Bike Plan Lawsuit
JUDGE LIFTS INJUNCTION ON NEW PROJECTS
On August 6, 2010, The San Francisco Superior Court fully lifted the four-year-old Bike Plan Injunction. Judge Peter Busch handed down his ruling, finding that the city has complied with CEQA and the court's orders. This ruling gives the City the green light to stripe 35 approved bike lane projects on key streets like Townsend, North Point, Laguna Honda, 17th, Portola Drive and Ocean Avenue and once again make streets safer for everyone.
Despite the four-year absence in significant street improvements, bicycle ridership has surged by more than 53% and the corresponding demand for improvements is impacting every neighborhood in San Francisco.
In November 2009, the Superior Court granted a partial lifting, allowing the City to stripe 10 projects, install sidewalk bike parking and implement other innovations like on-street bike parking, the separated green bike lanes on Market Street and a bike box on Scott Street. This full lifting completely dissolves any court-imposed limitations on the City's ability to improve the streets for biking and the City can now catch up with the widespread demand for improvements that is impacting every neighborhood in San Francisco.
This is the first time in San Francisco's history that so many bike lane projects are approved and ready to be striped, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is pleased that the City is acting so quickly to get new improvements on the ground to help the growing numbers of people feel more comfortable, confident and safe when they bike to stop, to work and to play.
The SF Bicycle Coalition extends a hearty thanks and congratulations to the SF MTA staff who spent countless hours on the Environmental Impact Report, the City Attorney's Office who defended the city's actions in court over the years and Mayor Newsom for his leadership and commitment to making streets safer.Review the judge's decision (PDF)Read more about the lifting of the injunction!
Home Stretch: Final Court Date Set for Bike Plan Injunction
On Tuesday, June 22, 9:30am, the the City Attorney will present its final motion to the San Francisco Superior Court to dissolve the four-year-old Bike Plan injunction. This court date is the last procedural hurdle that will allow the city to start catching up with the widespread demand for biking improvements (there's been a 53% increase in the number of people biking in the last few years) and a backlog of significant projects. This is the home stretch of years of work by San Francisco Bicycle Coalition staff, members and volunteers we're on track to see 20 new bike lanes and other improvements on city streets by the end of this year.
What happens on Tuesday? After hearing the City's motion, the Judge may issue a tentative ruling or he may wait 90 days to issue a final ruling. It's been a long four years, but we're almost there.
Superior Court Gives OK to Some Bike Improvements
November 25, 2009: The SF Superior Court has partially lifted the three-year-old Bike Plan injunction that has prevented all physical improvements for bicycles in San Francisco. This ruling allows the City to move forward with striping ten bike lanes and painting shared-lane bike stencils ("sharrows") and colored bike lanes and installing hundreds of bike parking racks all across San Francisco. This ruling come on the heels of a city report that bicycle ridership has increased a whopping 53% since 2006.
June 26, 2009: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) voted YES to adopt the 2009 San Francisco Bicycle Plan, an ambitious roadmap meant to boost an already-impressive transportation mode to new heights of safety, convenience, and ubiquity. Adoption of the Bike Plan, accompanied by the full environmental review (EIR) of it, are keys to unlocking the injunction. See our Bike Plan page for the latest information. Read more about the injunction's current state and history on the City Attorney's website
November 2006: Superior Court Judge Peter Busch handed down his verdict on the lawsuit against the San Francisco Bicycle Plan, and it's tough — the preliminary injunction in effect since June 2006 continues in force, forbidding the city from physical streetscape changes for the sake of bike improvements (such as parking removal and lane re-allocation, even shared-lane "sharrows" and U-rack bike parking racks) until the city has completed a full environmental review on the Bike Plan.
read the Bike Plan lawsuit ruling here (PDF, 982 Kb)
SFBC Press Release on the ruling (11/8/06)
Judge Busch acknowledged that the suit was not a matter of "bikes vs. cars" but rather a narrow question of process under CEQA (the state environmental review law) — whether the Bike Plan, adopted unanimously last June by the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Newsom, has the potential to cause significant environmental impacts in and of itself, or is (as the city argued) a set of guiding principles and recommendations to steer San Francisco's progress toward a more bike-friendly city, leaving the specific change-making projects to another process of review and legislation. Under the court's ruling, the city will have to carry out a full-scale CEQA review on the 2005 Bike Plan as a single thing, and it remains to be seen how long this will take.
We certainly need big changes for better everyday bicycling in this city, but the Bike Plan alone won't make them — to make a real Citywide Bike Network happen we need an Implementation Plan with firm dates and dollars and deliverables, and we look to the Board and Mayor to commit in earnest to an aggressive program to move the plan forward, towards the official goal of 10% of trips in SF by bike by 2010 (about 36 months from now, as Mayor Newsom noted in his Oct. 26 State of the City Address).
Media accounts of the 9/19/06 hearing:
Matt Smith tells an interesting tale of some of the Bike Plan lawsuit characters in an earlier adventure (SF Weekly, 9/27/06)
the City's brief (arguments in defense of the City, 8/21/06)
Documents and Press