It Begins: San Francisco’s First Post-Injunction Bike Lane Goes In, As Scheduled

See? Right on schedule:

Via loveletterstosf, click to expand.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has all the deets and here’s what the Mayor had to say after his “self-congratulatory press conference,”  after the jump

MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM JOINS ELECTED OFFICIALS, THE SFMTA AND BICYCLE ADVOCATES TO LAUNCH FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF SAN FRANCISCO’S BICYCLE PLAN

San Francisco’s bike plan moves forward to increase safe bicycle use in the City 

San Francisco – Mayor Gavin Newsom today joined City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to launch the first San Francisco Bicycle Plan project. The project follows Friday’s order by the San Francisco Superior Court that lifted its 2006 injunction preventing the City from implementing portions of the plan. The SFMTA has announced its aggressive plan to move forward on 45 of the 60 near-term bicycle projects as part of the full Bicycle Plan that will invest in and implement bicycle facility improvements, educational efforts and innovative policies and programs to increase safe bicycle use in San Francisco. The 60 near-term projects will add 31 miles to the existing 48 miles of bike lanes in the City, an increase of 64 percent.

“Today we are on our way to becoming America’s best city for cycling,” said Mayor Newsom. “San Francisco is a proven leader in promoting bicycling as a healthy and environmentally sustainable transportation alternative.  I want to commend the stewardship of City Attorney Dennis Herrera and SFMTA for their efforts in the lifting of the bicycle plan injunction so we can move forward.  Bicycling has increased 34 percent since last year and I know that with a safer and more inviting bike network, more and more San Franciscans will start bicycling.”

“Today is the beginning of a new era for bicycling in San Francisco,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Executive Director/CEO of the SFMTA. “The SFMTA Bike Program staff has been working tirelessly to prepare for this day and we are committed to doing the work needed to keep the number of bicyclists growing in the years ahead.”

“We are celebrating San Francisco’s freedom to once again make streets safer for everyone and look forward to seeing the first of the 35 approved projects striped on Townsend Street on Monday,” said Renée Rivera, Acting Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, an 11,000-member nonprofit that promotes the bicycle for everyday transportation. “This is the first time in San Francisco’s history that this many bike lane projects are approved and ready to be striped. These long-awaited improvements will help growing numbers of people feel more confident, comfortable and safe when they bike to shop, to work and to play.”
 
The project launched today on Townsend Street includes bicycle lanes in both directions between 8th Street and The Embarcadero. The next projects are on Laguna Honda Boulevard with bicycle lanes in both directions between Clarendon Avenue and Woodside Avenue, and North Point Street with bicycle lanes in both directions between The Embarcadero and Van Ness Avenue.

The crews will start work today on Townsend Street at 4th Street. This project is several blocks long and labor-intensive. It is expected to take about one month to complete. During this period, crews will move to Laguna Honda Boulevard (near the Forest Hills Muni Metro station) and to North Point Street. These three projects will take about two months to complete.

The expansion of the bike network is the first goal of the Bicycle Plan. The City’s Bicycle Plan outlines eight main goals: 1) increasing bike lanes and shared roadway markings or “sharrows” (the stencils of bikers with directional arrows painted on the streets, which were pioneered in San Francisco); 2) expanding bike parking; 3) extending accessibility of bikes on local transit; 4) furthering bike safety education; 5) improving bicycle safety through targeted enforcement; 6) promoting and encourage safe bicycling; 7) adopting bicycle-friendly practices and policies; and 8) prioritizing and increasing bicycle funding as well as series of more than 80 actions to make bicycling more attractive.

Even while the Bicycle Plan has been under the injunction, bicycling has increased dramatically in San Francisco. On May 13, Bike to Work Day, Bike Program staff counted more than 1,000 bicyclists, making up nearly 75 percent of the total vehicles. In 2006, bicycles accounted for a mere 44 percent.
Since November when Judge Peter J. Busch modified the 2006 injunction on the Bicycle Plan in to allow a limited number of bike lane projects and other improvements, the SFMTA has completed nine new bike lane projects, installed 1,600 sharrows, installed more than 400 sidewalk bike racks and five on-street “bike corrals”, and created a green bikeway on Fell Street and one on Market Street that is fully separated from motor vehicle traffic.

As part of the SFMTA’s balanced approach to transportation in San Francisco, the Bicycle Program, which oversees the Bicycle Plan, ensures education and safety for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.  More information on the San Francisco Bicycle Plan, including specific projects, can be found at www.sfmta.com/bikes.

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