Following the opening session two teams consisting of San Francisco transportation planners, advocates, community members, representatives from SFPD and other city departments and the Dutch transportation specialists will survey three study areas and discuss how streets, intersections and neighborhoods can be improved for optimal bike use. The following day, the teams will present their recommendations at the closing session. Other topics of discussion will include bike safety, commuting by bike, biking to school, bike parking, bikes and public transport, and law enforcement.
ThinkBike Study Areas
The three targeted study areas, Market Street between 9th and 5th streets; Polk Street between Broadway and Union Street; and "The Wiggle" route between Scott and Fell streets and Church and Duboce streets were chosen because of particular features that present design challenges.
The selected section of Market Street is part of a bike route but lacks designated bike lanes due to the constrained right-of-way. While overall non-transit vehicular traffic volumes are relatively low on Market Street, the cross streets, which intersect it at various angles, carry a great deal of traffic as they connect commercial and employment centers to the freeways.
The northern section of Polk Street is a busy neighborhood commercial corridor with only one lane of traffic in each direction and parking on both sides of the street. This study will seek to determine if a separated bicycle facility would be possible that will not be blocked by double-parked vehicles, delivery vehicles or conflict with pedestrians.
This mile-long route winds through residential and commercial neighborhoods to minimize hilly inclines for bicyclists. It was selected because, while it is wildly popular with bicyclists and makes a great connection from the west side of town to downtown, there is a desire to reduce cut-through vehicle traffic, improve traffic control and turns for bicyclists and increase bicyclists yielding to pedestrians.
The ThinkBike workshops represent an opportunity to bring a fresh approach to the San Francisco bicycling infrastructure and further the primary goal of the city's Bike Plan, expanding the bicycle network. As a key component of the city's Transit First policy as well as the city's Climate Action Plan, increasing bicycling will reduce San Francisco's reliance on private automobiles and further the city's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2012. Redesigning streets along the bicycle route network so that they are more inviting to bicyclists will be one of the key ways that San Francisco can attract more people to ride bicycles for their everyday transportation needs. Improved streets and pathways, coupled with high-quality bicycle parking, along with a continued focus on education, encouragement and enforcement, will help San Francisco become a world-class city for bicycling.
The Netherlands is a country committed to sustainability, where nearly 30 percent of trips up to five miles in distance are made by bike. A strong bike policy is integral to Dutch sustainability measures. Through a multi-city initiative, Dutch experts and companies are helping to increase bicycle use in the United States and Canada. ThinkBike workshops have also been held in Toronto, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Miami.
The SFMTA's bicycle program does much more than create bike lanes. The program supports bicycle education for adults and youth, installs bike racks at popular destinations and central locations, identifies locations for better signs, improves off-street trails, and provides outreach—including safety gear and information (such as maps)—to encourage safe and courteous bicycling.
As part of the SFMTA's balanced approach to transportation in San Francisco, the bicycle program, which oversees the Bicycle Plan, ensures education and safety for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. More information on the San Francisco Bicycle Plan, including specific projects, can be found at www.sfmta.com/bikes.