RDDC hosting public forum on the Golden Gate Park bike lanes, Thurs. night

This Thursday night, the Richmond District Democratic Club is hosting a public forum/discussion on the new bike lanes in Golden Gate Park as part of their February meeting.

The RDDC has invited members from the SF Bicycle Coalition, pedestrian safety, seniors’ advocates, and the SFMTA to join the discussion.

The bike lanes sparked a lot of discussion here on the blog in an article last month entitled Bicycle Lane in Golden Gate Park Cause for Concern.

Comments about the new lanes were very mixed, and included negative reviews from cyclists who say the new configuration is detrimental to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

The RDDC meeting will be held this Thursday night in the Richmond District Police Station Community Room, 461 6th Avenue from 7pm until 8:30pm.

Sarah B.


  1. Agreed, these lanes are terrible, confusing, and neither do cars, pedestrian, or people getting out of cars know what to do!

  2. Beyond the impact to cyclists (I ride in the park all the time), drivers (also drive in the park a lot), and pedestrians, there is also the issue with the way it looks. The road used to look open and wide. Now it looks dense and busy, to the point of appearing like a traffic jam.

  3. With the parking-protected bike lanes on JFK, my whole family feels safe and comfortable biking in Golden Gate park.

    Also, it has turned a wide street into a smaller, slower street which slows traffic down. Anything to discourage speeding through the park is a good thing.

  4. I love the bike lanes on JFK. It’s a much more relaxing ride than before. Sure, I have to ride a little slower when the park is busy, but its a welcome trade-off from mixing with cars.

    I don’t really have an issue riding in the streets here in our city, but it’s nice to be able to relax a little once I get to the park. This is where I take my novice bike riding friends – the separation from cars and drivers is appreciated!

  5. Not a lot of notice for this meeting. Posted this morning here. Guess they didn’t really want people to show up. How democratic.

  6. I’m an 18 year resident of the Inner Sunset. I own 10 bikes, 1 car and I’m a member of the SF Bike Coalition. My car mileage in 2012 was less than 2x my 2012 bike mileage. Before the reconfiguration, JFK Drive was easily one of the nicest places to ride in SF. This was due in large part because the roadway is especially wide allowing for parked cars, cyclists and car traffic to coexist safely. The new configuration creates many new hazards — to cyclists, to fast cyclists, to car drivers, to car passengers, to tourists and to wheelchair para transit riders. The people who benefit are beginner bike rides riding less than 5-7mph and those unaccustomed to riding in traffic. Is the cost benefit worthwhile?

    The thru traffic lane is significantly narrowed causing many drivers to feel unsafe opening their doors into traffic. This is evidenced by the vast majority of car drivers purposely encroaching into the bike lane buffer zone. The second new hazard is due to requiring all car drivers and car passengers to cross the bike lane! 500 cars x 2.5 passengers = 1250 bike lane crossings! Many of them are tourists with iPhones, guidebooks, cameras, kids enjoying the picturesque park and they become collision hazards when standing in and crossing the bike lane. Tourist, as infrequent visitors, can not be expected to “learn the new layout”. A third newly created hazard is the passenger side car door. All experienced urban cyclists know the hazards of a suddenly opened driver’s door. The new configuration creates an unexpected hazard, the suddenly opening passenger door. This hazard is especially dangerous if a cyclist is passing a slower cyclist. And yes, cyclists like to pass other cyclists. A ride down Market St, or the Panhandle path is ample proof. The JFK bike path is no exception. Very fast cyclists, those training for aerobic exercise are common along JFK Drive. Fast passing cyclists and exiting car passengers and the current configuration creates a dangerous situation that did not exist before. A cyclist passing two slower riders riding side by side is especially dangerous.

    Well, what about the kids learning to ride their bikes? Early Sunday mornings, when JFK is closed to traffic is safest. The parking protected configuration is safer for slow beginner cyclists, but is not representative of real world urban cycling. To be safe, all urban cyclist must learn to ride with traffic and learn to safely navigate the driver’s door zone.

  7. Jeffery-

    My name is Wendy Aragon, Vice President of RDDC and I am the person who coordinated the speaker’s panel for tonight’s meeting. We actually posted the meeting ten days ago.

    I apologize that the information only became available via The RichmondSF Blog’s post yesterday. Undortunately, RDDC and this blog are two entirely separate entities and therefore we have no control over when Sarah posts information.

    We do a lot of community forums such as tgese and we communicate these events on a public Facebook page and Twitter and if you are interested in getting that information beforehand, please feel free to visit our sites at:


  8. Sorry Wendy, your excuse doesn’t fly. Don’t blame this on Sarah. She’s terrific about posting meetings days ahead. And if in this case you didn’t see it on the blog by Monday, well, you should have emailed her. Also, there are lots of other outlets for announcements of meetings, including the West Side Community Calendar; the Richmond Review; and Supervisor Mar’s newsletter.

    Had I known about this meeting a few days ago, I’d have been there, as I’m sure lots of others would also. Next time I hope the club will do better.

  9. I wish I had heard of this meeting. I HATE THE NEW BIKE LANES. The reason some like these lanes is that they are new to cycling and do not recognize the dangers created by this configuration. JFK was safer before. This new configuration simply trades risks. Since these lanes were put in place I’ve avoided JFK except after hours when there are no parked cars. Why design lanes for beginners? Once they gain experience these lanes will no longer suit their needs. I’m no longer a member of the Bicycle Coalition. They only represent the slow, meandering, family style rider who is in no hurry to go anywhere. Some of us ride bikes because they are the fastest and most convenient way to get around the City. I suspect this meeting was kept quiet because the folks at the Bicycle Coalition don’t like opposing views.

