Judge Busch Delays Decision on Lifting SF Bike Injunction

A San Francisco judge today delayed a decision on lifting the city’s three-year-old bike injunction, and instead ordered both parties to submit briefs by November 12th on his authority to lift the injunction, and then reverse it, if he later determines at a separate hearing that the exhaustive 2,000 page document is not adequate, although that seems unlikely.

"The rule is the public entity goes ahead while the review goes on," Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch told a courtroom filled mostly with MTA representatives, reporters, SFBC staff and Rob Anderson. Busch’s concerns were mostly procedural: Can he dissolve the injunction and then order the MTA to reverse bike projects if he later sides with the plaintiff’s weak contentions the EIR doesn’t comply with CEQA?

Deputy City Attorney Kristen Jensen argued passionately that the injunction needs to be lifted as soon as possible to make the city’s streets safer for "bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists."

When pressed by the judge on what projects the city intended to go forward with immediately, the City Attorney’s office replied that the MTA plans to move on painting sharrows and installing bike racks. Deputy City Attorney Audrey Williams Pearson said the MTA has determined it can paint 20 sharrows, install 5 bike racks and do 400 feet of striping per day.

The city was ordered to submit a brief on what projects the MTA plans to implement between now and when a final hearing is held to determine the adequacy of the EIR in March.

We’ll have more coverage soon.

  • Was this ruling marginally predictable? If so, why wasn’t the city ready (of course then Rob would be able to beg to get himself ready).

    The judge has to be reasonably familiar with this case. Why did we dick around for 3 months, show up to a hearing, so he could give these orders? Couldn’t he do that offline and save a lot of time and aggravation? Could the city have approached him to get an expectation of what was up?

    I guess this is why I’m a silly engineer instead of a Lawyer.

  • This process seems totally incoherent. And why would Judge Busch need to know which projects are going forward immediately? Is it an indication that he has strong feelings about specific locations or categories of projects? Is this legal, political, or both?

  • Leanne

    What IS this??? Is there any end in sight for these preposterous games? This is beyond ridiculous. Make a DECISION already. You couldn’t have requested these briefs last month? If you knew you were going to need these briefs to reach a decision, why wait until the decision day to request them? And this little item does not sound promising; the judge wants to ensure that he’ll have leeway to “order the MTA to reverse bike projects if he later sides with the plaintiff’s weak contentions the EIR doesn’t comply with CEQA.”

    Ummm…cart before the horse, judge?

    Round and round we go and where she stops…

  • Sean Benward

    It seems that the judge has his own ax to grind with cyclists.

  • gary groff

    Enough is enough. Collectively, there must be 10,000 hours of research, petitions, meetings, environmental studies…to get some bike lanes striped and a few bike racks installed?

    The costs of the approval process will likely outweigh the cost of the actual projects at this point.

    We’re talking about bike lanes and bike racks right? CRAZY.

  • David Melamed

    Does the bicycle coalition / community have any lawyers assisting? I wonder if it would be useful to sue (countersue?) for violation of civil rights and discrimination and harassment against a class of people (bicyclists).
    That such broad the use of ‘injunctive relief’ is so clearly beyond what is called for by alleged possible CEQA issues.

  • Melissa

    Someone needs to do an EIR on how much time and energy has been wasted on this superfluous approval process. Its unfortunate that we have come to regard the EIR as a legitimate step in this process- what exactly is the environmental impact to striping lanes? We do it every day.

    Not having informed, progress oriented city officials poses a larger challenge to living in San Francisco than anything.

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