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Bicycle Infrastructure

Advocate Protests Rollback of Another Slow Street

Chenery Street, from a Slow Streets ride last December. Photo: Scott Feeney

Editor's note: While I was away on my mini-sabbatical, I read the Chron's coverage of the elimination of Chenery Street in Glen Park from the Slow Streets program with dismay. SFMTA leaders continue to talk about creating a network of Slow Streets, and yet seem incapable of standing up to NIMBYs to see it through. Advocate Scott Feeney, similarly disappointed, sent the following letter to the SFMTA Board and asked if Streetsblog would publish it. I was happy to oblige ~ Roger Rudick, Editor, Streetsblog San Francisco.

Dear MTA board directors,

It’s been a busy week for me and I wasn’t able to attend Tuesday’s meeting, but I was shocked and disappointed by your vote against the Chenery Slow Street. I know that you as a board support safer streets and alternatives to the car, so I’m struggling to understand this vote.

Chenery offers a critical bicycle connection from Glen Park’s “downtown,” not only to the Glen Canyon park and rec center (a major destination for families) but also, via the park’s promenade and back service road, to the multi-use path alongside O’Shaughnessy Blvd, which connects up to neighborhoods around Mount Davidson and Twin Peaks.

The modest proposal, abandoned by the SFMTA board last Tuesday. Image: SFMTA
This modest proposal was abandoned by the SFMTA board last Tuesday in the face of NIMBY opposition. Image: SFMTA
The modest proposal, abandoned by the SFMTA board last Tuesday. Image: SFMTA

Other alternative routes just don’t work for riders. Bosworth parallel to Chenery is a busy arterial without bike lanes. In theory, Bosworth could have protected bike lanes. I would love to see it. But it would require removing all the parking, which would generate its own opposition. It wouldn’t provide a very good connection to Glen Canyon Park, since Elk Street in between Chenery and Bosworth is extremely steep—a 23 percent grade, impassable for most. And it doesn’t make sense to remove bike routes that are working now in favor of hypothetical future ones that would take years of planning and compete for budgets with existing plans.

I really don’t understand how you reached the decision to remove this bike route, but I have to imagine it happened because supporters didn’t make it clear enough to you how essential this was as a connection. I’d be happy to lead any of you in walking/rolling around the area to understand how Chenery is an important connection for all-ages bicycling for transportation. Please let me know if you’d like to find a time to take me up on this offer, or just talk more about why it’s important to restore Chenery’s Slow Street status.

Ultimately, these seemingly small decisions add up to whether San Francisco is going to be successful in shifting towards sustainable transportation—or slip further into congestion and pollution. I really hope you will work with MTA staff to bring back a version of a Chenery Slow Street proposal you can support, maybe with traffic calming uphill as well to address those concerns.

Scott Feeney

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