The Panhandle Bike Path is One Big Mess at the Intersection of Fell and Masonic

Obviously, the person(s) who laid out the Panhandle Bike Path didn’t know what they were doing. Having said that, the question becomes, what can be done to fix things.

Having cars going left from westbound Fell on to Masonic southbound “first” (before the cyclists and peds on the bike path) would help things a bit, as this photo demonstrates: 

Click to expand

And having longer hours for the No Left Turn sign for drivers heading northbound on Masonic at Fell – that would help too.

But a wholesale changes should be considered. Could the bike path be moved somehow?


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9 Responses to “The Panhandle Bike Path is One Big Mess at the Intersection of Fell and Masonic”

  1. Sean says:

    The original timing on that light was for cars to go first and it was a mess. The photo is a perfect example of why. Southbound traffic on Masonic tends to “fill” the block between Fell and Oak, giving no room for cars turning from Fell onto southbound Masonic. Traffic on Fell backs up, chaos ensues, and Gavin Newsome runs away to Hawaii again. The change in signal order has made a huge difference in how well that works for both bikes and cars — at least for the Fell Street traffic. I walk and drive through the intersection several times a day and have seen few problems.

    That said, what I’m seeing in the photo is a) two southbound cars blocking the crosswalk (fail!), and b) a northbound car blocking the crosswalk (really?? double fail!) If drivers respected that area as off limits and learned to only cross an intersection when there was space for their cars on the other side, then we’d see a lot less of this kind of mess.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    The timing of the signals was switched primarily for ideological reasons, not for common-sense reasons.

    The car sensors on Fell allowed cyclists to go earlier if no cars were in line – the system no longer works as designed….

    It’s harder for cyclists to get across now as there’s less time on green. That encourages people to run the don’t walk, as I sometimes do…

  3. andy says:

    i think the green bicycle traffic light is too confusing. cyclists know to use the crosswalk signal but motorists don’t know what to do with a green bicycle.

  4. Brendan Monaghan says:

    “But a wholesale changes should be considered. Could the bike path be moved somehow?”

    Indeed! Let’s a lane of traffic from Fell, push parking out 1 lane from the curb and turn the curb lane into a two way bike way. Then when that reaches capacity we can do the same on Oak and have one way bike lanes on each street right up against the Panhandle. As a cyclist I avoid the Panhandle bike path if I’m in a hurry due to the pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

  5. malebe says:

    Funny, I thought the bike route is worst around Oak/Fell and Divisidero. Those gas stations are lethal! This intersection seems to work pretty well, in my opinion.

  6. Al says:

    Hm. How’s this idea– it’s a bigger project, but what about altering the path to cross masonic in the middle of the panhandle instead of the side? Then cars could turn onto Masonic as they used to before coming to a red light, and stopping, which would probably be better respected than the unusual no left turn light.

    Expensive, though.

  7. Peter says:

    First of all, let’s get one thing straight – it’s not a bike path, it’s a MULTI-USE PATH.

    That said, it’s not the bike path that’s the problem, nor the special light for cyclists to cross (which I think is a good short-term solution). The problem is that Masonic is the only uninterrupted N/S artery between Stanyan and Divis, and traffic backs up at the panhandle b/c the intersections south of the panhandle can’t handle the volume of traffic.

    The only real problem with the bike path in my opinion is overaggressive cyclists who assume that pedestrians, kids on scooters and especially families with strollers are not allowed anywhere near it.

    And all this from an avid cyclist. I guess I’ll have to live with the SFBike Coalition jihad which will now be launched against me.

  8. sfcitizen says:

    I’ve seen some references to the bike path as a “wilderness trail,” for what it’s worth…

    Drivers on masonic northbound just don’t get the idea that somebody’s placed their stop line so, so far away from Fell Street. They just don’t get it and they never will.

    The place is a mess, and more so since they changed the light timing to allow peds and cyclists to “go first.”

  9. The obvious answer is to make the path a TUNNEL!!! It’s not that hard people, LOL.