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SFMTA Unveils New and Enhanced Bicycle-Friendly Green Waves

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, today announced four new green waves as well as enhancements to the city’s three existing green waves. A green wave uses modified traffic signal timing along a street so that bicyclists encounter a series of green lights as they progress down a corridor.

As part of an ongoing effort to improve the safety, comfort and convenience of bicycling in San Francisco, the SFMTA will be implementing new two-way green waves on Arguello Street (from Lake to Clement streets), Folsom Street (from 15th to 24th streets), Fulton Street (from Laguna to Steiner streets), and North Point Street (from Stockton to Polk streets). Implementation is anticipated to take place in spring 2014.

"San Francisco is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world due to our efforts to provide safe and convenient bike facilities like the two-way green wave," said Mayor Ed Lee. "That’s why we’re proud to bring even more of these innovative facilities across our City, so that our residents and visitors continue to choose bicycling as a means of everyday transportation.”

The SFMTA implemented its first bicycle green wave on Valencia Street, allowing bicyclists traveling at a moderate pace to encounter only green traffic signals at ten timed traffic signals. With widespread support, and after a year of successful operation of the Valencia green wave, the Agency also added green waves on 11th Street between Howard and Harrison streets in March 2011, and on 14th Street between Dolores and Folsom in April 2012.

Larger, more visible signage will also accompany existing green waves on Valencia, 11th and 14th streets. The increased visibility of larger green wave signage will help bicyclists and motorists better prepare and adjust their speeds to experience a wave of green lights. This work will be completed in October 2013.

“Innovative measures like these encourage bicycling and help foster a safer and more effective transportation network,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “Green waves are impactful tools that boost corridor safety for all.”

Green waves not only make bicycling more convenient and less physically demanding, they also create safer, more livable streets as a whole. Pedestrian conditions are improved with green waves as they accommodate current walking speed standards and vehicles are encouraged to slow down to experience the wave of green lights.

“Green waves have proven themselves to be a success in San Francisco. They not only benefit the increasing number of bicyclists, they also encourage motorists to drive more slowly, which improves safety for everyone using the street,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin.

"We’re thrilled to see the City expanding the successful green waves to other core bicycling corridors," said Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "Green waves are a great example of a relatively easy and inexpensive improvement that can improve the ease and comfort of bicycling and help the City meet its goals of continuing to boost bike trips."

The locations of the additional green wave corridors were prioritized because they meet the technical requirements for a green wave, have existing bike lanes and high bicycle ridership volumes. This project was funded through Proposition K funds.