The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Great Highway and Point Lobos Avenue Bicycle Lanes Project was approved in 2009, one of 60 proposed Bicycle Plan projects throughout the city.
With San Francisco’s Great Highway scheduled to soon be repaved, an extended bike lane project is set to finally take shape, adding a raised landscaped median and Class II bike lanes on the Great Highway between Lincoln Way and Balboa Street:


Twenty-nine feet will be generally available on either side of the median for travel and bicycle lanes. Within the 29-foot width, two narrower travel lanes, one 10-foot and one 11-foot (existing travel lanes are 12-foot and 16-foot in each direction), a 2-foot painted buffer area, and a 6-foot Class II bicycle lane (a lane striped with the paved areas of roadways, and established for the preferential use of bicycles) will be built. In areas where 29 feet are not available, no buffer area is proposed. The revised project would add a northbound bike lane from Lincoln Way to Fulton Street and would connect to the existing bike facility on Great Highway that runs from Lincoln Way to Sloat Boulevard.
Great%20Highway%20Bike%20Lane%20Project%20Map.jpg
The Modified Project will provide a Class II bicycle lane on Great Highway and Point Lobos Avenue, in the northbound and eastbound directions from Fulton Street to 48th Avenue, by removing one travel lane in each direction on Point Lobos Avenue and Great Highway from 48th Avenue to Balboa Street.
The Project will provide a Class II bicycle lane on Point Lobos Avenue in the westbound direction from El Camino Del Mar to approximately 725 feet westerly at the entrance to Sutro Heights parking lot and a Class II bicycle lane on Great Highway in the southbound direction from approximately 575 feet north of Balboa Street at the entrance to the parking lot on the west side of the street from which a Class II bicycle lane would be extended to Balboa Street. The Project will also provide a shared Class III bicycle route on Balboa Street between Great Highway and La Playa Street, and on La Playa Street between Balboa and Cabrillo.
As part of the Project, approximately 10 on-street parking spaces would be removed on the north side of Point Lobos Avenue, from the 48th Avenue intersection westward. The removal would provide space for a new southbound right-turn only lane into a new parking lot proposed by the National Park Service. The existing parking lot located on the north side of Point Lobos Avenue would be expanded and relocated eastward by approximately 200 feet to accommodate approximately 135 parking spaces.
Great Highway and Point Lobos Avenue Bicycle Lanes Modification [sf-planning.org]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Cath

    I just hope that they fix the drainage problem on NB Great Hwy between Lincoln and the Beach Chalet, or the bikes and cars will all end up driving in the newly built median every time it rains.

  2. Posted by jaybee

    Between the flooding, the sand blowing on the road and the lack of lighting at night, this feels like an accident waiting to happen.

  3. Posted by jeff

    Minimal lighting please. The night sky views in this area allow city dwellers to actually view the stars at night.
    The bike path from Santa Monica down to Redondo Beach in Los Angeles shows that this could be popular, since that Southern California route may be the busiest bike path outside of Amsterdam.

  4. Posted by JenofLA

    The bike path from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach is right on the beach winding through sand. It’s beautiful and fun. It’s adjacent to pedestrian walkway but rarely next to car traffic at all. For this project, it is accurately described as a bike lane, not a bike path. There will be lights because it’s on traffic roads. And there will be accidents because bikes will be right next to cars.
    But better than nothing.

  5. Posted by anon

    Why can’t we have the bike path on the sand the way JenoLA mentions? The bike path along the sand near the ocean in Los Angeles is amazing, especially the amount of riders that use it for fun. The same is true in Chicago where the Lake Shore bike path is in a completely seperate area from auto traffic and is packed on weekends. I sometimes wonder if this is not all political as bike coalition advocates want to make sure they get their “piece of the road” vs being in a seperate route.

  6. Posted by lol

    A great addition. Right now the winding descent is really fun but iffy safety-wise. Fast riders doing 30+MPH take up one full lane anyway to avoid risking hitting parked cars backing up from the Cliff House curb parking. Making it official and secure is good in a big way.
    On the descent segment, I predict the faster road bikes will be in conflict with the slower ones and will keep using the car lane like they do around Crissy Field and the Marina on WEs.
    On the straight section that will be a big improvement. Right now you have to hug the tiny shoulder, quickly merging into the car lane whenever there’s sand or an overgrown bush. This usually happens at every crossing.
    Will the traffic lights be synchronized for cyclists? If they are, 20 to 25MPH would be optimal because the flat part is the stretch where you can do some decent cardio.

  7. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Why can’t we have the bike path on the sand the way JenoLA mentions?”
    My guess is that this part of Ocean Beach is below the seawall and subject to periodic high seas during storms. It would be a maintenance problem.
    “I sometimes wonder if this is not all political as bike coalition advocates want to make sure they get their “piece of the road” vs being in a seperate route.”
    Not to my knowledge. The current winds are blowing towards physically separated bike paths as you suggest. However those are not feasible in most situations, usually because there’s no space or there are too many curb cuts. Or like here Ma Nature is too formidable.

