SF Bicycle Coalition, February 4th, 2014Yesterday the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board of Directors held an all-day retreat to lay out the agency’s priorities for 2014. A single message emerged loud and clear as speaker after speaker urged the Board to prioritize safety and affordable transportation options on San Francisco’s streets.
It’s clear: the public wants street safety prioritized not merely in words, but in committing action and funding.Stephanie Kwan, a 45-year-old who bikes with her two kids to school, told the Board that she does not bike out of “necessity,” but because she’s “practical” and it’s just easier and faster by bike. She estimates five other families bike regularly at the school of 500 students. Parents tell her that more would ride if there were calmer streets and more dedicated bikeways.
MTA Board members spoke strongly about the agency’s commitment to safety, and they unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Vision Zero policy of setting the goal of zero traffic deaths in 10 years. MTA staff admitted that bicycle and pedestrian projects have been “historically underfunded,” and they laid out grand visions and encouraging words for bike and pedestrian plans.
Many expressed frustration that these plans fell far short of real commitment to street safety. The MTA’s initial baseline budget — shared publicly for the first time here — looked dismally like business-as-usual, lacking a significant uptick in bicycle and pedestrian funding. Priya Sawhney of Central City Collaborative, a group that represents long-income tenants in the Tenderloin and SoMa, shared stories of seniors who are too scared of fast-moving traffic to even cross the street. “If we really believe in Vision Zero, it would be great to actually implement the plans,” said Sawhney.
MTA Board members seemed to recognize the disconnect between words and actions, and they directed staff to make safety a priority in this budget, which is being developed now and will be voted on in March. All eyes are now on the MTA to take action.
“We need to do whatever it takes to make this happen,” said Board Chair Tom Nolan, emphasizing the need to be mindful of our most vulnerable road users – seniors, kids and people with disabilities. “We just have to act as quickly as possible. This rises to the top as far as I’m concerned.” “Even if the transportation measures don’t pass, this is not something we can’t do,” said Board member Cheryl Brinkman, referring to the transportation funding measures likely to be on the November ballot.
Director Joel Ramos repeated concerns that a commitment to a Vision Zero policy was not strong enough. He directly asked staff for a commitment to implement 24 bicycle and pedestrian safety projects (one per month) within the next 2 years, as called for in the resolution they passed.Supervisor Jane Kim’s legislative aide, Sunny Angulo, spoke at the hearing, to reiterate that 60% of traffic injuries occur on a mere 6% of our streets and should be preventable. She said the Supervisor is looking to the MTA Board to fund and commit to actions implemented by a Crisis Intervention Team as part of Vision Zero.
Unfortunately the call for action seemed to be watered down by MTA staff. Executive Director Ed Reiskin’s explanation of when and how near-term improvements on the city’s most troublesome streets (mostly in SoMa and the Tenderloin) would happen was unclear, at best. Instead of a lack of funding, he blamed the city’s long and cumbersome public process for re-allocating street space.
Reiskin’s behavior was in stark contrast to Police Chief Greg Suhr, who stepped up two weeks ago to commit to concrete actions in his department’s support for Vision Zero. Meanwhile, despite strong stated Board leadership, Reiskin continues to be noncommittal — at least publicly — in saying how his department will act on the street safety crisis at hand.
This lack of urgency and timely delivery of near-term street safety improvements from the MTA staff was a common theme throughout the meeting, with concerns raised by Board members and community members. The myth that “we’re going as fast as we can” is being questioned by people both inside and outside the agency. A recent report by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority detailed the chronic problems with project management at the MTA and other City agencies that work to improve transportation. These are long-known problems that the agencies have had in their power to fix for years, and still do.
The reality is that it will take real leadership to get the MTA to choose to really go after the vision the agency has set for itself through its Strategic Plan and the 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy. It will require leadership to move away from funding biking at less than 1% of the agency’s budget and towards a budget that reflects the agency’s top strategic plan priority: “Create a safer transportation experience for everyone.”
