission District, where we have (mostly) flat routes and popular bike lanes running north and south (on Valencia, Harrison and Potrero Sts.). But anyone who rides in the Mission knows that the east-west bike connections are still a problem.
Adding bike lanes on the 16th/17th Streets corridor was identified in the city’s official Bike Plan as one of the most urgent Top 20 bike projects in the city. Fortunately, the S.F. Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) won funds recently to improve the bike route along this corridor as a part of a regional Safe Routes to Transit program, since this is a major connection to the 16th St. BART station.
A group of interested Mission residents has formed a committee, with help from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC), to help figure out plans and win support for the project. Because Muni officials have raised concerns about impacting bus travel by adding bike lanes on 16th St. (which would require removing a traffic lane or two), the committee’s work is focusing mostly on adding bike lanes on 17th St., which could be accomplished along most of the way by narrowing the existing traffic lanes by a few feet and making dedicated room for bicycles. There will be a few challenging sections, particularly on 17th St. between Harrison and Potrero, where the street narrows considerably. In this area, it may be necessary to remove a few blocks of on-street parking to make room for the bike lanes.
Committee volunteers are looking at traffic issues and options along the corridor, including conducting parking counts and gathering data. Soon, they will begin public outreach to other neighbors and businesses along the 17th Street.
To get involved in the bike planning efforts, come to the next meeting on Thursday, March 9th. A bike tour of the corridor will begin at 5:30pm at Church & 17th St. and will convene at 6:30pm for an indoor meeting at 321 Potrero Ave (between 16th & 17th Sts.). See www.sfbike.org/16th17th for more information and to stay updated.
See you in the bike lane!
Leah Shahum, Mission resident & SFBC Executive Director
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