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Release date: 11/26/08
*** Press Release ***
Bicycle Plan outlines additional 34 miles of bicycle lanes to encourage environmentally-sustainable transportation option
San Francisco—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Planning Department today announced the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the San Francisco Bicycle Plan. Among other efforts to improve bicycling, the plan calls for adding 34 miles of bicycle lanes to San Francisco streets—a 75 percent increase over the existing 45 miles of lanes.
“We’ve accomplished a great deal together, but much work remains to be done to improve the safety and convenience of bicycling,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “I will continue to push for a better bicycling environment as part of my deep commitment to improving the health of our environment, our residents and our city.”
San Francisco’s Transit First policy requires that travel by bicycle (as well as on transit and by foot) must be an attractive alternative to travel by private automobile. The Bicycle Plan, first developed in 1997 and updated after a series of community meetings earlier this year, outlines eight major goals and a series of more than 80 actions to help the SFMTA make bicycling more attractive. The Plan’s actions are far-reaching and cover improved bicycle facilities and pavement quality, expanded educational and enforcement efforts and better bicycle parking and bicycle access to transit. All of the Plan’s actions are aimed at increasing safe bicycling.
“Bicycling is a crucial component of our transportation system,” said Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., the SFMTA’s Executive Director/CEO. “We are committed to making bicycling in San Francisco even more practical and enjoyable.”
San Francisco has been recognized as a gold-level bicycle friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists—the largest city to receive such an honor. The number of bicyclists in San Francisco has increased as the City has expanded facilities and programs to support bicycling. A higher percentage of commuters bicycle to work in San Francisco than in any other major U.S. city.
Implementation of any bicycle improvements in San Francisco has been blocked since November 2006 due to a Superior Court injunction that held that the previous version of the Bicycle Plan had not received sufficient review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Bicycle Plan DEIR has been prepared according to an aggressive schedule to address the Superior Court's concerns. The DEIR identifies some potential significant impacts as defined by CEQA affecting traffic congestion, transit operating delays, and loading activities for some project options, particularly along portions of Second Street, Fifth Street, Cesar Chavez Street, Portola Avenue and Masonic Avenue.
“This Draft EIR is the most comprehensive impact analysis for bicycle improvements that has been prepared in California,” said Planning Director John Rahaim. “The Planning Department is confident that the DEIR fully satisfies the issues cited in the Superior Court's injunction and will enable timely implementation of bicycle improvements that will enhance transportation alternatives in San Francisco.”
A public hearing on the Bicycle Plan DEIR will occur on January 8, 2009 at the Planning Commission; written comments may be submitted through January 13.
The SFMTA Board of Directors will consider approval of the Bicycle Plan, which is now in draft form, after the Planning Commission certifies the Final Environmental Impact Report, an action expected by summer 2009.
The draft Bicycle Plan is available on the SFMTA’s website at www.sfmta.com/bikeplan.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report is available on the Planning Department’s website at http://www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp?id=80504.
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