Mayor Gavin Newsom applauds the imminent bike improvements in the city
Dozens of bicyclists, livability advocates, city staff, and elected officials gathered for the new bike lane striping and to celebrate the lifting of the court injunction
San Francisco city officials and bicycle advocates hailed the end of the four-year-old bicycle injunction this afternoon and applauded the striping of the new Townsend Street bike lane. On a bright, sunny day Mayor Gavin Newsom touted the environmental and public health benefits of more bike lanes in the city at a press conference held at 4th and Townsend. Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the Municipal Transportation Agency, assured the dozens of San Franciscans in attendance that the city was prepared to implement several new bike improvements. Minutes later Newsom and SFMTA Board Chair Tom Nolan shared a paint roller to get the lane striping underway.
Today's new bike lane has been in the works for years as part of a city-wide bike plan that was put on hold under court order in June of 2006. That changed late Friday afternoon when San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch issued an order that the city was in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, in its plans to implement the bike plan. Originally 56 new bike projects were anticipated, but the number was pared to 45 with the remainder delayed for further study. Last November Busch permitted a few of the bike improvements but held back 35 for a final decision on the adequacy of the environmental review undertaken by the city.
In a statement released this afternoon by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Renee Rivera, acting director, noted that even under the pall of the injunction, bike riding in the city increased by more than 53% and that every neighborhood was requesting bike improvements. According to the SFBC, surveys show that one in two San Franciscans would bike if streets had bike lanes and were more inviting to cyclists. In addition, bike counts reveal that bicycling surges by an average of 50% after a bike lane is added.
The Townsend bike lane will soon be followed by stripes on North Point Street and on Laguna Honda. Thirty-two other streets will also see bike lanes in the city.