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Release date: 4/2/10

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni) and all surface transportation in San Francisco, announced today that as part of its ongoing effort to improve the safety, comfort and convenience of bicycling in San Francisco, it has expanded the buffered bikeway project on Market Street to include four additional blocks along this popular bike route.

“Bicycling in San Francisco is becoming safer and easier,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “Improvements such as these safe-hit posts encourage more San Franciscans to join their fellow bicyclists on our streets.”

“Market Street is one of San Francisco’s key arterial streets,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “Making it safer and more inviting to bicyclists helps to open up our City to this sustainable mode.”

Traffic channelizers, or flexible plastic “safe-hit” posts, have been installed between the travel lane and bike lane on select portions of Market Street between Gough Street and 8th Street to prevent cars and trucks from blocking the bike lane and to make cyclists feel more comfortable.

Market Street experiences some of the highest volumes of cyclists in the City. The SFMTA’s annual bicycle counts have documented that at the intersection of 11th and Market streets the volume of cyclists commuting in the evenings has increased by 48 percent between 2006 and 2009, 545 cyclists in 2006 and 808 cyclists in 2009.

The safe-hit post pilot project was begun in December 2009 when the SFMTA installed traffic channelizers as a buffer between the bike lane and travel lane on westbound Market Street between Larkin Street and Polk Street. This buffered bikeway experiment is part of a series of pilot projects along Market Street aimed at improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

The main purpose of the buffered bikeway on Market Street is to prevent cars and trucks from traveling or stopping in the established bike lanes and to improve conditions for cyclists of all abilities. The posts will increase the attractiveness of cycling as a mode of transportation to those who may be less confident of mixing with cars as well as more experienced bicyclists. Ample evidence exists that people feel more comfortable riding in a bikeway that employs a physical buffer to separate cars from bikes. The SFMTA’s 2008 San Francisco State of Cycling Report showed that 79 percent of infrequent cyclists and 71 percent of frequent cyclists were not comfortable biking with cars as a barrier to cycling. The SFMTA therefore seeks to induce more people to bicycle and provide a more comfortable cycling experience by providing bicycle facilities that are segregated from motor vehicle traffic.

This buffered bikeway project is one of a number of bicycle facility improvements that the SFMTA has implemented since December 2009. The other improvements include completing nine bike lane projects, painting shared roadway markings (“sharrows”) along nine miles of streets, the installation of roughly 200 bike racks on city sidewalks and the completion of California’s first green colored bike box. The nine bike lane projects completed since December 2009 include segments of Kansas Street, Mississippi Street, Beale Street, Clarendon Avenue, 7th Avenue, Otis Street, Scott Street, Howard Street and Clipper Street totaling five miles of new bike lanes.

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