May 9, 2012

Oh How Far We've Come

This map I produced for the SF Bicycle Coalition shows the amazing progress we've made in just the past few years towards building out San Francisco's bicycle network. Click to enlarge.

Happy Bike to Work Day everyone! I hope you're all out on two wheels today enjoying this beautiful weather and the company of thousands of people riding their bikes together. If you take a look around this morning, you might just trick yourself into believing you're peddling through Amsterdam or Copenhagen for a moment or two – data from the SFMTA shows that bicycles made up about 75% of all traffic on Market Street on Bike to Work Day last year. We expect to break that record this year. Market Street, after all, is said to be the busiest bicycling street west of the Mississippi!

I helped produce the map above, which shows the development of SF's bicycle network over the past three years. It's really amazing to see the lines start to connect up. What was once a very disconnected network of narrow bike lanes and a few paths is now starting to resemble something much more comfortable, continuous, and useful. There are especially a lot of new connections in the eastern half of the city. Just look at how the new lanes on Townsend, Division, Potrero, and 17th St link up. And on the west side of town, fresh bike lanes on 7th Ave, Laguna Honda, Portola, Claremont, and Clipper have finally brought much-needed facilities to a part of town previously devoid of bicycle goodness.

Regrettably, this map also shows that we have a long way to go to fully connect our city – our bike network is still quite bleak north of Market Street and in the City's northwest and southeast neighborhoods. The current Bike Plan won't do too much to change this, so clearly we have our work cut out for us in the years to come. But we should still feel quite proud of our city's rapid progress over the past few years. There are a lot of green lines on that map! One day soon I'll post another map of the remaining bikeways coming as part of the Bike Plan, as well as others which have been proposed. An inverse of this map might also be informative – showing those portions of the bicycle network which have no facilities whatsoever. After all, connectivity is key for achieving "8-80" status.

But alas, there's always tomorrow to continue pushing for making bicycling better in San Francisco. Today, we celebrate! Have a splendid Bike to Work Day, San Francisco!!

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