  10. I tried and I was unable to make the meeting. If i had some more notice, I could have made it– however that is not really your problem.

    To be on record, I hate the new bike lanes. Amongst the many reasons, I feel it is more dangerous for bikers and driver side parkers that have to share the same lane as cross traffic only 5-6′ wide. Plain ugly too.

  11. Oops. i meant “passenger” side parkers– not “driver” side in Post 12 above.

  12. Sam-
    Sarah is on our club email list and therefore the information is given to her. I’m not the person who sends out that announcement, but I can look into when it was sent. I’m not blaming anything on Sarah, but the fact remains, we have zero control over what information Sarah posts. In fact, most of the neighborhood media sources haven’t taken very much interest in our club for a very long time so it was a surprise to me to even see the meeting announced here. But you are right, there are other resources for us to use and I will definitely look into them.

    Terry: Our club meetings are never kept secret. We’ve been meeting at the same day and time every month for as long as he club has been in existence. And again, we do publish meetings well in advance on our Facebook page and twitter account. We also have no specific alliances with the Bicycle Coalition and they have no influence over RDDC. In fact, most of our club members have been extremely critical of the new bike lanes which is why we choose this topic in the first place.

    Thanks to Sarah, we did have a very nice turn out of new people who came specifically to hear the panel. But again I do apologize to anyone who felt that the event was not posted on the blog in a timely manner. I will bring this up at our upcoming Executive Board meeting so that this doesn’t happen again and I will reach out to Sarah so that maybe we can at least coordinate announcements with her earlier.

    Our club has been around for 25 years, with a lot of our members and leadership still hailing from that time. And we can all admit that there has been a definite lag in our communication methods other than email and a website that had been left without anyone to update it for years. It’s only been in the last year that the club elected newer and younger leadership and so we are still very much in transition. Our first year in office was heavy with elections and local political issues happening at a City Hall, so we really had to dive in quickly which left little room for us to focus on community topics such as this one. One of our first steps was moving towards social media and perhaps we relied on it too much in this case. We are human and therefore bound to make mistakes and learn from them.

    We are hoping to do more community forums during this slower election year and we will definitely be more cognizant about getting that information out in the future. In fact our March 28th General Meeting will be focused on neighborhood history and we’ve already reached out to the Western Neighborhoods Project to give a presentation to the club and are brainstorming ideas for other speakers and topics. We hope to see more people at our meetings in the future.

    Wendy Aragon
    Vice President
    Richmond District Democratic Club


  13. We first got word of the meeting in an email on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 7:50 AM (the email from the RDDC). It was my decision to not post to the following morning at 5am, which is an editorial decision.

    I think the anger is really stemming from this issue not being addressed properly overall. While it’s great that the RDDC is tackling the problem in their meeting, it’s really not the most public forum (or very well known organization in the neighborhood) and in my opinion, this is an issue that should be revisited by the people that caused it – the SFMTA, the SFBC and our representative, Supervisor Eric Mar.

    Sarah B.

  14. My overarching issue is I am sick and tired of how to be told how to do everything. Am I immature, maybe. But I own a SF house and design massive structures to hold up very large moving objects (oil tankers) as a job. I mention this to ennumerate the point that I am old enough and accomplished enough to do things and think for myself. I think I am informed enough on how to ride a bike. To me, the whole issue is this slipperly slope of legislating or regulating everything so everything is fair or excessively safe. Life has risks and possiblity of injury will be part of it– no avoiding it. Yes, pain hurts but we will heal and adapt. Just protect the public from gross misuse such as drag racing down city streets. Sure, protect the infirm if they cross a street but not every able bodied person or pedestrian. Sorry about my Rant, but that is the essence of why I am opposed to this issue. I hope I made someone else uncomfortable or stirred by reading this.

  15. The Richmond District Democratic Club is a forum for the residents of our District to come together and engage in political issues. The organization has no mandate by the City, by the SFMTA, the Bike Coalition or any public, non-profit and even private entities. As Sarah B. has said, let us not direct our anger at the project to the Club that is giving us the opportunity to share our opinions. Perhaps we should have a community forum on the contentious bike lanes, with an opportunity to directly communicate with decision makers. I was not happy with the response from some of the panelists that a survey has revealed most people have responded positively to the JFK bike lines, therefore, making the dissent of the audience seem nullified. I’m a member of the RDDC, but feel like the meeting was just the starting point of a larger conversation we should have on this issue.

  16. The meeting was well attended. The panel of speakers representing public and private interests did a fine job of addressing the issues. It appeared to me everyone wanted safe and useful accomations for all people enjoying GG Park: Walkers, bicyclists, handicaped persons. There were a number of suggestions on how to improve the current configuration. The RDDC should be thanked for addressing this “hot-button” topic.
    One speaker did make the point the real unaddressed issue is why all human users are given second class standing to the storage of automobiles in what has always been intended to be a park for people. The “Tragedy of the Commons” metaphor is that free unlimted parking will lead to abuse and degradation of the Commons. Off site or underground parking with effective transit should improve space and enjoyment for all GG Park users.

  17. I cannot imagine that any survey demonstrates that most people like the new lanes. I’ve read dozens and dozens of comments and the vast majority feel the same way as I do, which is that these lanes are dangerous for everyone. And what about emergency vehicles? How do they pass when motorists cannot pull to the right? This past Saturday, 4/20, a fire truck got stuck in traffic at the eastern end of JFK. Traffic backed up in both directions. It was utter chaos. And Jesus, does it make the road look ugly or what?

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