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Thursday, November 19, 2009

iBike -- New App Helps Users Write City's Bike Routes

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge 2009_peewee.jpg
As San Francisco breathlessly awaits the day when Judge Peter J. Busch lifts the court  injunction that has prevented the city from installing amenities for cyclists, news pops up that two-wheeled San Franciscans' lives are improving, despite the ban on bike lanes.

The judge had asked for arguments by Nov. 12 on whether he should lift the ban conditionally. A decision is expected any day now.

The San Francisco Transportation Authority has introduced a new iPhone app, CycleTracks, that lets users inform the agency how they get about the city day to day -- information that will make its way into designing San Francisco's evolving bike network. According to the TA (no, not that T&A, you perv) Web site:

CycleTracks uses your iPhone's GPS support to record your bicycle

trips, display maps of your rides, and help transportation planners

make San Francisco a better place to bike. At the end of each trip,

data representing your trip purpose, route, and the date and time are

sent to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (all data

will be kept confidential). By using CycleTracks, you'll be helping

San Francisco's transportation planners better understand the needs of

cyclists--and you'll get to see maps and statistics of your rides.

Imagine, a city bicycle network that follows your every move!

Meanwhile, on San Francisco's premier boulevard, a two-month old trial continues in which cars have been diverted off the northern end of Market Street, expediting bus trips and making bicycling safer. According to Streetsblog, the measure has been  rousing success.

"Muni is running faster, and bicyclists now make up even more of the street's traffic," the wonderful transportation-focused publication reported:

"In a presentation to the agency's board ... MTA chief of staff Debra Johnson said that bicycles now make up 75 percent of the morning peak traffic on eastbound Market approaching 6th Street, compared to 60 percent before the trail traffic diversions, an even greater mode share than Streetsblog originally reported. Muni vehicles saved an average of 50 seconds on eastbound Market during the morning peak and midday compared to before the trial.

Based on manual counts, Johnson said average hourly traffic volume on eastbound Market Street, east of 8th Street, declined by approximately 130 vehicles per hour, or 54 percent. On eastbound Market Street approaching Montgomery Street, the decline was much less, at approximately five percent."

The Snitch can report firsthand that the calmer, quieter Northern Market Street is an urban wonder. Buses hiss and groan swiftly along, and their drivers act as if they were cognizant that bicyclists aren't to be considered interlopers on this street. Bus drivers seem less willing  to gun their motor to race and cut you off at the next stop sign -- as they do in the rest of the city.

Imagine what will happen when this downtown bit of automotive education spreads to the rest of the city with the lifting of the bike injunction.

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Matt Smith


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