The SFMTA board yesterday approved plans to extend a parking-protected bikeway down 8th Street in SoMa to give bicyclists a safer route between Market and Townsend streets.
The project approved yesterday is Phase 2 of a plan launched in 2016 when former Mayor Ed Lee issued an executive directive on bicycle and pedestrian safety that included specific targets for near-term improvements on 7th and 8th streets.
The executive directive was intended to speed the city's Vision Zero efforts to reduce fatalities on the most dangerous streets for bikers and walkers.
Phase 1 of the 7th and 8th Street Safety Project added a parking-protected bike lane on 7th Street between Market and Cleveland, and on 8th Street from Market to Harrison. The changes approved today extend that to provide a continuous, parking-protected bike lane on 8th Street from Market to Townsend.
Under Phase 2, one travel lane will be removed from southbound 8th Street between Harrison and Bryant streets and on-street parking will be reconfigured between Harrison and Townsend to become a protective barrier between bikers and vehicle traffic.
Northbound 8th Street between Townsend and Brannan streets, which is currently unmarked for bike travel, will be marked with painted shared-lane markings during this phase of the project. Those sharrows may be enhanced with green paint to make them more visible, according to SFMTA’s staff report on the project.
The route will lose 13 vehicle and 3 motorcycle parking spaces, which will be converted into transit boarding islands, loading zones, and visibility areas at intersections.
The transit boarding islands installed in Phase 1 of the project have improved bus travel time and reliability between Market and Harrison streets, according to data gathered before and after the changes were made.
The transit islands reduce the need for buses to exit and reenter the flow of traffic and reduce the likelihood of bike-bus conflict, according to SFMTA.
Phase 2 of the safety project is anticipated to cost $472,000, with construction starting as early as Spring 2018, according to SFMTA traffic engineer Alan Uy.