Rally to Preserve Bike Lane at Market and Octavia in San Francisco

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition called for a rally at Market and Octavia on Friday and they got quite a turnout. Right now, we can be certain that more changes are a coming to this busy intersection. The question of the week is whether the dedicated inbound bike lane will stick around.

Now you’d think that 3000 mile long I-80, the United States’ main east-west interstate, would end either north of Market Street or south of it. But for some ridiculous reason after traveling all the way from New Joisey or Ocean City, MD or wherever, it ends right smack dab on Market Street, seemingly lacking the energy to make it one or two blocks farther. That’s ancient history (involving the old grey Mayor, and a thing called (Supervisor Michael) Yaki’s Compromise, and yada yada yada) now, so oh well.

But since we’re on the subject, why not just get rid of this whole Octavia imbroglio? This would include the ridiculous, hated, overly-wide Octavia Boulevard (parking line + driving lane + median + driving lane + driving lane + big median + driving lane + driving lane + median + driving lane + parking lane = TOO DAMN WIDE = an imepdiment to transit = a scar on the land) and the “Central Freeway” glorified offramp. Bring this mother down.

But barring that happening tomorrow, we’ll have a showdown next week of the SFBC vs the city. Now the City and County of San Francisco is getting sick of getting sued whenever there’s an accident at Market and Octavia, so they think getting rid of the bike lane would help. This viewpoint is ably expressed here, via the hard-working StreetsBlog San Francisco.

Friday’s rally had inspiring words from Senator Mark Leno, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, as well as a few other pols. To Be Continued…

“SAVE THIS BIKE LANE” Click to expand:

A closer look at the impressive weekday crowd of 100 or so.

A bevested and fired up Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi called for “monofocused” enforcement of the traffic laws at this intersection. He also spoke of “radiating effects,” which shows that The Boss is up to speed on the issues. Good for him.  

Supervisor David Campos was the fresh face on the scene.

Everything’s gone green at the threatened bike lane, at least temporarily. The traffic island that helps define the bike lane is right behind temporary taggers. 

“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be… we shall never surrender.” Winston Churchill.

More deets after the jump.

Elected Officials Join Bicyclists to Oppose Plan to Remove Bicycle Safety
Features at Market & Octavia Intersection
(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) — Cycling advocates and city leaders will rally at the Market and Octavia
intersection this Friday, January 16th at 9am in an attempt to save a bike lane and protective
barrier that the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) proposes to remove. Opponents, who
believe the MTA plan will significantly lessen bike safety at the infamously dangerous
intersection, are expected to express their shock and frustration that city transportation leaders
would remove a bike lane when no new bike lanes have been added in more than two years.
“Removing a bike lane at the most dangerous intersection in the city would be a substantial step
backwards for safety and calls into question the City’s commitment to sustainable, healthy
transportation,” says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the 10,000-member San Francisco
Bicycle Coalition (SFBC), a nonprofit promoting bicycling for everyday transportation. “Rarely have
I seen the bicycling community so frustrated that their rights and safety are being sold out.”
The SFBC is urging the city to instead implement the 2008 Planning Department proposal, the
Upper Market Community Plan, which recommends safety improvements like raised bike lanes,
colored pavement, and an extension of the concrete safety barrier. More about this plan is
available at: w ww.sfbike.org/octavi a .
The MTA proposal passed its Board of Directors last week and is scheduled to be presented to the
Superior Court Judge on January 22nd as a request of relief from the injunction, barring the city
from making any physical bike improvements since 2006. In contrast, New York city has
completed over 150 miles of bike lanes in the same timeframe. The injunction will be lifted once
a full Environmental Impact Report is completed, which is expected to be finalized in mid-2009.
Supervisors Bevan Dufty (8), Ross Mirkarimi (5), and Chris Daly (6) are expected to join the rally
and continue their advocacy for a safer intersection that will protect cyclists, pedestrians and
motorists alike. They will be joined by numerous cyclists who have been hit and injured at the
intersection who will speak out against the MTA’s proposal at this Friday’s rally. One such victim
is Michael Borden, a 57-year-old bicycle commuter who was hit by a car making the illegal right
turn in December 2007.
“Removing the bike lane and barrier would be a huge step backwards and would really affect my
decision to bicycle commute to work,” says Borden. “Right now, it feels like the safest part of my
commute down Market Street, where I am separate from the faster moving cars.”
The intersection has been a concern for cyclists and city leaders since the Highway 101 ramp onto
Market Street opened in 2005. After advocacy from bicycle and pedestrian groups, neighbors, and
elected officials, the City installed a concrete barrier island to protect cyclists and make it more
difficult for drivers to make the illegal right turn in December 2007. Now, after just one year, the
MTA wants to remove this barrier and the entire bike lane, forcing autos and cyclists to merge
and share a narrow lane of traffic.
The SFBC is asking the MTA to abandon its request to remove the bike lane and concrete barrier
and, instead, move forward with the Upper Market Community Plan, created by the SF Planning
Department with significant community input over the past 3 years. This plan, available at
sfbike.org/ctavia, recommends raised bike lanes with colored pavement, an enhanced safety
barrier, larger pedestrian crossings and landscaping to reduce drivers impulse to turn illegally.
WHAT: Rally to protect the Market & Octavia Bike Lane and Press Conference
WHERE: Market & Octavia Street, Southwest Corner
WHEN: January 16, 2009, 9am
VISUALS: Protesters, Elected Officials, Cyclist Commuters riding through intersection,
individuals who have been injured at intersection discussing their crash, volunteer
crossing guards for cyclists and pedestrians
WHO: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Members and cyclists
Residents and cyclists who have been in a collision at the intersection
Bevan Dufty, San Francisco Supervisor, District 8
Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Supervisor, District 5
Chris Daly, San Francisco Supervisor, District 6*
State Leaders and Elected Officials*
* Indicates tentative attendance
Bike lane, soft-hit posts and concrete barrier island at Octavia and Market Street.

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3 Responses to “Rally to Preserve Bike Lane at Market and Octavia in San Francisco”

  1. KD says:

    Winton? Really? When did he drop the ‘s’?

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Whoops, fixed. Muchas….

  3. jez kent says:

    Keep it up its nice to see people making an effort I give all the that work for me a free electric bike , if they use it to come to work