SFMTA converting 17th St. “Engineered Bike Trap” to Euro style bicycle highway?
An endless run of broken bones and shattered elbows attended that fateful decision back in 2011 to delay the installation of the 17th St. bike path between Church and Castro Streets. Finally, it looks like SFMTA is going to do the right thing. SF transit engineers Mike Sallaberry (who helped design SF’s bike path system) and Alan Uy are right now drawing up solutions never before seen in San Francisco to complete that much needed bicycle path.
SF Bike Coalition Advocacy Director Janice Li recently met with The City’s engineers on 17th St., bringing with her the expertise and knowledge base of San Francisco’s beloved and rapidly growing bicycle lobby. Likewise, local ADA advocate Bob Planthold is joining the effort.
Under heavy pressure from a loosely organized group of neighbors and their Supervisor, Scott Wiener and impending legal costs as courts award large settlements to bicyclists harmed by public infrastructure just like that found on 17th St. The City’s transit agency is seriously considering the Dutch model for this three block critical corridor.
Today, on 17th St. bikes “share the road” with parked as well as moving automobiles, other bikes and streetcar tracks configured in the worst possible manner. This is a total disaster causing some 200 bike wrecks per year, a significant percent of which require hospitalization.
The solution favored by SFMTA is to remove parking entirely from one side of 17th St and use that real estate for a protected bi-directional three block long bicycle lane. This consolidation goes along with removing the Westbound traffic flow. Making 17th St. one-way from Castro St. to Church St. (with the exception of the F-line historic streetcars & bikes) would be a one-two knockout punch to a problem that has sent hundreds of bicycle riders to the hospital.
(Video above was shot on the Duboce Street Bike Path, Aug. 30, 2016)
This would also be one of the most innovative and blatantly pro- pedestrian and bicycle streetscape changes manifested by any regional transit agency. One small Castro neighborhood challenging the automobile domination that is grid-locking whole swaths of San Francisco.
“People who live here witness these devastating bike wrecks over and over and we just can’t take it anymore,” explains John Entwistle, a 17th St. resident. “I lived in Holland as a kid. Dutch bike paths are safe for children and that is what we need here. Thank goodness SFMTA is finally hearing us. Let’s pray they follow through before someone gets killed out there.”
(Click here to see the status quo on 17th Street.) — And remember, SFMTA & Scott Wiener reserve the right to reverse course on this plan at any time for any reason. No one in the City has committed to this plan at all in any way nor have they acknowledged or apologized for harming all the bike riders they have sent to the hospital from 17th Street during the past five years of procrastination.