SF Supes to hold hearing on long-stalled bicycle plan
- Published Tuesday, August 4, 2009, by SF Guardian Online
Showdown time for SF Bike Plan
By Steven T. Jones
Bicyclists enjoy strong support on the progressive-dominated San Francisco Board of Supervisors, so the real question about today's long-awaited Bike Plan hearing is whether anti-bicyclist activist Rob Anderson and his attorney Mary Miles can throw enough legalistic dust into the air to delay a decision.
Indeed, Miles told the Guardian this morning that she didn't have time to talk because she was busy preparing a lengthy written argument opposing the plan. And given that city officials will need to follow-up the plan's approval by going into court to try to get a three-year-old injunction against bike projects lifted, supervisors will likely be advised to tread carefully.
But Anderson doesn't think they will. "They're going to pass it, of course. That's a foregone conclusion, but the real battle will be in Judge [Peter] Busch's court," he told us. "The EIR is certainly inadequate."
That Environmental Impact Report - which the city originally neglected, leading to the injunction after Anderson and Miles sued -- has been two years in the making and city officials are confident that it will pass legal muster. And San Francisco Bicycle Coalition director Leah Shahum told us, "We're expecting good things today."
Miles isn't the only one appealing the Planning Commission's certification of the EIR and the Municipal Transportation Agency's approval of the Bike Plan, for which the board is considering related amendments to the city's General Plan to facilitate more bike lanes and other safety improvements and enforcement changes.
A South Beach neighborhood group is also appealing the plan because it doesn't like the proposal for bike lanes along Second Street, a project that the MTA voted last month to delay. Group members say they like the bike lanes, but they prefer a design like that on Valencia Street, with a large center lane for cars, something planners say would make the bike lanes unacceptably narrow.
But nobody thinks the Bike Plan will face any major modifications or serious delays in a city that hasn't seen so much as a new bike rack installed since 2006 because of the court injunction. Even though Anderson believes the plan creates unacceptable delays for Muni, he told us the board will surely approve it: "This is progressive land bicycles are good and cars are bad."
In fact, Anderson says that he doesn't even plan to attend today's hearing, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Board Chambers at City Hall. He just doesn't like cavorting with a crowd he labels "bike nuts" and doesn't think the hearing matters. Instead, he said, "We'll see them in court."