I just spent a few days in the Bay Area, riding and informally cataloguing bicycle facilities in San Francisco, Sausalito, Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland. It was really an exhilarating experience–and not merely because I love San Francisco (which I have explored numerous times on foot), but because riding there has become very, very easy.
Except in SoMA, which is a lot like the more crowded parts of LA, but with even more infantile drivers. But bike lanes, racks, and sharrows are creeping even into South of Market, and the rest of the city has put in some very good bicycle facilities in the year or so since the mindless NIMBY injunction against its bike plan was thrown out by a judge.
It has worked: San Francisco streets are full of cyclists, lots of cyclists, lots of commuting and shopping and visiting cyclists who are riding because the bicycle is not only a quick but a pleasureable way to get around town.
One important thing that all the Bay Area cities I visited (except tiny Sausalito) have done is put in wayfinding signs.
This has been wonderful for newbies trying to find their way about town on bikeways and bicycle boulevards, which are often different from the routes a driver or a transit rider would plot out. I got around fairly well with no map, no GPS, nothing but the signs (though I did get lost once or twice).
But even experienced cyclists will eventually end up in a part of their own city that they don’t know, and the signs are a big help.
So, without further blithering, I’ll give you a few photos of said signs–which I seriously wish Los Angeles would put up too.
Wayfinding sign on Market Street
In the Presidio
The famous Wiggle has its own signs now
Emeryville’s bicycle boulevards are well marked
Oakland also has excellent signage, such as this example along a residential street turned bicycle boulevard
Going beyond wayfinding: traffic control signs in San Francisco acknowledge and protect cyclists
There’s even a bicycle traffic signal in Panhandle Park, San Francisco
And in Los Angeles…nearly nothing. As I’ve noted on this very blog before….