A legal appeal filed against protected bike lanes and pedestrian safety upgrades on three blocks of Fell and Oak Streets was rejected unanimously by the Board of Supervisors yesterday. Construction on the project, currently underway the SF Municipal Transportation Agency beginning with the Fell Street protected bike lane, will not be halted by the appeal.
Supervisors dismissed the opponents’ claims that the project required an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act, which could have added a year or more to the project. In a statement, the SF Bicycle Coalition hailed the board “for voting to uphold the city’s thorough work, and against creating a precedent that curb extensions and bikeways require an unprecedented and unreasonable amount of environmental review.”
The appeal [PDF], largely seen as a gambit to slow the project, was filed by Mark Brennan, a developer who owns a building on Oak and Divisadero Street; Howard Chabner, a disability rights advocate; and Ted Loewenberg, president of the Haight-Ashbury Improvement Association. Another appeal could be filed at the state level, though it’s unclear if the opponents plan to do so.
At issue was the Planning Department’s determination that the project didn’t require an EIR under CEQA because it only includes “minor alterations” to existing streets and won’t remove traffic lanes, except for a part-time turning lane on Oak.
The project will re-purpose about 100 on-street car parking spaces from Fell and Oak to create protected bike lanes separated from motor traffic by concrete planters (while replacing about half of those spaces on nearby streets). Much of the striping work on Fell is already done.
Although CEQA doesn’t require an EIR for any of the changes in the project, since they’re considered “minor alterations” to the street, Chabner argued that they go beyond that definition when taken altogether, and that the impacts of a separate plan to overhaul nearby Masonic Boulevard should be considered as well.