City Attorney’s Office Files Motion to Lift Bike Injunction

bike_injunction_filing_crew.jpgStaffers for City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office deliver the massive filing to the courthouse this afternoon. Photo by Marc Caswell.
After more than three frustrating years without any major bike improvements in San Francisco, it appears what bike activists hope will be the final court showdown for the bike injunction is just weeks away. This afternoon, City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office filed a motion (PDF) to lift the bike injunction, a filing that is 15 inches thick and argues the city has met all of its legal obligations.

From the press release:

Herrera's motion argues that the completion of the environmental review underlying the original injunction, together with the growing number of bicycle-related injury accidents in San Francisco, justify dissolving the injunction. The dissolution would allow the City to move forward with the implementation of 45 separate bicycle route improvements that are intended to enhance the safety and usability of City streets for the bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists who make use of them.

A hearing on the motion has been tentatively set for September 24th at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Peter Busch.

"After years of environmental review and public participation, the San Francisco Bicycle Plan reflects an unprecedented consensus to create a City that is safer, healthier and more environmentally responsible," Herrera said in a statement. "I am confident that the exhaustive process we've now completed will finally enable us to move forward."

Andy Thornley, the program director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, got a look at the massive filing, which includes all of the documents related to the EIR and Bike Plan, and was pleased the legal ordeal might be coming to an end soon.

"It's been a hell of a long time. A little while longer won't kill us, but it just feels good to finally have all of that work delivered back to the judge, and the psychological benefit of saying 'here ya go judge'," he said, adding that it's still hard to predict what Rob Anderson's attorney, Mary Miles, may have up her sleeve.

"It's certainly no time to be complacent about how this thing is going to turn out," Thornley said. "But we feel pretty comfortable that the City Attorney and Planning and MTA and all of the folks who've been working on this for so long have done a great job and made a good case...but we're not clear of this thing until the judge takes the handcuffs off."

The MTA Board certified the EIR and approved the Bike Plan June 26th, legislating 45 of the 56 priority projects, and the Board of Supervisors later followed, voting to reject two appeals. When Judge Busch lifts the injunction, the MTA has said it is ready to begin striping bike lanes and installing bike racks, though it has not released a detailed time line.