ThinkBike San Francisco Rolls Out Ideas

21 Sep

The two day ThinkBike summit in San Francisco was an inspiring bi-national endeavor focusing on methods to improve conditions for biking in the city. Local leaders, transportation planners, and community members coordinated with the Netherlands Consul General and Dutch transit specialists addressed key topics in bicycle safety, utilization, and functionality in their survey of three study areas:Central Market,Polk Street, and “The Wiggle”.

Central Market
This specific portion of Market Street is part of SF Route 30 (map) but lacks designated bike lanes. While traffic volume is relatively low on Market Street itself, the cross streets are heavily utilized connecting commercial centers to highways. Intersections are dubious at best for even the most cautious and experienced bicyclist.

Polk Street
The northern section of Polk Street consists of one lane of traffic in each direction with parking on both sides of the street. It is considered a commercial corridor, running parallel to Van Ness Avenue (US Route 101). Particular attention will focus on determining if a separated bicycle facility would be possible without being blocked by double-parked vehicles or impeding current traffic flow.

The Wiggle
The WiggleThis mile-long route, aptly named The Wiggle, winds through residential and commercial neighborhoods to minimize hilly inclines for bicyclists. It offers westbound riders an attractive alternative to mashing up Haight Street hills by “wiggling” up much more manageable inclines.

“Since the purpose of the wiggle is to even out/avoid the steep incline getting into the upper haight, on the way back you can just as well sail down Haight St — check your brakes, or your fixie skid marks or what ever.” (San Francisco Wiki, 09/21/2011)


Bicycle safety in the city is a major concern and deterrent for would be bicyclists. However, with the installation of dedicated bicycle facilities and the rising number of bicyclists on the road. Riding a bicycle in the city is an incredible safe method of transportation. Bicyclists can improve their own safety by following road rules and wearing safety gear. However, drivers can greatly improve bicycle safety by being aware and considerate of bicycle traffic providing 3 feet clearance when passing riders on the road. San Francisco is improving and expanding dedicated bicycle facilities and general bicycle awareness and tolerance is quite good in the city.

Utilization goes hand in hand with functionality. Simply building a bike lane does not guarantee its use. Efficient corridors must be identified and then improved upon for optimal bike usage. Bicycling should be a more viable mode of transportation in the city than driving. Functional, efficient routes which can be utilized by bicyclists from 8-80 years old are pivotal in this movement. Hills can be daunting, traffic can be frightening, but with improvements in infrastructure coupled with an informed and enthusiastic community, San Francisco is truly one of the best bicycle cities in America.


One Response to “ThinkBike San Francisco Rolls Out Ideas”

  1. Josh Lota October 14, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

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