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Also Tomorrow: Crucial Hearing for the Fell and Oak Bikeways

public hearing tomorrow for the long-awaited protected bike lanes on Fell and Oak Streets could be key in determining how soon the project is approved and completed.

Advocates say a strong show of support is critical to ensure the project is approved without delay. Although agency staff won't make a decision whether to recommend approval of the project to the SFMTA Board of Directors tomorrow, hearing officers will take comments from the public that could influence the project's design details and implementation timetable.

The project would provide vital safety upgrades for bike travel on the three blocks linking the Panhandle and the Wiggle -- currently fraught with danger from high-speed traffic that deters many would-be riders and sometimes leads to confrontations between drivers and cyclists.

Although the SFMTA says the project could be implemented no sooner than next spring, D5 Supervisor Christina Olague, a strong supporter and former president of the Planning Commission, told Streetsblog she thinks it can go in by this fall.

Completing environmental review on the project, she said, should be a top priority for the Planning Department. "America's Cup was, and I think we've seen other huge projects that have been top priorities."

"This creates jobs, and ultimately it creates safer pathways for cyclists, people who want to bicycle with their families, for pedestrians," said Olague. "I think it's something people will love once it's in place."

The hearing takes place tomorrow at 10 a.m. at City Hall in Room 416. You can also email staff at sustainable.streets@sfmta.com.

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