SF Supervisors Save Hairball Improvements from Lengthy Environmental Review

The "Hairball" bike path.  Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
The "Hairball" bike path. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to reject an appeal for a lengthy environmental review of proposed bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the Hairball, a mess of streets, ramps, sidewalks and bike lanes that come together at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and 101.

As SF Bay reported, the appeal was filed by attorney Mary Miles on behalf of the “Coalition for Adequate Review,” alleging that the project was illegally cut up into smaller pieces to avoid a comprehensive and legally required environmental review.

Sherie George, an environmental planner with the San Francisco Planning Department, told the board that the ‘SFMTA Hairball Intersection Improvement Project‘ involves only minor bike lane improvements, using paint and safe-hit posts, and is thereby not significant enough to require an environmental review. “It will add bike lanes on Bayshore Boulevard … high-visibility crosswalks, the removal of ten parking spaces and two loading zones,” she said, but “…no construction of any permanent structures and no existing travel lanes would be removed.” Thalia Leng, the SFMTA project manager for the plan, said it was intended to address bicycle and pedestrian conflicts with “heavy vehicular volume on north-bound Jerrold Avenue, especially trucks.” She reminded the board that the current design resulted in the fatality of a pedestrian in 2013.

From the SFMTA's presentation today. Image: SFMTA
From the SFMTA’s presentation today. Image: SFMTA

Charles Deffarges, community organizer for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, was one of a handful of advocates from the public who spoke against the appeal and against delaying the project. “We have to uphold protected bike lanes especially along high injury corridors like Jerrold Avenue,” he said. No one spoke in favor of the appeal, although Miles filed a written statement, according to the supervisors.

Cesar Chavez at evans, where the newly approved plan will relieve bike commuters of having to merge with trucks.
Cesar Chavez at Evans, where the newly approved plan will relieve bike commuters of having to merge with trucks.

Miles, meanwhile, is the same attorney who, along with her client Rob Anderson, enjoined the entire San Francisco bike plan and delayed safety projects across the city nearly a decade ago.

A list of all the planned Hairball improvements and a timeline for their installation is available on the SFMTA web page.

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