New SFBC Committee Promoting Improvements in Bayview by Anna Sojourner

The City has made a lot of bike improvements over the last decade, but the Bayview hasn't gotten its share of the pie. It is an area characterized by particularly wide streets and fast car speeds. With major changes coming to the neighborhood, many people consider it now-or-never for bike improvements.

In a lot of ways the Bayview is a great place for bikes. It's a short flat ride from downtown and the Mission and it is a flat route to the south. Yet it lacks much in the way of bike facilities and there haven't been concerted efforts to encourage residents in the area to try biking, despite the obvious benefits to the community, including health (asthma is a big problem in the area and air pollution from cars and trucks is one of the chief causes); safety (bike lanes help slow car traffic); economic benefits (clearly, bikes are cheaper than cars); and independence for the many kids in the area.

To help promote biking in the Bayview and to improve riding conditions, the SFBC has started a new Bayview, or District 10, Committee. We are working to identify the streets that most need improvements, emphasizing connecting Bayview bike routes with other neighborhoods and bike routes to recreational areas within Bayview. The neighborhood lacks a bike shop, so it is important to continue our popular free bike repair clinics and helmet giveaways. If you live, work, or ever ride in the area, please join our efforts to make a difference in the neighborhood by joining the committee, or simply by volunteering for a few hours.

Already we have made presentations to local neighborhood organizations that have embraced our efforts, and we have met with city departments such as Muni and DPT to share our frustrations and suggestions. Our work is important now, as construction proceeds on the Third Street Muni light rail, scheduled to open by early 2005. We need to make sure that bikes are accommodated on this key north/south route between the Bayview and other SF neighborhoods. Along with consideration of bikes sharing Third St. with cars and light rail, we are also demanding bike lanes on both Indiana and Illinois Avenues - less busy parallel streets.

You can help! Attend the next SFBC Bayview Committee meeting and any Muni Third Street light rail meetings and SF Port Authority meetings to insist that bicycles be accommodated in the redesign of Third Street. For details on these meetings, check out our web site at www.sfbike.org/ campaigns/bicycle_network/ southeast_sf.html.

To volunteer, call Leah at 431-BIKE, ext. 2 or email shahum@sfbike.org. And to provide comments on bike issues to the important SF Redevelopment Agency Bayview Hunter's Point Project Area Committee, call 643-8562 or go to www.bvhp-pac.org.