Long lines cause headache for cyclists

A messy triangulation — gas prices, traffic and bicyclists — takes place at the intersection of Divisadero and Fell streets, where drivers line up for cheap gas and block the bike lane along Fell.

With both the bike lane and portions of the left lane clogged, bicyclists and cars are forced to merge into traffic, creating a potentially dangerous situation for any commuter.

Solutions to the problem, such as reworking the traffic flow into and through the station as well as perhaps eliminating some parking along Fell, are expected to be discussed at a community meeting later this month about improvements along the Divisadero corridor.

At the troublesome corner, an Arco gas station offers some of the cheapest gas in The City — $2.93 a gallon. Across Divisadero, the 76 station sells a gallon of gas for $3.29.

Drivers flock to the Arco, but the station has begun posting signs at its Fell Street entrance asking drivers not to block the driveway or street.

“If you have people that are after that cheap gas they’re just going to drift out into the street,” said Andy Thornley, program director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

The City has $3 million to make improvements along Divisadero, between Haight and Geary streets, which include landscaping as well as new pedestrian and traffic amenities.

Fell and Oak streets are major throughways for commuters seeking to cross town toward Golden Gate Park or Octavia Street. Peak driving time in the afternoon can create driving chaos on Fell as residents return home to The City after work.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi called the “lack of enforcement” of the blockage “unacceptable” and urged the Department of Parking and Traffic and San Francisco police to act on the problem before something tragic occurs.

“I believe The City has been too passive in allowing what I think is a major hazard waiting to happen,” Mirkarimi said.

The corridor project — supported by the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Department of Public Works and the Municipal Transportation Agency — is looking at potential on-street changes, according to Muni.

Some of the changes include lining up cars along the curb as The City has done with the Trader Joe’s on Masonic, which had a similar problem of cars lining up to get into the small parking lot there.

In the meantime, double-parking and blocking traffic is a “citywide problem,” Muni spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said, that everyone is trying to solve. “We’re certainly working to get [parking enforcement officers] deployed where we need them,” Lynch said.

The community meeting for the Divisadero project will take place Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Ida B. Wells school.

“We’re hopeful that the community planning process under way for the Divisadero Street corridor can develop a solution to this serious public-safety problem,” Thornley said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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