  8. Posted by spencer

    how will they find room on the point lobos descent by the cliff house? there is barely enough room for cars now. I cycle here a lot now and always descend in the left lane to avoid tourists pulling out of cliff house.
    Are there bike accidents on this strip by ocean beach. I’ve always found if easy to navigate on a bike and never had concerns about cars here. there is also a bike line on the right side after the descent. Why is this spot a priority?

  9. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Why is this spot a priority?”
    Heh! I often ask that about how bike projects get scheduled and funded. It turns out that bike projects (and probably politically funded projects in general) aren’t always funded in a pragmatic way.
    Generally cost and need do factor in but what really gets a project going is when a local politician champions it. And that often requires neighborhood buy-in as well. I’ve seen millions blown on a project with marginal value that could have been used to fund several much more useful projects in places that have no local elected champions.
    But as to the true priority, I’d guess that this route receives a fair amount of long distance leisure bikers traveling up and down the coast along the PCH. It really isn’t very useful for city residents for commuting.
    (And bonus points to the editor for knowing what a “class II” bike route is :-)

  10. Posted by spencer

    good point about leisure cyclists. But since this won’t help relieve congestion or make it safer for SF cyclists, it seems like a waste, compared to other places they could do this

  11. Posted by spencer

    If they are going to focus on leisure riders, how about repaving the shitty roads in golden gate park so they are more friendly for cyclists.?

  12. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Spencer – I think that GGP is a separate jurisdiction. Oy! Don’t get me started on cross jurisdictional foulups.
    BTW, I really don’t know whether the focus is on leisure riders, just guessing.
    And another class of projects that seems to get to the head of the queue are those of opportunity. For example if an entire roadway is being redesigned and rebuilt, that’s a cost effective time to include better bike and pedestrian amenities. That seems like a good idea all around.

  13. Posted by curmudgeon

    Re: Priorities: As someone who works in this sphere (but not on this project specifically), I can tell you that Bike improvements are often funded as a part of larger repaving projects. Obviously, striping to create a bike lane is not an expensive proposition….but doing a comprehensive paving project to make it safe for both bikes and cars IS…and it makes sense to do everything at one time. So bike improvements often tend to piggy-back larger paving projects, and may therefore seem to be haphazard and disjointed.
    However, all improvements will be done according to the approved Bike Plan for the City, so it’s not like anything ISN’T a priority…it just might not seem like the most important priority. But bike planners sometimes need to be somewhat oppurtunistic to get improvements in place.
    Also, I should mention that any funding flowing through MTC (mostly federal STP/CMAQ funds for paving) now require funds to be applied according to “Complete Streets” standards…meaning that any funded improvements should consider ALL modes and make appropriate improvements. So if you’re going to fund a repaving project, and the street is on your Bike Plan, then you HAVE to incorporate the bike elements. Same for ped improvements. This is a good thing…not something that SF probably needs much instigation to implement, but some suburban municipalities are not as good at taking bikes and peds into account as a part of capital projects.

  14. Posted by Michael

    This article reminds me that the surface of the multi-use lane from Linclon to Sloat has become badly deteriorated. The asphalt is almost gone, leaving lots of embedded rocks to ride on. I’ve started to use 44th Avenue to avoid the bumpy ride. Does anyone know if the path is going to be re-surfaced anytime soon?

  15. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “… but some suburban municipalities are not as good at taking bikes and peds into account as a part of capital projects”
    Well that is an understatement. I’ve seen quite a few sneaky stunts. The most common of which is ignoring input and requests about a project’s details and then apologizing for “forgetting” to implement routine accommodation at about the time the the concrete cures. The routine accommodation regulations need real teeth like the ADA laws have.
    Oh, and add Caltrans D4 to the list of offenders.
    Relative to its neighbors, SF has it pretty good. Mostly because there’s strong advocacy (both inside and outside of city hall) to keep on top of SFMTA’s projects and partially because Caltrans doesn’t control many intersections.

  16. Posted by 4oceans

    I live in the area. It is really difficult, with the maps and narrative provided, to determine what is proposed and what will result from this development. It sure would be nice if the project description and maps were more clear.
    Meanwhile, I just rec’d the repaving plan from SF and it appears they intend to do closures and partial closures of the lower Great Hwy from Jan. 15 until… Sept. 30, 2013 — REALLY? It is going to take them 9 mons. to pave a road??? Insane. Given that, the little raised bike path may take years. Moreover, the bike path is in the coastal zone and that area of GG Park is on the Fed. Register for historic places. It will probably be appealed to the coastal commission and given SF’s poor track record for protecting coastal resources …. it is likely to be significantly modified.

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