(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) —San Francisco will be nearly doubling the miles of bike lanes on City streets with today’s San Francisco Superior Court’s full lifting of a four-year-old Bike Plan Injunction. San Francisco is poised to stripe a record 35 bike lanes on key streets such as Townsend St., North Point St., 17th St., Portola Dr., and Ocean Ave. and once again make all streets safer for everyone. Today’s ruling coupled with the City’s commitment to safer, friendlier streets will propel San Francisco into becoming one of America’s most bicycle-friendly cities.
“We are celebrating San Francisco’s freedom to once again make streets safer for everyone and look forward to real improvements on streets in a matter of days,” says Renée Rivera, Acting Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, an 11,000-member nonprofit that promotes the bicycle for everyday transportation. “This is the first time in San Francisco’s history that this many bike lane projects are approved and ready to be striped. These long-awaited improvements will help growing numbers of people feel more confident, comfortable and safe when they bike to shop, to work and to play.”
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.
“This is a great day for San Francisco. Making streets safer and increasing the number of people biking in our city will bring a range of environmental and health benefits that everyone in San Francisco can be proud of,” says Mayor Gavin Newsom. “In the coming weeks and months City workers will be out striping bike lanes and adding innovations on streets all across San Francisco with the goal of creating a truly world-class bicycling city.”
Surveys show that more than one-third of San Franciscans would ride if streets had bike lanes and were more inviting for bicycling. Official City counts show bicycling activity increases, on average, by 50% after a bike lane is added, including the following noteworthy increases where bike lanes have been added in the past: Howard St. (300% increase); Valencia St. (144%); Arguello (67%).
“San Francisco is seeing firsthand how improvements like the green, fully separated bike lanes on Market Street are increasing everyone’s safety and comfort and attracting more people biking,” says Rivera of the innovation that was granted by the Court’s November partial lifting of the Bike Plan injunction. “We are eager for these types of innovations to be added to streets all across San Francisco to create connections and make our city an easier and safer to place to live, shop, and do business.”
The Bike Plan Injunction was imposed in June 2006 and stemmed from a lawsuit contesting the environmental review and May 2005 adoption of San Francisco Bike Plan that had unanimous approval of the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Gavin Newsom. The Superior Court forbid the City to implement any Bike Plan projects until it completed a full Environmental Impact Report and re-adopted the Bike Plan. In November 2009, the City received partial relief from the injunction and quickly implemented projects such as new bike lanes, on-street bike parking corrals, “sharrows” (shared-lane arrows) and the fully separated and green bike lanes on Market Street.