Quick Releases

Welcome New SFBC Staff

The SFBC is pleased to welcome new staff members Heather Thomson and Tiea Dublin. Heather joins the SFBC and Transportation for a Livable City as our Development Director to help ensure we have the resources to continue fighting for bicycle safety and transportation sanity for the next decade. Heather's experience includes development work for Habitat for Humanity.

Tiea Dublin joins the SFBC as a part-time Community Organizer in the Bayview/Hunters Point and Outer Mission/Excelsior neighborhoods. Tiea has experience organizing in neighborhoods throughout San Francisco, as well as in New York City. He has already worked to plan several successful events during Bike to Work Month. Tiea's position is funded by a $20,000 award from the SF Department of Public Health to work with neighborhood-based community groups to distribute hundreds of free bicycle helmets, lights, and other safety material in the Bayview and Excelsior areas. The funding was provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

Help SF Go Car-Free

Although San Francisco may have started Critical Mass, other parts of the world are well ahead of us when it comes to going car-free. Car-free events have been held in Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Tajikistan, South Korea, Togo, and Nepal. Millions of residents participated in Bogota, Colombia's third annual car-free day on February 7, 2002, while two other Colombian cities, Cali and Valledupar, held their own first-ever car-free day.

This year, organizers in Europe are setting aside September 13 - 27 for car-free events, with Car-Free Day taking place Sunday, September 22.

San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell has already said she would introduce a resolution to the Board of Supervisors in support of a car-free day. Now it's up to us to generate ideas and a date and to work with city agencies and neighborhood organizations to get the necessary support. Then we can go to Supervisor Maxwell for her further support. Let's spread the word! For more information, contact Sue Vaughan at svaugha@muse.sfusd.k12.ca.us.

Community Rallies Against Garage

Photo by Teresa Ojeda
Rarely do you see as much community unity as we saw on the steps of the Hastings College of Law on April 23, where dozens of SFBC members joined more than 75 people from at least a dozen community groups to oppose Hasting's proposed 885-car garage. The group marched from the school's steps to the parking lot where the garage is proposed, placing giant cardboard houses on top of cars to signify our rallying cry of "Housing for People Not Cars."

The rally followed a hearing of the College's Board of Directors at which they approved the Environmental Impact Report for the garage, but delayed any decision on the project itself until another hearing on June 7. We are cautiously optimistic that this leaves time to further promote the community's preferred alternative of a mixed-use development with housing and far less parking.

The SFBC worked closely with Supervisors Chris Daly and Mark Leno on a resolution opposing the garage, which unanimously passed the SF Board of Supervisors. Unfortunately, because Hastings is a state entity, the city has little control over what they do-even if it's a horrendous land use decision such as an 885-car garage in the most transit-dense and pedestrian-dangerous area of the city. You can still help by sending a fax to our state representatives opposing the garage. Check out www.sfbike.org for more details.

Big Bucks for Bike Network Plan

The SFBC's efforts to build the Bicycle Network got a big boost recently with a $226,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation. The San Francisco Transportation Authority applied for the grant on our behalf. Ours was one of 15 grants awarded statewide for community-based planning.

The grant will fund the SFBC's work to help residents and their neighborhood associations understand the implications of the Bicycle Network in their neighborhoods, assess the costs and benefits of various alternatives, and recommend preferred alternatives for the network. The SFBC will work in conjunction with traffic engineers consulting for the Department of Parking & Traffic to analyze alternatives identified in each neighborhood.

Bicycle Information Services Threatened

The Department of Parking & Traffic has canceled its contract with the SFBC to provide bicycle information services: the 585-BIKE information hotline, the "biking_resources" section of our web site, and the distribution of free maps, stickers, and safety information to the public. The cancellation creates a $30,000 hole in the SFBC's budget, which the SFBC will replace with other sources of funding in order to continue offering some of the popular services such as route guidance and referrals to lawyers, and to prevent staff layoffs.

Meanwhile, the SFBC will lobby to reinstate the bicycle information services on contract with a nonprofit. Though DPT's stated plans are to provide those services with existing staff, they have no budget to do so and will have to pull resources from other priorities to continue the program. "Now that the DPT's Bicycle Program is finally staffed with a team of talented engineers and planners, it doesn't make any sense to burden them with stuffing envelopes and answering customer service-type questions," says Dave Snyder, SFBC executive director. "We need them to focus on their expertise: planning and engineering a bicycle-friendly city."

London Charges for Congestion

Beginning February 2003, London drivers will face a weekday charge of about $7 a day to drive into the heart of the city. Mayor Ken Livingstone announced the charges as the centerpiece of a plan to reduce traffic and congestion in London's busy downtown area. The fees will go to fund and revitalize London's extensive but run-down transit system.

Call for Golden Wheel Award Nominees

The SFBC's Golden Wheel Awards Gala, taking place in early October this year, is an annual event to honor individuals and organizations who have contributed above and beyond the call of duty to our mission of safer streets and more livable neighborhoods. If you know a good candidate for these awards, let us know by contacting Dave Snyder at 431-BIKE, ext. 3.