Supportive City Hall Opens Door for Bolder Bike Agenda by Dave Snyder, SFBC Executive Director

As I write this, I've just returned from the inaugural meeting of our new Board of Supervisors. There were quite a few happy members of the Bicycle Coalition toasting the victory of an entirely new majority at City Hall.

The SFBC endorsed and worked for eight of 11 of the current Board of Supervisors, a veto-proof majority for the kind of livable city planning and bike-friendly policies for which we've been fighting for a decade. Scores of SFBC volunteers and staff, wearing their "I Bike & I Vote" buttons, spent their evenings on phone banks calling potential voters. Prop. F volunteers walked up and down the Richmond, energized by the chance to defeat Michael Yaki whose schemes defeated that proposal to close JFK Drive to cars on Saturdays. On election day, we stood in the cold working to get out the vote for the bike-friendly candidates. It was a risky play that paid off. Here are just two examples of the changes that we should expect from the new Supervisors.

Gerardo Sandoval, who got elected from District 11, combined transportation, land use, and economic development in a cogent answer to the only essay question on our candidates' survey: What is your vision for transportation? "We need more housing above the shops on outer Mission Street to reduce suburban sprawl and provide more pedestrians for the shops which desperately need customers. And forget the parking, we already have Muni service which must be improved and we need to make it easier to bike to and around this neighborhood."

District 5's Matt Gonzalez, in his very first opportunity to speak publicly as a Supervisor, specifically emphasized at the Inauguration that increasing parking is the wrong thing to do to solve our transportation problems and that we must instead expand transit and other alternatives to cars.

Yippee! Almost immediately after the election, representatives from these new Supervisors' offices were calling us asking for copies of the SFBC agenda. Gone are the days when even our supporters on the previous Board felt compelled by political expediency to try to squeeze bike issues onto the tail-end of foolish, Chronicle-inspired initiatives for more parking. With this new Board, we are in the joyous position of having to adjust our agenda to take advantage of this opportunity which is greater than we predicted.

Happily, this is an example of preparation meeting opportunity. San Francisco's bicyclists are already organized. Please read SFBC Agenda 2001: Thinking Big for our first thoughts on the SFBC's new, bolder agenda.