Polk Street bike lane among nation’s best


San Francisco’s contra-flow bicycle lane on Polk Street is getting recognized as one of America’s Top 10 Bike Lanes of 2014.

The national bike advocacy group, PeopleForBikes, gave the contra-flow bike lane on Polk Street top honors this year. The list also includes bike lanes from Honolulu (King Street), Seattle (2nd Avenue) and Memphis (Riverside Drive).

The group said on its blog that despite taking 15 years to see the project finally come through, they:

“… expect this demo to prove that greatness is contagious.”

The Polk Street bike lane, which opened to bicyclists in May, allows bicyclists to ride against one-way traffic in a protected bike lane, which starts on Market and Polk streets to Grove Street.

The project was collaboration between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Department of Public Works.

Ed Reiskin, director of transportation, said in a statement that these types of streetscape projects show that city’s commitment to keeping the roads safe:

“Coordinated efforts like these can also bring much larger benefits to our neighborhoods, from new lighting and new sewer infrastructure, to more beautiful landscaping.”

The SFMTA said that before the contra-flow bicycle lane existed, bicyclists would have to travel on the sidewalk on Polk Street or have to use often congested Van Ness Avenue to get to destinations like City Hall.

Bicyclists will now have an easier time to getting to places like City Hall and the Civic Center Plaza, the transit agency said.

The Polk Street contra-flow bike lane was funded through a 2011 voter-approved $248 million bond measure.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay and covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Follow Jerold on Twitter @jerold_chinn. Email tips to

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