Bike Parking Required in New Office Buildings
Kudos to the Board of Supervisors, and particularly Supervisor Mark Leno, for their support of expanding existing bike parking legislation to now require bike parking in all new and majorly renovated commercial buildings in San Francisco. The legislation, introduced by Leno, will fill a key gap in the existing Bicycle Transit Enhancement Plan that required showers and lockers for employees in new and renovated commercial buildings.
We continue to work with Leno's office, as well as the Planning Department, to fix some other discrepancies and holes in the requirements - including increasing the number of bike parking spaces required by law in buildings.
Unfortunately, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and the Union Square Association have publicly criticized the effort, claiming this imposes a "heavy financial burden" and even left open the threat of a legal challenge. If you have any connections to BOMA or the Union Square Association, please contact them and let them know that you think accommodating bikes is good for their business.
"911" Emergency Line Educated on Bike Issues
Thanks to the Emergency Communications Department, otherwise known as "911," for educating their employees on bike issues. During the summer an internal memo was distributed throughout the department regarding "Incidents Involving Bicycles." It includes information about drivers' and cyclists' responsibilities when involved in collisions, including the fact that a crime has occurred when a motorist cuts off a cyclist without actual contact, but still presenting a hazard. The memo resulted from a meeting between the San Francisco Police Department, the 911 Department, and the SFBC. We are also still working with police, who say they will produce and show a training video to all officers this fall on bicycle issues.
|Great San Francisco Bike Ride a Great Success! Many thanks to the 50+ volunteers who helped make September's Great San Francisco Bike Ride a huge success. More than 500 people rode the five-mile, car-free route an hour before the pro racers started the San Francisco Grand Prix. We signed up a record 140 new members between the ride and our booth at the Grand Prix expo! The ride also raised more than $7,000 for the SFBC's work to make our streets safer for cyclists Ñ and gained us respect for organizing such a successful first-year event. We're already thinking about how to make next year's ride even bigger and better!|
Time to Redefine "Significant Impact"
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is designed to protect the environment by requiring careful analysis of "significant environmental impacts" before developments can be approved. However, as implemented by the San Francisco Environmental Review Officer, CEQA can be very bad for bikes. The problem is that automobile congestion is defined as a "significant environmental impact" even if the congestion is a few seconds of extra delay caused by the replacement of a mixed traffic lane with a bike or transit-only lane.
The consequences for our proposal to put bike lanes on Howard Street project are absurd. While the project itself will cost less than $7,000 to paint a stripe and change the "No Parking" signs, the SF Planning Department estimated it could cost about $70,000 and take nearly a year to analyze. The Fifth Street bike lanes proposed in 1998 are still being delayed for "environmental review."
CEQA specifically states that local governments have the authority to decide what constitutes a "significant impact." We are looking to change local definitions to reflect common sense, so that automobile delays caused by transportation improvements such as bike lanes, transit lanes, and wider sidewalks, do not constitute a "significant [negative] environmental impact." Stay tuned, and if you know a good CEQA lawyer, have her give us a call.
SFBC Well Represented on City Task Force
Of the new 12-member Pedestrian Safety and Street Resurfacing Working Group established in August by the Board of Supervisors, six representatives are SFBC members. The group will review funding needs for the backlog of pedestrian safety, disability access, bicycle safety, street resurfacing, and school area safety projects, and issue their recommendations to the Board in October.
A bond initiative to raise funds for pedestrian, bicycle, and street resurfacing needs is one of the possibilities the Working Group will consider.
No SFBC Endorsements in November
In August the SFBC Board of Directors reviewed the public offices and initiatives that will be put before San Francisco voters in November. In keeping with the established practice of taking positions only on matters that relate to bicycles and transportation, or matters that directly affect our ability to participate in the decision-making process, the board decided not to endorse candidates or take positions for or against any of the initiatives.
Regional Advocacy Rejuvenated
Bay Area bicycle coalitions will enjoy better cooperation and representation at the regional level with a renewed Regional Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (REBAC). Founded to address regional issues that transcend counties, such as regional planning and access to the bay's bridges and BART, REBAC has been all-volunteer and independent of the local bicycle coalitions since 1986.
REBAC's recent changes make it more truly a "coalition of coalitions," as the directors of the local bicycle coalitions appoint REBAC's Board of Directors. SFBC Director Dave Snyder is the new chair; former chair Alex Zuckermann is currently serving as volunteer executive director.
REBAC is seeking funding to pay a coordinator for strengthened regional efforts. Priorities include access on the bridges (mainly the Richmond-San Rafael and the SF-Oakland bridges), improved support for Caltrans' regional bicycle coordinator (whose existence we owe to REBAC), dedicated funding for bicycles at the regional level, and improved regional support for Bike to Work Day.
Visit REBAC online at www. bayareabikes.org for more info.