Huge thanks to the many members and community leaders who took the time to speak about the importance of funding biking! It is absolutely crucial that these decision-makers hear from you. In fact, the SFMTA and Board of Supervisors will be voting on whether to fund biking or to maintain the status quo at a number of upcoming hearings. These decision-makers need to hear from everyone who cares about making our streets less chaotic and less stressful for everyone. Email email@example.com to get involved in the campaign to fund biking, and check out our earlier blog to learn more about what 8% for biking would mean for you.
SF Bicycle Coalition, February 3rd, 2014
Tomorrow the SFMTA Board of Directors will discuss the future of the City’s work to improve and increase biking: Should the City continue the status quo of eking out a few improvements every few years, or should the agency put real resources behind improving biking – now?
The MTA Directors will be giving feedback to its staff on its new budget, and voting on a resolution to adopt Vision Zero, which is a proven action strategy to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on our streets to zero over the next decade. The agency will also be hearing about the future of its 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy. Though it’s tempting to get excited by the strong language of the Vision Zero resolution and draft project list in the Bicycle Strategy (notably, a year overdue), the sad reality is that neither piece of paper is currently backed by any resources in the agency’s draft budget. They’re just nice words on paper. And they’ll stay that way unless the agency Board takes action.
The shocking truth is that, right now, the City spends less than 1% of its transportation budget on biking. The MTA’s 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy’s “Full Build Out Scenario” calls for the agency to spend approximately 8% of its overall budget on biking. What would this mean?
<1% vs. 8%
<1% Means by 2018 …
- Maybe completing the 10 remaining miles called for in the current bicycle plan
- Maybe expanding bike share to 500 bikes
- Maybe adding 1,750 bike parking spaces
8% Means by 2018 …
- Completing the 10 remaining miles called for in the current bicycle plan
- Upgrading 200 miles of the existing bicycle network to premium bike facilities
- Constructing 35 miles of new bicycle facilities
- Upgrading 200 intersections to accommodate bicycles
- Installing 50,000 bicycle parking spaces
- Expanding bike share to 3,000+ bikes
- Providing expanded support programs like more bike education classes.
It’s time to fund biking. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved in our campaign to Fund Biking! There are many opportunities coming up in the next few months to let the City know that less than 1% is just not OK.
Follow our live tweet of the MTA Board meeting at twitter.com/sfbike #fundbiking
SF Bicycle Coalition, January 29th, 2014
In the 1940s, the City created a freeway that ran through the heart of San Francisco, splitting a community in two. Cesar Chávez Street, then Army Street, was built as a high-speed, multi-lane traffic artery to connect to the 101 and 280 freeways. For years, it remained one of the most dangerous and unpleasant streets for people biking, walking and living along this corridor.
Today, we celebrated Cesar Chávez Streets’ transformation into a beautiful, calmer, more livable street, complete with bike lanes, bulb-outs, a planted median and a road diet from six to four lanes.
For decades, community members and advocates have been working to tame Cesar Chávez Street. San Francisco Bicycle Coalition members, like Fran Taylor, have been at the heart of this movement. Taylor launched CC Puede, a community-led group to calm Cesar Chávez., and she and other neighbors have worked to remind the City and commuters that Cesar Chávez is a neighborhood street where people live, work and go to school.
The Cesar Chávez improvement project isn’t just a great example of community-involvement; it’s also a showcase project for what happens when City agencies work together. The Cesar Chávez project was initially just a sewer replacement project, but the Department of Public Works, Planning Department and SF Municipal Transportation Agency partnered together to create a full redesign of this street.
Other major corridors — like Polk, Market, Masonic and 2nd Streets — are slated for safer redesigns. The successful Cesar Chávez redesign can serve as an example of positive change that comes about when City agencies, community groups and neighbors work together to transform their streets. Thank you to everyone who joined us in creating a safer, more beautiful and more people-friendly Cesar Chávez Street.
Come celebrate this and other recent successes with the SF Bicycle Coalition and CC Puede!
Cesar Chávez Celebration!
