By Leif Haven : sfweekly – excerpt
Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors officially adopted the NACTO guidelines with as much glee as if they they were taking home the cutest puppy from the humane society.
Never mind the cute puppy, what the hell are NACTO guidelines, you ask, and why are we adopting them?
NACTO, or the National Association of City Transportation Officials, is exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of people who think that they can tell us how to make cities better …and surprise: the NACTO Designing Cities Conference, is happening October 22-25, so the PR timing couldn’t have been better…
There are two relevant aspects to these new guidelines — the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide and the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide. They overlap a bit, but the goal of both is to plan streets that are “safe, sustainable, resilient, multi-modal, and economically beneficial, all while accommodating traffic.”
That’s a tall order, especially in bike-friendly, car-friendly and pedestrian-friendly San Francisco…
Lane Width: NACTO recommends a lane width of 10 feet. Lanes in San Francisco range from around 8 feet to around 13 feet. Wide lanes promote speeding, believe it or not, but narrow lanes do not decrease flow or capacity according to NACTO, so narrower lanes are actually better.
Bike Lanes: NACTO says that bike lanes should be at least 6 feet wide, and whenever possible wide enough for two cyclists to ride side-by-side. They also believe things like bicycle safe gutters and grates (thank God) and no parking signs will discourage cyclists from parking in bike lanes… (more)
At least bring back the 10 feet minimum lanes. Remember there are wide buses, truck and shuttles that must use the streets as well as cars. If you want bike lanes, wider sidewalks might not be the solution.
You can get wider lanes by eliminating the costly, unnecessary, and often dangerous trees down the middle of the road that create the worst blind zones and make maneuvering wide buses and emergency vehicles really difficult. See some photos here.
REALATED: Hell on two wheels: My sister actually got hit by a bicycle rider [“What the Hell Are These New Bike Guidelines San Francisco Adopted?” Leif Haven, The Snitch, 10/10]. He messed up her car, and knocked himself out. Cyclists should be required to have insurance and license plates too!… (more)