Coalition Action in Bayview, Excelsior
The SFBC recently won a $20,000 award from the San Francisco Dept. of Public Health to provide bike safety education and advocacy tools to residents of the Bayview/Hunters Point and Outer Mission/Excelsior neighborhoods. Neither the Bayview nor Excelsior, though massive in size, has a bike shop, depriving community members of basic bike maintenance, safety materials, and an accessible environment for learning riding skills.
The SFBC will hire an outreach coordinator to organize in these two neighborhoods, including working with other community groups based in the areas. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.
We will still need members' help organizing our free helmet and light giveaways, free skills and maintenance workshops, and more. Also, we are exploring the possibilities for opening bike shops in these neighborhoods and could use your help. If you are interested in finding out more, call Leah at 431-BIKE, x-2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing for People, Not Cars
UC Hastings College of Law is proposing to build a gigantic 875-space parking garage at Golden Gate and Larkin, one of the most transit accessible places in the city. Instead of building parking, they could build housing for several hundred people at that location. The college tore down two apartment buildings at the proposed garage site years ago and promised to build new housing there. Hastings is now reneging on their promise. Transportation experts agree the neighborhood cannot accommodate more cars. Muni buses on McAllister already suffer severe traffic-related delays, and the possibility of adding a bike lane on Golden Gate would be jeopardized by this proposal. (Not to mention that Hastings is part of the University of California system, which means that California taxpayers will be paying for the garage.)
You can help by calling to register your opposition of the garage with State Senator John Burton at 415-557-1300 and Assemblywoman Carole Migden at 415-557-3000.
Golden Gate Bridge Access Victory
After receiving more than 1,300 letters and cards from cyclists, including many SFBC members, the Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors voted to restore full bike access on the Bridge as of March 1! After months of a partial ban on bikes since September 11, we can again ride across the Bridge at all hours.
Thank you to everyone who wrote letters and attended hearings. And special thanks to the members of the SF Board of Supervisors who also serve on the Bridge Board - Tom Ammiano, Tony Hall, and Mark Leno - for their strong support of 24-hour bike access. (Supervisor Leland Yee was absent for the vote.)
But all is not yet right on the Golden Gate Bridge for bikes. Some Bridge Board members have proposed charging a toll for bicyclists and pedestrians. To register your opposition to this idea, see www.goldengate.org, or call the SFBC to get involved.
SFBC Tracks Crashes
Curious about the City's worst intersections for traffic crashes? The SFBC certainly was and thanks to a few tech-savvy volunteers, we now have access to information about every reported car crash on every street in SF. Combined with specialized mapping software, the SFBC can now map out dangerous streets and intersections. It's a powerful tool in our campaigns for bicycle and pedestrian safety.
For example, we've learned there were 515 crashes (including car-car, car-ped, and car-bike collisions) on Alemany Blvd. between Jan. '95 and June '01. That's a huge, unacceptable number, especially when compared to the mere 28 crashes on Cayuga St., which is just one block over from Alemany.
A huge thank you to SFBC volunteers Ken Kelton and John Radle for their work creating this amazing resource for the Coalition's Bike Network campaigns.
SF Bicycle Plan Update Moving Forward
The Parking & Traffic Commission voted in February to approve the city Bicycle Program's plan to update the city's bicycle plan. Peter Tannen, the Bicycle Program Manager, will soon accept proposals from consultants to develop a network of streets where bicyclists are protected from car traffic. The consultants are expected to begin work in July 2002 and complete work by June 2003.
The SFBC is seeking funding to hire its own community planners to assist the city traffic engineers. The goal is to get community approval for every section of the bike network, including those places where traffic lane or parking removal is necessary.
The city's effort, conceived in 1999 and funded in 2000, has been long delayed due to understaffing at the Department of Parking & Traffic. The Department's Executive Director Fred Hamdun has committed to expediting the delivery of bicycle projects.
SFBC Board Elects New Officers
The SFBC Board of Directors elected Dale Danley as the organization's president for 2002. Kate Bickert was reelected secretary and Chris Fenster was reelected treasurer. Danley has been on the board since January 2000, serving as secretary and as the leader of the SFBC's process to endorse candidates for elected office. Danley is also the secretary of the board of Transportation for a Livable City, the SFBC's sister organization. The SFBC sends a hearty thank you to outgoing board president Maggie Robbins, who presided over the organization for the last two years during a period of rapid growth. We appreciate Maggie's hard work and look forward to her continued involvement as a board member.
National Bike Summit
In March 275 bicyclists from around the country converged on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., for the National Bike Summit. The SFBC staff met with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
The SFBC sought funding for widening the sidewalks of the Broadway Tunnel and supported the national bicyclist agenda, which includes the Conserve By Bike amendment to the national energy bill that will generate about $6 million for bicycle transportation promotion and the Bicycle Commuter Act, which would amend the IRS code to allow employers to reimburse bicyclists before taxes for some of their commuting costs.
The national bicycle lobby is gearing up for a tough fight over the next 18 months as Congress debates reauthorization of the federal legislation that determines how all federal transportation subsidies are divided up. The highway lobby is fighting to reduce funding for alternatives, while the bicycle lobby seeks to promote the health and community benefits of bicycling. The bicycle industry - including the Bikes Belong Coalition - and advocates have invested nearly $1 million in the national effort, called "America Bikes."
Major Bike Legislation Introduced
The California Bicycle Coalition, the statewide advocacy group, has helped launch significant bike legislation at the state level.
Senate Bill 1555, sponsored by Senator Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, would provide $10 million annually to promote bicyclist and pedestrian safety. The bill proposes adding $4 onto all motor vehicle moving violation fines to establish a Pedestrian and Bicyclist Mobility and Safety Fund, to be overseen by the state Department of Health Services. (None of the monies collected for traffic fines in California currently goes to pedestrian or bicycle safety.)
To support and monitor progress on SB1555, check out www.calbike.org.