February 23, 2014
Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, January 27th, 2014
The number of people biking in San Francisco has doubled since 2006, and every day more people discover the joys of biking in our city. This trend is great for our city’s health, environment and livability. And now a new report from People for Bikes and the Alliance for Biking & Walking reveals that more people biking is great for our local economy, too.
The report titled, “Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business,” profiles 15 entrepreneurs and business leaders from major U.S. cities — including San Francisco’s Green Apple Books, David Baker Architecture and Credo Mobile — to explain how protected bike lanes have meant big benefits for their companies.
The extensive report showcases four main takeaways:
1. People shopping by bike spend more at local businesses than those who drive.
The report shows how customers on bikes visit local shops more frequently, spending more per month than people arriving by car. In Portland, for example, studies showed that people traveling by bike to a shopping area spent 24% more per month than those who travelled by car. And on 9th Avenue in New York, local businesses saw up to a 49% increase in retail sales, compared to just a 3% increase in the rest of Manhattan. Here in San Francisco, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s study of Polk Street reaffirms this concept, as people biking, walking and taking transit all spend more at Polk Street businesses than those driving.
2. Businesses are relocating to areas with great bike networks, and having a business near bike lanes helps attract and retain quality employees.
Adding protected bikeways in downtown and business corridors reduces chaos on the streets and helps companies attract and retain great employees. Employers say their headhunters get a competitive edge by locating in areas with great biking networks, so savvy companies are locating near protected bike lanes to attract and keep high-quality employees.
When Jeff Judge, co-founder of marketing firm Signal, was considering moving his company from Chicago to Boston, bike infrastructure was at the top of the list of factors. “The first thing I looked at was what the bike infrastructure is like in Boston,” said Judge. “It’s so important to me. Cities that invest in biking infrastructure are going to win. It’s better for business. It’s better for planning. It’s better for infrastructure. It’s better all around.”
3. More people biking to work creates a healthier workforce.
Employees who bike to work also help to bring down a company’s health care costs by being on-time, productive and healthy. Sedentary jobs and modes of travel are contributing to an increase in health care costs. More people biking means a healthier workforce, and less money that the company and city spend on healthcare. Additionally, people who bike to work usually arrive on-time and are more productive.
4. Americans, especially younger Americans, are driving less and biking more.
National data also shows that more Americans, especially young people, are driving less and biking more. 16-24 year olds are getting driver’s licenses at the lowest rate since 1963, meaning there are more young people than ever foregoing cars for bikes, walking and transit.
How to Support Future Projects on SF Business Corridors
Adding bike lanes to business corridors in San Francisco has already made a positive impact to local businesses. On Valencia Street, 66% of merchants say the bike lanes have had a positive impact on their business. Other business corridors, including Market Street, Polk Street, the Embarcadero and more, are scheduled for bicycle improvement projects. You can help move these projects forward by joining the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and supporting our work to get protected bikeways on the streets you bike and shop on every day.
Own or work for a company that wants to become more bike-friendly? Join the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition as a business member, sponsor an event, or get involved in one of our campaigns! Email Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, Business and Community Program Manager, at email@example.com for more information.
SF Bicycle Coalition, January 21st, 2014
Our voices are being heard as we tell City leaders that “Enough is Enough” and demand action now to reach Vision Zero — zero traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets.
Thanks to more than 100 members who spoke up at last week’s Police Commission/Board of Supervisors’ committee hearing, the Police Chief committed to Vision Zero and significant actions to move the department to full, fair treatment of people biking and walking and safer streets.
Laying out what he called a “a seismic shift in policy” in front of a packed house that included the entire SFPD Command staff and all district Captains, Chief Suhr began the 4-hour hearing by apologizing for the agencies’ past missteps and committing to what he said would be a “new normal” in traffic enforcement at the SFPD.
