Bike Network of Our Dreams is Within Reach Leah Shahum

Imagine a San Francisco on the brink of becoming a Bike Mecca - a city where people from 8 to 80 years old feel safe and comfortable biking for transportation. Believe it or not, that San Francisco is not as far off in our future as you might guess.

The public and political support is there - 76% of San Franciscans say they support more bike lanes and more than two-thirds of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is actively pro-bike. The key to how fast we reach our Bike Mecca no longer depends so much on outside forces. These days, the most important factor is how quickly and how strongly we can organize ourselves!

Recent Victories Thanks in large part to SFBC members' efforts, we've recently won some major victories, including: final approval of bike lanes on Polk Street and Arguello Blvd.; city funding for a community planning process of better biking, pedestrian, and transit conditions on Market Street; approval for hundreds of official "Bicycles Allowed Full Use of Lane" signs; and a trial period for colored bike lanes that will help differentiate bike space from auto lanes. Also, plans are under way for monitored bike parking stations at both the BART Embarcadero station and the Caltrain 4th & King station.

In addition to these piece-by-piece successes, Muni has committed to installing bike racks on all buses within two years; city legislation now requires bike parking in all new and renovated commercial buildings (see Quick Releases); and, most significantly, the SFBC will be closely engaged in the updating of the city's official Bicycle Plan.

The new-and-improved Bike Plan will fill in the gaps of the existing Bike Network. It calls for "clearly designated rights of way for bicycles that either segregate bicycle traffic from other traffic or slows motor vehicle traffic to very slow speeds that feel safe for bicyclists." The Bike Plan will also propose new standards, including, we hope, a requirement that bike lanes be paved with special colored pavement so that they are smoother and more distinct.

Next Priorities We are currently identifying the next group of streets that should be prioritized for SFBC grassroots campaigns, and we're going to need lots of member involvement to be successful. Some range from broad, neighborhood-wide issues that may take years to more straightforward, focused campaigns for a few additional blocks of bike lanes. Based on factors such as their importance to the Bike Network as a whole, geographic diversity, feasibility, and members' interest, we're kicking off the following new SFBC campaigns:

Bayview/Potrero Hill Committee
A group of enthusiastic SFBC'ers in southeast San Francisco have met several times to help define our priorities, which include improving bike routes between Bayview and other neighborhoods, such as Potrero and Mission; improving bike routes within Bayview, particularly linking family/children's destinations; and educating drivers about bicyclists' rights. (See article) We also hope to encourage a bike shop to move to the Bayview/Potrero area, because there is currently none there.

Polk Street Counter-Flow Bike Lane
Building on the success of the Polk St. bike lanes, this project aims to get a northbound bike lane on Polk between Market and Grove Sts. This counter-flow bike lane (moving in the opposite direction of car traffic) would connect people biking from Market St. to the Polk St. bike lanes without having to travel on super-hectic Van Ness Ave. or Larkin St.

Marina/Fisherman's Wharf Committee
Much of this area should be dedicated to foot and bike traffic only, but right now it is, simply put, kind of hellish for biking. Help us figure out how to make it bike heaven. This could mean bike lanes on Jefferson St. or Beach St. or North Point near Fisherman's Wharf area and connecting with Crissy Field and the Presidio.

Cabrillo Avenue Bike Lanes
We've got great north/south bike lanes in the Richmond District thanks to the Arguello bike lanes...now how about the east/west connection on Cabrillo Ave.?! District 11 Committee The neighborhoods in District 11, including Outer Mission and Excelsior, could use some serious help when it comes to bike improvements. If you're interested in where and how we should make it happen, we definitely need your help. Like the Bayview neighborhood, this area is also without a bike shop.

Post Street Bike Lanes
We want to extend the Post. St. bike lanes by removing one traffic lane. There are already bike lanes on Post between Presidio and Steiner. We particularly need help from members who live in Japantown or who speak Japanese.

Continuing SFBC Efforts

Get Involved! To keep informed of these committees' activities, check out the SFBC's Bike Network web page at www.sfbike.org/ campaigns/bicycle_network. To volunteer in any way for any of these committees - or to suggest new ones - please contact Leah at 431-BIKE, ext. 2 or email shahum@sfbike.org. San Francisco can become the Bike Mecca of our dreams. Your involvement will make it happen