Extension of Eighth Street protected bike lane approved

A plan is moving forward to extend a parking protected bike lane on Eighth Street after San Francisco transit officials approved plans on Tuesday.

A parking protected bike lane had already been completed on Eighth between Market and Harrison streets in May 2017, but a plan approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors on Tuesday will now extend the bike lane to Townsend Street as part of the second phase of the Eighth Street Safety Project.

According to the transit agency, approximately 200 bicyclists per hour travel along the corridor during the morning peak period and 100 bicyclists per hour use the corridor during the evening peak period.

The corridor is part of the The City’s high injury network and has seen a total of 45 traffic collisions with injuries and one fatality between Harrison and Townsend streets from 2011 to 2016, an SFMTA staff report said.

Additionally, the project includes installing transit boarding islands on the far side of Harrison Street and the far side of Brannan Street.

Allan Uy, project manager of the Eighth Street project, said the new boarding islands will help Muni buses not have to weave in and out of traffic and reducing conflicts with bicyclists and buses.

The project will also remove 13 parking spaces and three motorcycle parking spaces to install the bike lane and transit boarding islands, according to the SFMTA staff report.

During public comment, Matt Brezina, who has been advocating for more protected bike lanes throughout The City, said he wanted the bike lane paint extended through the intersection so that drivers know to expect bicyclists traveling in the area.

Brezina showed earlier designs of the project where the bike lane was painted through the intersection at Brannan Street, but now are not part of the final design.

He also showed another earlier design at Townsend Street where green bike paint had originally been extended in part of the intersection, which is a traffic circle. Brezina said:

“I don’t know why we’re still building bicycle infrastructure like this. This is not somewhere where new bicyclists or my 62-year old mother would feel safe bicycling.”

Specifically, on Brannan Street, Uy said a sidewalk extension had been planned to allow for the green bike paint to continue through the intersection but will no longer currently proceed.

Instead, the transit agency will proceed with “phase separation,” which includes installing right turn arrows and a bike signal to eliminate the movement of right turning vehicles traffic and bicyclists at the same, said Uy.

Uy added that the transit agency is addressing the “complex” traffic circle on Townsend Street in a different SFMTA project.

The SFMTA expects to complete the $1.6 million project by May 2018.