Quick Releases

Millions Available for Safe Routes to School

Governor Davis signed AB1475, the Safe Routes to School bill, in October thanks to a massive grassroots campaign coordinated statewide by the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) and the California Bicycle Coalition, with a big local push provided by hundreds of SFBC members! The bill earmarks $17 million a year for two years in federal highway funding for projects that will make it safer for California schoolchildren to walk or bike to school. Eligible projects include bike lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks, trails, traffic control devices, and traffic calming in neighborhoods and around schools. Since the first round of project applications is due to Caltrans in April 2000, bike advocates should be rallying support for projects in their neighborhoods as soon as possible. For more information on Safe Routes to School funding, visit STPP's web site at www.transact.org/ca or call Leah Shahum at the SFBC, 431-BIKE, x2.

Stencils to Be Upgraded

The city's Department of Parking & Traffic has received funding to paint about 1,000 stencils intended to educate motorists that bicyclists are allowed to use the entire lane when it's too narrow to share. They also have money to install complementary signs which will say "Bicycles Allowed Use of Full Lane."

DPT officials agreed with the SFBC that the green stencils were not bright enough, and have agreed to use white paint instead. First, they are seeking approval from the California Bicycle Advisory Committee and the California Traffic Control Devices Committee. City Traffic Engineer Bond.

Chief Engineer Bond Yee calls the stencils an important safety measure and the "prospects for passage are good."

BART Backpedals on Bike Restrictions

BART banned bikes for six hours on New Year's Eve, earning condemnation from Bay Area cyclists and critical reports on most major media stations. Pressure from cyclists and help from elected BART Board members James Fang and Tom Radulovich helped reduce the ban from the original proposal, which would have prohibited passengers from bringing bikes on BART from 6 pm, Dec. 31 to 6 am Jan. 1.

The final compromise still represented a departure from existing BART policy: bikes were banned only during defined peak hours and any other time the trains were too crowded. The New Year's Eve policy set new hours bikes were banned, regardless of crowding.

BART officials appeared sufficiently embarrassed by the over-reaction that at the last minute, Manager of Access & Facilities Development, Harley Goldstrom, authorized bicycle parking at the Powell Street and MacArthur BART stations. "Though the service was not well attended because it was provided at the last minute, its provision showed that BART officials are willing to see their system as a transportation service that must include bikes as part of an integrated, multi-modal transportation solution," said Dave Snyder of the SFBC. Snyder requested that in the future BART simply enforce its existing policy that bans bikes from crowded trains, without defining specific hours that bikes are banned every time they anticipate large event-oriented crowds. Goldstrom said he was inclined to do that in the future.

Parking Victory

The developers of an 8-story, 128-unit apartment building at Page & Gough Streets whose request for approval of a 172-space parking garage was criticized in the Tube Times, have reduced the amount of parking they plan to build to 126 spaces. This minor victory reduces the impact of the garage on Page Street, a "bicycle boulevard" in the city's bicycle plan.