It’s been nearly four years since a court injunction stopped virtually any bike improvements from moving forward in San Francisco, but now a date has been set for a hearing that could fully and finally lift it.
On June 22, Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch will consider the arguments of the City Attorney’s office in support of lifting the injunction, as well as opposition from Mary Miles, the attorney for Bike Plan opponent Rob Anderson. While the city got partial relief from the injunction last November, setting off a flurry of bike upgrades including new on-street bike corrals, sharrows, some new bike lanes, and fully-separated green bike lanes on a stretch of Market Street, the majority of the city’s 45-plus planned bike lane projects are still blocked.
The lack of an environmental review document for the Bike Plan led the court to order the injunction in the first place in 2006, after Anderson sued the city, arguing that additional bike lanes would slow traffic and increase pollution from idling vehicles.
The City Attorney’s office and bicycle advocates had hoped to see the injunction lifted at a November hearing, since the city had finally completed an exhaustive and expensive FEIR, which was certified by the Board of Supervisors last summer.
But Miles persuaded the judge that the injunction shouldn’t be fully lifted until her challenge to the adequacy of the FEIR is heard, so the city’s bicycle riders will have to wait until next month for another shot at lifting the ban.
The City Attorney’s office is evidently ready for the hearing: Yesterday, it sent over to Judge Busch a point-by-point response [PDF] to Miles’ objections to the FEIR.
"Petitioners take issue with virtually every aspect of the Bicycle Plan EIR and the City process for approving it," the response’s argument begins. "But … substantial evidence supports the City’s decision to certify the EIR as adequate, accurate and in compliance with [the California Environmental Quality Act.]"
It goes on to address Miles’ arguments, including her contentions that the FEIR is "not accurate, stable, finite, or legally sufficient," that it doesn’t accurately describe baseline conditions, that it doesn’t adequately analyze impacts to the city, that it didn’t consider a reasonable range of alternatives to bike upgrades, and the that public wasn’t sufficiently involved in the review process.
The hearing is set for June 22 at 9:30 a.m. in Dept. 301 at the San Francisco Superior Court Building, 400 McAllister Street.