Mar 17, 2012

Cargo Way Cycle Track Coming Soon

While we patiently wait (now halfway into March) for the completion of the JFK cycle track, there's another separated bikeway quietly under construction on the other side of town. The Port of San Francisco, SFMTA, and SFDPW are joining forces on a project to install a bidirectional cycle track on Cargo Way. When completed hopefully later this month, the bikeway will extend a little over half a mile on Cargo Way from Illinois St (Bike Route 5) to Jennings St, which is then just a quick jump over to Evans. Part of the SF Bay Trail and a new addition to SF's Bicycle Route Network, the bikeway will provide a vital link to the India Basin, Hunters Point, and Bayview communities, as well as the lovely Heron's Head Park.

Another nearly-complete link on the San Francisco Bay Trail!

The project limits and surrounding bicycle and Bay Trail network. Source: SFCTA, StreetsblogSF

This project is particularly exciting because it contains several new bikeway design features for San Francisco. The cycle track will be bidirectional with both directions of bicycle traffic traveling together (think: Duboce Bikeway). Additionally, the bikeway will be separated from motorized traffic by jersey barriers a curb (about as tall as the metal cuffs) and fencing instead of the soft-hit posts the City has been using thus far. Both of these design features are to maximize safety as this street carries heavy truck traffic through a partially industrial area.

The City is also earning good karma and setting valuable precedent by repaving various portions of the heavily-potholed roadway beforehand. I'm looking at you Cesar Chavez East!!

Check out the construction photos after the break.

This gentleman feels right at home even though the bikeway is still under construction. He's off to fish; I hope he catches a big one!

Trucks serving a large USPS mail facility, Recology's Recycle Central, Bay Natives, and other businesses rumble along the street. It's pretty clear soft-hit posts would not provide sufficient separation.

And here's how the jersey barriers curb and fencing are secured into the ground. It's going to take a pretty large impact to move these dividers!

This isn't your typical patch pave job – crews actually grinded away poor pavement and repaved with real asphalt.

My initial impression upon my visit last weekend was that this is actually a very pretty street. There are lots of mature Eucalyptus trees (more greenery than on most SF streets), the sky reflects the blueish-green color of the Bay, and (at least on weekends) it's a surprisingly quiet and peaceful part of town. I encourage everyone to take a ride over to Heron's Head Park and India Basin when this is completed – you won't be disappointed!

Lots of beautiful mature trees and a clear fog-free blue sky.

The big story here, though, is the deplorable conditions of the sidewalks. The first block from 3rd St looks like this – lots of debris (including sharp glass), overgrown trees low-hanging tree branches, and the sidewalk has buckled in several places from root growth. To make matters worse, there is no sidewalk on the other side of the street.

The SF Redevelopment Agency and the Port together completed a Conceptual Design Study for Cargo Way back in May 2008 detailing streetscape improvements that could be implemented on the street in the long-term. I'm excited to see this cycle track come in later this month, but I encourage those interested to advocate heavily for what's included in this design study. I would especially like to see walking conditions improved on Cargo Way. And this plan does not stand alone. The SF Planning Department's recently-initiated Green Connections project also has its sights set on improving this corridor, so now all we need is some strong community support!

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