SFMTA Board May Approve 17th St. Protected Bikeways Next Week

SFMTA Board May Approve 17th St. Protected Bikeways Next Week
Tracks crossing 17th Street near Church Street. | Photo: Google
By Carrie Sisto - Published on November 02, 2017.

The SFMTA’s Board of Directors will be asked to grant final approval next week for plans to install protected bikeways along both sides of 17th Street between Sanchez and Church streets.

Agency staff have finalized their proposed plan, which includes removing parking along the block to install one-way protected bikeways in each direction.

The Board of Directors will consider the staff proposal at its meeting on November 7th, and their nod would give the project the last approval needed to move forward.

SFMTA staff will present this proposal to the Board on November 7th | Image: SFMTA

As we previously reported, residents had a chance to comment on the different alternatives SFMTA was considering over the past year, including at two public meetings over the summer.

People advocating for the change claim the area is dangerous for bicyclists because turning cars often block the bike lane, and bikers who swerve to avoid cars can crash when they hit Muni tracks that crisscross the roadway. Protected bikeways would prevent cars from entering the bicyclists’ line of travel.

Image: SFMTA

The chosen project design will remove 26 parking spots on the north side of 17th Street and 19 spaces on the south side. Alternative designs would have preserved more parking, but were deemed to be economically or logistically unfeasible, according to SFMTA

Project costs haven’t been finalized, but are estimated to be less than $100,000, according to SFMTA staff, and can likely be covered from the ‘Bike Spot Improvement’ funds set aside in the Capital Improvement Plan. 

SFMTA worked with agency partners such as the Planning Department, which determined that the project is exempt from state environmental review requirements, and Public Works, which helped in the design process. 

If the board approves the staff proposal on Tuesday, SFMTA will work with its staff and Public Works to develop the construction schedule, senior planner Mike Sallaberry told us. 

Photo: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

The transportation agency also continues to work with Public Works staff to determine what pedestrian improvements could be implemented at 17th and Church streets to ease crossings, particularly for people in wheelchairs, and give bicyclists more room to cross westbound.

This would likely require an upgrade to the traffic signal, and given the presence of Muni tracks, could take more than three years to design and implement, said SFMTA staff.