December 3, 2012

San Francisco unveils first 'bicycle bay'

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages all surface transportation in the city, announced the installation of the first “Bicycle Bay” in San Francisco to help bicyclists make a safer left turn from westbound Market Street to southbound Valencia Street. Bicyclists making this turn will no longer have to cross two lanes of car traffic and streetcar tracks to make this popular turn.

The bicycle bay (also known as a “jughandle,” given its shape) is the first of its kind in San Francisco. The bay allows bicyclists to stay safely in the bike lane to make a left turn. This is done by having a two-lane bikeway with a through bicycle lane on the left and an exit lane that leads into the bike bay on the right side of the through lane. Bicyclists then stop at a designated area in the bike bay and wait for the bicycle left turn signal to turn green so that they can complete the left turn.

New signage on the approach to the bicycle bay will help bicyclists navigate the area. This project is part of the current City Bicycle Plan.

“Biking has grown 71 percent since 2006. We continue to build upon being the top bike friendly city in the country by ensuring safety, comfort and ease for riders, pedestrians and drivers alike. The new’ jughandle’ will provide easier access for crossing Market Street by bikers. Improvements like this will encourage present riders and new riders,” said SFMTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan.

In other major bicycling cities, these bays have been shown to increase safety for bicyclists making left turns from one busy street to another. The SFMTA has adopted goals through its Strategic Plan to increase transit, walking and ridesharing trips and envisions bicycling trips rising two to three fold in the near future.

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