Quick build bike lanes in San Francisco

The City of San Francisco has adopted the ‘quick build’ method of implementing new cycle routes across the city, writes Michael Andersen from PeopleForBikes over on StreetsBlog USA. Instead of the traditional local government approach of spending a significant amount of time and resources planning and engaging with residents and stakeholders up front, the city has been putting in temporary cycle routes using paint, plastic bollards and removable concrete islands. And they are engaging with citizens before and after implementation to tweak routes and designs if necessary or before deciding whether to make the route permanent or not.

In an article in ITE Journal (Institute of Transportation Engineers), Mike Sallaberry, Senior Engineer for Liveable Streets with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, argues that public authorities are often fearful of investing significant amounts of capital into innovative projects “that may, in the end, not meet safety or operational, or community expectations”.  He sets out the City’s new recipe for quickly delivering projects, which includes:

  • Identifying processes that can be overlapped
  • Strong foundation to start work
  • Supporting policies and directives
  • Intermediate design elements
  • Regular check-ins and meetings
  • Smart public outreach
  • Impermanence of design
  • Effective use of in-house resources for construction
  • Shared goals and hard work

The result is that in 2016-17 three projects which would normally have taken the City between 2-5+ years to deliver were delivered in 10 months at a fraction of the usual cost.

Further Reading:

Sallaberry, M., Delivering impactful projects quickly and effectively (ITE Journal, February 2018)

Andersen, M., Lightning Fast, Dirt Cheap: Five Tips From SF’s Protected Bike Lane Projects (StreetsBlog USA, 27 Feb 2018)

Places for Bikes

Chavez, A., S.F. getting ‘green lanes’ for bikes (SFGate, 31 Oct 2012)


Image credit: Polk Street protected bike lane by Dianne Yee licenced under CC BY-ND 2.0



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s