When planners were redesigning the Embarcadero in the 1990s, where a quake-damaged double-deck freeway had been torn down and the surface street later transformed into a boulevard, they opted against building a separated path for bicyclists.
Instead, standard bike lanes were chosen and "cyclists who wanted to stay off the street would be permitted to use the promenade," according to a 2009 study conducted for SPUR, the San Francisco Urban Planning and Research Association, which was featured in this Streetsblog San Francisco story.
More than two decades later, the Embarcadero, with its breathtaking views and growing number of attractions, has become a big draw for tourists, locals and workers. And conflicts are increasing on the street and on the promenade between drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The city is also experiencing a population boom.
Now, after a decade of prodding from bike advocates, officials from a number of city agencies agree the time has come to reconfigure the street and build a protected bikeway.
“We’re excited that after many years of discussion, the city is launching an actual planning process that will result in great improvements," said Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. That public process, expected to last up to a year, begins tonight with an open house at Pier 1 that starts at 6 p.m.