Decision Day For Fell and Oak Bikeways [Update: Approved]

Update 3:38pm: This afternoon, the SFMTA Board voted unanimously (7 to 0) to approve the Oak and Fell Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Project.

Public comment at today's hearing was mixed, but mostly in favor. We counted 27 commenters in favor and 16 opposed. Dissent mostly focused on the fact that the plan would require a significant sacrifice by residents (namely, loss of parking), in favor of bicyclists. Several commenters suggested that bike traffic would be better diverted to Page or Hayes. And at least 4 cab drivers also expressed opposition to the plan, citing the challenge a barricaded bike lane would pose to dropping off and picking up passengers.

Supporters of the plan included reps from neighborhood groups NOPNA, ASNA, and LoHaMNA, the Wigg Party, and Supervisors Mar and Olague. Several bicyclists cited the steepness of Page west of Divisadero as one reason that route wouldn't be a feasible alternative, while others suggested residential parking permits would help address parking concerns. And many of the plan's proponents noted the city's transit-first policy, encouraging the Board to be forward-thinking in their decision.

The Board then peppered SFMTA rep Luis Montoya with questions. One interesting aspect that was clarified: taxis, street sweepers, and other service vehicles will be allowed in the 7-foot-wide bike lanes, as they are being designed with such vehicles in mind. The possibility of a residential parking permit program was also suggested. Finally, a controversial bulb-out on the northwest corner of Oak and Broderick was removed from the plan, at least for now.

Today's vote in favor of the project means that work will get underway soon. Montoya said that separated bikeways could be in place on Oak Street later this month, and on Fell Street this Winter (they'll take longer because they require more complicated traffic signal and striping changes). The sidewalk corner bulb-outs, plantings, and bikeway barriers would be completed by the Spring of 2013.
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Original story below.


Separated bikeways, sidewalk bulbouts, and crosswalk enhancements could be coming to Fell and Oak Streets between Scott and Baker. Or maybe not.

We'll know this afternoon!

That's when the SFMTA Board of Directors will meet to consider the Oak and Fell Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Project.

The project would improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians (and drivers, for that matter) on Oak and Fell by creating separated bike lanes and upgrading lighting, traffic signals, and sidewalks in the area. Roughly 1,500 cyclists are estimated to use the route each day.

Opponents of the plan bemoan its anticipated net loss of 55 parking spaces in the area. It would also mean the elimination of the 21 Hayes bus stops at Scott and Broderick Streets. The SFMTA predicts that the plan won't significantly increase traffic congestion on any of the affected streets.

The SFMTA staff has already recommended approval of the project, and now its fate is in the Board's hands. Today's meeting will take place at City Hall, room 400, at 1pm. It will include a public comment period, so if you have something to say, you might want to swing by.

We'll keep an eye on the meeting and will update with any news.