|Sketch illustrating how Cycle Tracks might be configured on Second Street to increase safety and planting.|
In Northern Europe cycling has been prioritized as a sustainable and efficient mode of transportation. They have invented a type of bike lane that is truly suitable for riders from 8 to 80 years old: the Cycle Track. Think of a regular American bicycle lane, but it sits next to sidewalk and is protected from the motorized vehicle lanes with bollards, a curb, or even a row of parked cars. In San Francisco the SFMTA has started to implement Buffered Bicycle Lanes, our own version of the Cycle Track. A couple of blocks on Market started it off, and cyclists loved it. Recently Cargo Way and JFK Drive have had protected bikeways added as well.
Jan Gehl, the wonderful Danish architect and urban planner, sums up a key advantage of putting the bikes inside the parking lane: the row of parked cars protects the cyclists, instead of having the cyclists protect the parked cars. The other benefit for cyclists is that it's difficult to double park in the cycle track, eliminating a common source of conflict. Meanwhile, drivers, too, are finding that the separation provides a level of clarity that makes it easier to share the road with cyclists.
Second Street is wide enough for cycle tracks. The sketch above shows how this might be implemented. The city initially could define the lane with paint, but the buffer ultimately could have trees and permeable paving to further green the street. There are traffic engineering challenges at the intersections, but one of the positives of Second Street is that there are relatively few driveways that have to penetrate through the cycle track.
|The official NACTO standards for protected bicycle lanes, Cycle Tracks, in the USA.|