In addition to publicly committing to the Vision Zero goal, which he called “a no-brainer”, the Chief says the SFPD will focus on the following next steps to ensure safer streets and fair treatment of all road users:
Acknowledgement that most of these traffic deaths and serious injuries are preventable;
Commitment that 50% of all SFPD enforcement will go toward the Focus on the Five campaign to target the primary collision factors of speeding, running red lights/stop signs, and failure to yield — currently, this figure is only at 22%;
Change in SFPD protocol at traffic crime scenes to now cite non-serious, serious and deadly collisions, as well as arrest parties;
Official adoption of the term “collision” in place of accident when referring to traffic crashes;
Issuing monthly reports on collisions and enforcement to track progress;
Stepped-up training of SFPD officers of bicyclists’ and pedestrians’ rights and responsibilities, including a new video in coordination with the SF Bicycle Coalition & Walk SF;
Review of collisions involving people biking and walking over the past year to determine whether citations should be issued.
See the excellent coverage of last week’s major breakthrough in the Chronicle, Examiner, SF Streetsblog, and the Guardian (which includes video of the Chief’s commitments and a moving video of a woman hit and injured while walking and whose case will now be revisited).
What’s next? While we are encouraged by these strong, public commitments, we will need your help to hold the SFPD accountable for fulfilling these promises.
Now, with the momentum of the joint Board of Supervisors/Police Commission behind us, the next step is to put pressure on the SFMTA to significantly speed up delivery of on-the-ground safety improvements that are even more vital to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries.
We’ll ask the SFMTA Board of Directors & Ed Reiskin: Why does it take more than 10 years to fix a mere two-block stretch of a street for better bicycling — such as the Polk St. contra-flow project at Market St.
Help continue to move Vision Zero forward.
Vision Zero Rally
Tuesday, January 21 12-12:30PM
City Hall, Polk Street Steps
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place
After the rally, speak up at the SFMTA Board Meeting and call on the Agency to fix our streets before anyone else is killed.
SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, January 21 – From 1PM
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 400
SF Bicycle Coalition, January 16th, 2014
While it is encouraging to see the Mayor acknowledge the crisis on our streets — with traffic crimes outnumbering other violent crimes two-to-one – we are distressed to see such a passive response from our city’s top leader.
Telling people to “Be Nice, Look Twice” is not a substitute for meaningful change on our streets. We urge Mayor Lee to step up his commitment to stemming the tide of violence by committing to Vision Zero — zero traffic deaths in ten years — and to start taking action today for public safety.
While the leading component of Mayor Lee’s response yesterday to the rising tide of traffic deaths was a focus on a new public awareness campaign, the new Mayor of New York City took a different approach: action.
Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to a similar spate of traffic deaths there by holding a press conference alongside victims’ families, acknowledging the epidemic, and announcing a plan for meaningful actions — immediately and more to be shared in one month — as part of his public commitment to Vision Zero.
We ask Mayor Lee to show this kind of leadership in San Francisco by re-designing streets where injury collisions happen most often. We ask him to focus specifically on the two dozen most problematic locations, which need attention as soon as possible. The Mayor’s announcement yesterday that the City is planning to improve a handful of locations along two streets (Polk & S. Van Ness) by 2017 is a shockingly weak response in the face of the death and destruction people are experiencing today in the city’s public realm.
“Where is the urgency?” asked Leah Shahum, of the SF Bicycle Coalition. “Where is the commitment to use the power of the Mayor’s office to make the streets of San Francisco less deadly for our sons and daughters and grandparents and friends?”
Ironically, the Mayor suggested ending the Sunday parking meter program because the revenue is not needed, while, at the same time, his team claims funding is not available to act more decisively for on-street safety improvements.
The SF Bicycle Coalition asks the Mayor and SFMTA to dedicate this existing funding stream to deliver at least two dozen on-the-ground improvement at high-injury locations within the next two years, particularly in SOMA and the Tenderloin. We call on the Mayor to daylight intersections and add safer crossings for pedestrian safety and adding protected bikeways for the growing number of people bicycling.
We also call on the SF Police Department to follow through on Focus on Five, the SFPD’s own data-driven strategy to focus enforcement on the five most dangerous intersections and locations in each police district. This policy was announced by Chief Suhr a year ago and cheered by safety advocates, but the SFPD has been unable to show clear evidence of this focus happening.
