Today, as part of their Strategic Plan presentation, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will present its five-year Bicycle Strategy, a roadmap for growing bicycling over the next five years. San Francisco is at a crucial crossroads; through this strategy, the agency will decide how quickly — or slowly — to add and improve bikeways in your neighborhood.
In the last five years, the number of people bicycling in San Francisco has increased a dramatic 71%, yet funding for bicycle projects has not kept up with the growth of bicycling.
The Bicycle Strategy will set benchmarks for the amount of funding for improving bicycling in San Francisco – this includes everything from adding new bikeways and upgrading the design of current bikeways, adding bike parking at stores you shop at and campaigns to help educate and encourage more people to bike safely. The Strategy doesn’t lay out specific plans for bikeways on certain streets or dictate exactly where bicycle corrals should be placed – rather, it is taking the bigger picture look at how San Francisco should be investing in growing bicycling across the city in the years to come.
Key Findings from the City’s Draft Bicycle Strategy
- Bicycling is growing – Citywide, bicycling has grown 71% in 6 years. The percentage of people biking to work in some neighborhoods in San Francisco is at 15% or higher, though citywide, 3.5% of people bike to work according to Census Data.
- Current pace of new infrastructure isn’t meeting the demand – while biking is growing fast, the City isn’t even able to meet its current goal of 10 miles of new bikeways each year and only 10% of the current bicycle network is designed to meet most people’s level of comfort. The SFMTA considers the network of bikeways in San Francisco today as fragmented.
- Click here to download a full copy of the city’s Bicycle Strategy.
A Smart Transportation Investment
Investing in bicycling is the cheapest and quickest way to solve pressing transportation challenges in San Francisco, yet the SFMTA has not been investing enough. The SFMTA currently spends a shocking 0.46% of its capital budget on bicycling according to its own analysis.
This tiny investment has had a big impact on streets like Cesar Chavez Street, Market Street and Fell Street. What would happen if the City increased that investment? Would the City have already built a safer Masonic Avenue that the community overwhelmingly supported in 2012? Could the City have extended the green separated bikeway on Market Street east of 8th Street to the Embarcadero?
Time to Get Serious
Today, the SFMTA will present three Strategic Plan Scenarios for growing bicycling and meeting the City’s goal of 20% of trips by bike by 2020 in the core of the city. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition strongly encourages the City to adopt the System Build-Out Scenario, which add and upgrade safe, comfortable bikeways, more bike parking and safety improvements to welcome more people to bicycling and meet the City’s 20% goal. This is the cheapest way to relieve the huge pressure on our transit system and improve the health and safety of all San Franciscans.
The System Build-out Scenario would upgrade 200 miles of existing bikeweays to make them safer and more inviting and add 35 miles of new bikeways in addition to expanding the many programs, like bicycle education and Sunday Streets, that locals so love. You could probably make a list of five streets you ride on often that need safety improvements for bikes. If the SFMTA commits to funding the System Build-out scenario, those streets could be fixed fast.
Take Action! Tell the SFMTA it’s time to invest in bicycling.
Dear Mayor Lee and Director Reiskin
[INTRODUCE YOURSELF, WHERE YOU (AND YOUR FAMILY) LIVE, AND YOUR OCCUPATION]
I urge you increase your investment of biking in San Francisco and commit to the System Build-out Scenario of the Bicycle Strategy. The city’s current investment of 0.46% of SFMTA capital funding is not enough to make biking safer for me and my family and friends. Nor is it enough to grow biking city wide so that more people can feel safe and welcome biking in San Francisco.
[ADD ANY STORIES ABOUT BIKEWAYS YOU'D LIKE TO SEE IMPROVED WHERE YOU LIVE AND WORK AND THE REASONS WHY YOU THINK THE CITY SHOULD INVEST MORE TO INCREASE BICYCLING.]