Planning Commission Votes Unanimously to Certify Bike Plan EIR

After three years of waiting, three years without a single bicycle infrastructure improvement in San Francisco, the Planning Commission tonight unanimously certified the Bike Plan EIR, the first step necessary to lift the bicycle injunction.

"We are so thrilled and relieved. This was a big step forward to getting the bike plan back on track," said Leah Shahum, SFBC Executive Director. "We’d been hearing good support, the Planning Commission has been strong along the way. I’ve been impressed by how closely they followed it, about the lunacy of what’s been going on."

Shahum said they had 12 supporters present to support the project and that eight people showed up to oppose the certification, several of them there because of the 2nd Street bike lane proposal. Undaunted, Shahum argued that this concern has been present for most bike lane stripings, especially when parking is removed.

"The kind of concern we heard on 2nd Street tonight was the same concern we heard on Valencia Street ten years ago, the same concerns on Arguello St. Time and again we see that concerns about the addition of bike lanes causing irreperable damage have not happened. These projects are well-studied, well analyzed, smart projects that work."

Supporters and opponents of the Bike Plan and the 40-plus priority projects will be back at City Hall in under twelve hours for the MTA Board hearing, which begins at 9 am and could be a marathon. Streetsblog will be blogging updates as they come in and Tweeting. Search for @streetsblogsf on Twitter.

  • Would someone please tell Leah Shahum that teaming up with the residents and businesses of Rincon Hill, South Beach, and South Park – all fellow members of what I’m calling the Church of Sustainability – to ask the SF MTA to modify the 2nd Street design to include a middle utility lane (just like Valencia Street) would be a smart move on the bicycle coalition’s part?

  • As a business owner located on Second for 22 years, and a property owner there for 17, I welcome the final MTA design for bike lanes on Second Street as a smart way to deal with the limited street capacity there with minimum inconvenience and maximum social justice; long overdue. Local drivers will quickly adjust. Their experience as drivers will not substantially change in this transit first congested city. Cyclists, pedestrians, businesses, and residents will benefit immensely.

  • marcos

    Had the Planning Department produced a comprehensive plan for eastern SOMA, one that included transportation as a peer of an “enhanced building envelope,’ then these questions might have been anticipated and resolved earlier. But since the Eastern Neighborhoods planning process studiously ignored any kind of transportation planning, preferring to give away heights to developers for little in return, we’re having to strap on transportation planning after the fact.

    Ideally, the transportation network should serve as a limiting factor to increased building envelope, in that we should not augment zoning to allow for more housing or jobs until we have a transit network in place to ensure that transit is an appealing option for dwellers and workers. But that is not happening, most housing still requires 1:1 parking or close to it, and the burden is shifted off balance sheet for developers and new residents and into the lap of the general public.

    One would think that after a planning process that went on for more than seven years, the Planning Department would have had time to integrate land use and transportation components into a comprehensive plan, but they’ve kicked the transportation planning component down the road from a small SOMA circulation study to the Eastern Neighborhood TRIPS study which is apparently still underway. As one who is not designated to “hold stake,” but is one of two folks who has written a comprehensive transportation plan integrated with a land use plan, I’m nor sure what the status of EN trips is.

    But here we are, after seven years of a land use Planning process and five years of Bicycle Plan EIR without a consensus on what treatments second street should have.

    That consensus will prove difficult to identify because these newcomers who pay dearly to live in overpriced luxury condos on the cusp of a freeway think that San Francisco begins and ends with their SimCIty stamped “neighborhood.”

    Valenciazation, minus the hipster coffee houses, boutiques and the remnants of lesbian separatism, is a good template for reclaiming SOMA streets. Western SOMA had recommended Valenciazation for Folsom and Howard as well as Seventh and Eighth streets and had crafted land use rules that harmonize with such an approach. As the community representatives dwindled out of exhaustion, unfortunately, the moneyed interests patiently waited the community out and is proceeding to harmonize the WSOMA land use plan with Eastern Neighborhoods that give developers most all of what they want and shift the burden of subsidizing that development to existing residents.

    -marc

  • theNOB

    There is a part of me that understands the concerns over Second street, however, their concern really only stems from the blocks from Folsom to Brannan, and only from Wednesday (sometimes) to Friday, and only on the evening commute. I work at the corner of 2nd and Bryant and have walked (and ridden) Second Street every work day for the past 2 1/2 years. There is a decent amount of bicycle traffic, and is obvious to me, to be on the rise.

    Outside of those three blocks, there is typically very little traffic in the morning or evening. Occasionally, delivery trucks cause obstructions in the morning closer to Market, but otherwise it flows smoothly… for cars. The sharrows are ineffective, and a dedicated bike lane and some strategically placed turn lanes (which the Bike Plan calls for) would solve most of the issues on along its length.

    I don’t think that the bike plan design will hurt the intersections closer to the bridge entrances, they are beyond repair because it isn’t their physical design. Most of the issues are contributed to by drivers who block the intersection once the light has changed. The symphony horns begins at about 4:30 and doesn’t end until about 7. On some occasions they will place an officer there to attempt to stop people from blocking the intersection at 2nd and Bryant, the worst intersection by far. That helps marginally at best, and the confusion creates a very dangerous situation for bicyclists and pedestrians with angry drivers who block the crosswalks and are jumping out of their lanes to try to get one car closer to getting home.

  • Just one tiny correction – the infamous bike light on Masonic in the panhandle was allowed to go through even with the injunction. The judge agreed that it was a huge safety issue, enough to warrant immediate action.

  • g

    The bike plan EIR would benefit from more information in the record, particularly the los legislation. The EIR, suprisingly, apparently does not really address impact conflicts. It is also not clear that they have perceived the issues resolved by the LOS legislation most notably the air/quality los thing. This is also an opportunity to make more realistic statements concerning bike safety in regards to traffic engineering. Such as invoking real rights like a right to move inn reasonable safety.

    This is all important because a statement of overrriding considerations must be supported by substantial evidence, so if some information is not in the record and they are doing things the old-fashioned way it may be difficult to rationalize doing things differently or any such decision may be vulnerable to appeal.

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