Market Street is the Highway 101 for bicyclists in San Francisco, but faced with bicycle lanes that suddenly disappear and major potholes, as well as heavy traffic competition, a commute can often leave riders frazzled or worse.
Now, the Board of Supervisors and city officials are taking action to make The City’s busiest bicycle route a little more bike-friendly. Supervisors unanimously approved on Tuesday adding a new sections of bike lane on westbound Market Street from Van Ness Avenue to Octavia Boulevard and eastbound from Gough to 12th Street.
"It will be a more or less continuous bike lane from Eighth to Castro Street," said Andy Thornley, program director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "That’s an important thing. The big idea from our end is that our bike lanes are a network. If you have eight blocks of bike lanes and then nothing, there’s no continuity. Imagine if Muni operated that way."
Thornley also said that stretch of Market Street is also a dicey stretch for bike riders. Recently, he said the coalition videotaped several near-misses between cars and bicycles in the area.
But while bicyclists are applauding the new lanes, local shops are worried they might take a bite out of business because The City is eliminating about 30 spaces on Market Street to accommodate the lanes.
"My clients are always saying there is no parking in the area," said Bob DeTulio, general manager for DeLessio Market and Bakery. "A lot of small businesses around here lose 10 to 20 percent of their business and they will close their doors."
DeTulio said he believes less traffic in the area could lead to greater blight. Another merchant, Christopher Albanese, said he felt "railroaded" because they had only a month’s notice to weigh in on the changes.
To make up for the loss of parking, The City is planning to add a handful of parking spaces on Market, 12th and Brady streets as well as add meters to unmetered spots in the area.
In addition to the new bike lanes, city crews will resurface Market Street below Eighth Street and paint new chevrons on the street reminding drivers to share the road with bikes ahead of next month’s Bike to Work Day.