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Monday, June 21, 2010

Bicycle Plan May See Another Day in Court, Main Opponent Says

Posted By on Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 6:29 PM

click to enlarge sharrow.JPG
If city government prevails in court tomorrow, expect to see more lanes and clearer paths for bicyclists.

The San Francisco Superior Court

will hear closing arguments Tuesday to determine whether the city's Bicycle Plan,

which seeks to meet the demands of San Francisco's large and growing

bike constituency, will go forward as planned five years ago.


The San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission

unanimously adopted the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's

Bicycle Plan in 2005. In 2006, however,

opponents, led by blogger and

former District 5

supervisor candidate Rob

Anderson, successfully filed for an injunction on the project until a

full-scale Environmental Impact Report was conducted, as required by

state law.

In the drivers' corner, Anderson is still leading the fight to stop the bike plan in its tracks ... er, lanes. He said he and attorney Mary Miles will file an appeal if the injunction is thrown out

after tomorrow's arguments. He sees the Bicycle Plan as largely

political, and believes the city is

buckling to pressure from progressives and the outspoken cyclist community, despite the obvious and adverse consequences on traffic flow and

pollution. His main argument, now backed by the completed EIR, is that

stalled

Munis

and cars as a result of additional bike lanes will emit more smog.

"The bicycle is the politics to San Francisco. It's like the crucifix to

Christianity," he told us.

Furthermore, he says that despite his efforts to regularly blog his objections, the issue has by and large stayed out of the

public eye.

"Until people start taking away lanes, the people in San Francisco won't

know about it. ... This is just nuts. I think if the majority of San

Franciscans had a chance to vote, they would reject it. But we'll never

get a chance to vote, because the bike people and their enablers in City

Hall will make sure of that," Anderson said.

Conversely, the city argues that the need for bike reform outweighs the

environmental impact and is banking that more people will trade in

their Clipper cards for helmets. Anderson called this a "fantasy" that

ignores those who simply cannot ride bikes, such as the disabled.

But when the city came

back with a surprising statistic last

year that the number of San Francisco bike riders had increased by 53

percent since the injunction

began, the court partially lifted the

injunction and gave the city the

green light on 45 of the most

low-impact projects, including the creation of sharrows, or

shared lanes.

The project ultimately calls for additional bike lanes, traffic

signal improvements, more bike racks, and painting the pavement to create clearer pathways for cyclists.

Anderson said he will be in court tomorrow to hear the arguments.


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Taylor Friedman

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