The event celebrates and promotes bicycling for transportation, with San Francisco organizing one of the largest Bike to Work Day events in North America.
This year’s Bike to Work Day will showcase a new separated northbound bike lane on Polk Street between Market and Grove streets. Called a “contraflow,” the new bikeway allows people biking to safely travel against vehicle traffic on the one-way corridor. Prior to the makeover, many northbound bicyclists trying to reach Polk Street destinations from Market Street, such as City Hall, travelled on the sidewalks along Polk Street or on busy Van Ness Avenue one block to the west – a challenging ride among traffic, numerous bus routes and active loading zones.
“Every year, we see an increase in people using bicycles as their primary mode of transportation in San Francisco because we’re making it easier, and more safe and convenient to get around the city by bike,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “With innovative bikeways like the new contraflow bike lane on lower Polk Street, we continue to improve and enhance our City’s bike network. But in order to do even more to make our streets safe, we must invest in our aging transportation infrastructure.”
“Better bikeways in San Francisco help people get to where they need to go, whether it’s to the office, grocery store, daycare or date night,” said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “By constantly improving the experience for people who bike, we are moving closer towards a San Francisco where even more people see riding a bike not just as a fun activity, but as an inviting and practical way to get around.”
This year’s Bike to Work Day will have 11 different commuter convoys from around the city organized by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and funded in part by the SFMTA. SFMTA senior management and other staff will join in the convoys, which will be led by district supervisors and other special guests in a leisurely ride suitable for all fitness levels. Commuter convoys will assemble and depart for downtown at 7:45 a.m. on Bike to Work Day – May 8, and will converge at city hall to join Lee for the 8:30 a.m. press conference on the steps facing civic center plaza.
A key element supporting the increase in bicycling in San Francisco is the SFMTA’s continued work to enhance the bicycling experience. Since May 2013, the SFMTA has:
- Completed 10 new projects which enhanced or created 6.3 new miles of bike facilities, bringing San Francisco’s bike network to a total of 218 miles
- Implemented a variety of bikeway projects that make riding a bike easier on key San Francisco corridors, such as Folsom Street, Cesar Chavez Street, Bayshore Boulevard, the Great Highway and Point Lobos Avenue, and Sloat Boulevard
- Unveiled a contraflow bikeway on Polk Street with features for all road users, creating a key connection between the business corridors of Polk and Market
- Observed a 96 percent growth in bicycle ridership since 2006 at the same, overlapping 21 intersections in the city as part of the SFMTA’s 2013 Bicycle Count Report
- Launched Bay Area Bike Share, bringing 350 bikes and 35 stations to San Francisco as part of a Bay Area regional roll-out of 500 bikes and 50 stations
- Added 772 new bike parking spaces in 256 sidewalk bike racks and 130 bike racks in 21 on-street bike corrals. In total, there are now 8,620 bike parking spaces citywide to accommodate high demand for bike parking
- Installed 32 electronic bike parking lockers at three SFMTA garages to better meet demand for secure and available long term bike parking
- Implemented a “crossbike” and “bike boxes” at the intersection of Market Street, Duboce Avenue and Buchanan Street to provide clear and dedicated space for bicyclists to travel to and from Market Street to the Duboce Bikeway, which connects to the popular Wiggle bike route
- Retimed signals on corridors like Folsom, Fulton and North Point streets to create “green waves” which allowing bicyclists traveling at a moderate pace to encounter only green traffic signals
- Installed the largest on-street bike parking corral in the US (108 feet long with 54 bike parking spaces), working with Mission Cliffs rock climbing gym at 19th and Harrison streets
- Been recognized by the Alliance for Biking and Walking in a national Benchmarking Report that found that San Francisco has more miles of bike infrastructure per square mile than any other large city in the county, with 7.8 miles of lanes, paths and routes per square mile.
“Bike to Work Day grows every year for one simple reason: more people are using their bike as another way to get where they need to go,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation. “From the platoon of professionals riding into work on Market Street to the parents on cargo bikes you see running errands, riding a bike has turned into a commonplace event and we need to continue to support today’s increasing demand for better bikeways as well as prepare for future growth.”
"When you look out onto San Francisco streets, it's clear that there has never been a better time to invest in bicycling," says Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “Every day, bicycling offers opportunities for affordable, healthy, and fun ways to move around our city for more and more people. Every dollar the city invests in new bikeways connects people with jobs, school, and entertainment in a way that lessens congestion on our streets and opens up more space for those who need transit. San Francisco has certainly come a long way in the past 20 years to become a good bicycling city, and we're on our way to becoming a great bicycling city."
On May 6, Mayor Lee, San Francisco Public Works and the SFMTA announced a series of community meetings and a new website to inform San Franciscans about a strategic infrastructure investment program proposed for the November 2014 general election ballot. If passed, the three proposed ballot measures would significantly improve San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure by investing in better roads, improved transit and safer streets citywide.
In May and June, Public Works and SFMTA will co-host community meetings for each Board of Supervisors district, with the supervisors in attendance. The meetings will be open house format and will include a presentation and plenty of time for community members to give feedback and ask questions.