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Lyft wants to install nine new bikeshare stations in the Sunset

Lyft/Bay Wheels bikes wait to be taken from the station attached to the Mission District San Francisco Public Library. | Camille Cohen

Sunset residents could get nine new bikeshare locations as soon as a proposal for new docks come under public scrutiny this week.

A public hearing set for Friday morning will ask San Franciscans to weigh in on the nine new stations, which are scattered across the Outer Sunset area

“Over the past two years Lyft has worked closely with the Sunset community, SFMTA, and Supervisor Gordon Mar to bring bikeshare to the Sunset in a way that reflects community input and fills in critical gaps in the Bay Wheels network,” wrote Colin Hughes, a senior policy manager at Lyft, the company that runs Bay Wheels.

The stations would extend the Bay Wheels network farther into the city’s westside—where there are few bike stations today—and run adjacent to Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway, two popular biking arteries. 

A road with cyclists, walkers, and a runner, with traffic lights overhead and foggy hills in the distance.
People walk and bike along Great Highway. | Gabrielle Lurie/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

They would also broaden the company’s network of classic, non-electronic bikes and help it expand ridership, which fell during the pandemic. The latest city data from October 2022 shows Bay Wheels ridership steadily increasing, though still well below pre-pandemic highs. 

Lyft is the sole bikeshare operator in San Francisco, and its contract goes through 2027. 

As costs to riders have increased, some have called on the city to consider a takeover of the system. But a study commissioned by Supervisor Dean Preston last year found that city ownership and operation of bikeshare would cost $33 million upfront and $18 million each year, a high price tag for a program that doesn’t currently cost the city a dime.

According to Stephen Chun, spokesperson for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the proposed docking sites prioritize proximity to major destinations like farmers markets, libraries, commercial corridors and pedestrian- and bike-friendly streets. SFMTA is conducting the Friday hearing about the proposed bike stations. 

Chun said the normal station density target is about two to three blocks apart so users can comfortably walk between stations and find others nearby if one is empty or full. The well-spaced stations, Chun said, could help keep the neighborhood’s bikes organized without overwhelming the area.

“In the Sunset, which is less densely populated, we’ve reduced our station density target,” Chun wrote. “We hope this will still provide sufficient service to the area’s unique context.”