The City of San Francisco is still barred from installing any new bike infrastructure because of a three-year-old injunction, but that’s not stopping the San Francisco Unified School District from installing bike racks at the city’s schools. The school district isn’t covered by the injunction, and it’s using several sources of funding to add desperately needed bike racks to schools like Balboa High, where these new racks were spotted just yesterday by health education teacher Christopher Pepper.
Nik Kaestner, Director of Sustainability for SFUSD, explained that the district now adds bike racks whenever it upgrades schools as part of a renovation bond program. "2002-2003 Prop. A bonds are being used to renovate our buildings in response to a lawsuit. The main focus is ADA accessibility and fire/life safety," said Kaestner. "There’s some money put aside for greening schoolyards on elementary school campuses, and then there’s also some money usually left over. At some point the decision was made that one thing every school would get is bike racks."
That’s where the Balboa High racks came from, but there are also two other major sources of funding for new racks. The city has also committed to giving SFUSD 30 bike racks, but for now the city doesn’t have enough racks on hand to give them to schools and still be ready when the injunction is lifted, said Kaestner. "They want all their racks ready to go as soon as the injunction is lifted." Those racks should be ready by early 2010 once the city appropriates additional money for purchasing racks. Funds for racks at eight more schools were obtained through a grant secured by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
For now, the bike rack installations are pretty modest: each new installation includes two racks with room for 16 bikes total. Kaestner said the school district would like to expand that once the current funds are used up. "Right now, our focus is on schools that request them, then the next focus will be to hit the schools that didn’t necessarily request them, then the third focus will be, let’s get more than just two sets of bike racks" per school.
SFUSD will also be launching a Safe Routes to School program in October, as part of its broader push to encourage bicycling and walking to school.
Elsewhere in San Francisco, new bike racks can be spotted at some newly renovated libraries, including still-under-wraps racks at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Branch Library in the Castro. Let us know in the comments section below if you’ve spotted other injunction-exempt racks or bike infrastructure going up around the city.