According to the SFPD’s own data, shared with the Police Commission, only 22% of their traffic work has been Focus on Five.
The Mayor and Chief Suhr should commit to at least 75% of the traffic enforcement prioritizing Focus on Five locations and behaviors, reporting back regularly on progress.
San Francisco leaders’ response so far is a far cry from the decisive action taken in New York City, where Police Chief Bill Bratton committed to decisive action from the police force. As he said yesterday at the site of the death of an 8-year-old boy: “A lost life is a lost life, whether to murder or a traffic accident.”
We agree. Mayor Lee? Chief Suhr? Director Reiskin?
SF Bicycle Coalition, January 15th, 2014
A broad coalition of San Francisco community groups — led by Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition — are calling on City leaders to commit to a “Vision Zero” policy to eliminate traffic deaths in San Francisco over the next 10 years, including immediate action from Mayor Lee, Police Chief Suhr and SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin.
On Tuesday, Supervisors Jane Kim, Norman Yee and John Avalos introduced a resolution, calling on the City to officially adopt Vision Zero, ushering this crucial street safety initiative forward.
The coalition of community groups (see full list at end) call on the Mayor to publicly commit to taking immediate actions to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic fatalities:
Direct the SF Municipal Transportation Agency to create a Strategic Street Action Team to deliver at least two dozen on-the-ground improvements within the next two years at high-injury locations, particularly in SoMa and the Tenderloin, by day-lighting intersections and adding safer crossings for pedestrian safety and adding protected bikeways for the growing number of people bicycling;
Require the SF Police Department to prioritize their Focus on Five policy to focus enforcement on the most dangerous locations and behaviors on the streets, particularly driving at unsafe speeds and failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk; to properly cite and investigate traffic crimes; and to ensure all police officers receive ongoing training in pedestrian and bicycle safety;
Commit funding to and implement a robust frequent driver education program by summer for the growing number of commercial drivers, including those working for City agencies, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft, employer shuttles, and all companies doing business in and with the City of San Francisco.
Transportation advocates and City leaders call for action:
“San Francisco has had the most dangerous streets in the state for too long,” said Nicole Schneider, Executive Director of Walk SF. “After 21 pedestrian deaths in 2013, four cyclists deaths, and over a half a dozen crashes since New Year’s Eve, the City must not delay. Walk SF and its members, in unison with the SF Bicycle Coalition and other groups, are calling for an end to the serious injuries and deaths plaguing San Francisco.”
“For too long, City leaders have accepted a certain amount of death and destruction on our streets as a basic ‘cost of doing business’, but no more,” said Leah Shahum, of the SF Bicycle Coalition. “These tragic incidents are preventable, and we demand that our elected leaders perform their most basic job of keeping citizens safe in the public realm. It’s a simple choice: Will our City prioritize safe movement on the streets or not?
“Our Pedestrian Strategy’s goals of cutting pedestrian injuries and fatalities in half by 2021 is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough,” said Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the district with the highest number of traffic collisions. “The City has been experiencing this public health crisis for years, and last year we hit a near-record high for traffic fatalities. A Vision Zero policy that commits to clear and decisive near-term actions for better engineering, enforcement and education to cut traffic fatalities to zero in the next 10 years is critical if we’re serious about saving lives.”
If Vision Zero is adopted, San Francisco will follow other major U.S cities, including Chicago and New York City, which have already adopted Vision Zero policies to eliminate traffic fatalities on their streets.
On Thursday, January 16th at 5pm at City Hall, frustrated community members will be looking to SF Police Chief Greg Suhr to publicly commit to Vision Zero and immediate actions to make our streets safer as the SF Police Commission and SF Board of Supervisors’ Neighborhood Services & Safety Committee convene together. This special hearing is focused on the SF Police Department’s enforcement of bike- and pedestrian-related incidents, which is being questioned in light of SFPD missteps and lack of urgency in citing and investigating the city’s record number of traffic and serious injuries.
“We are looking to the leadership of the SF Police Department to do their part to make our streets safer,” says Supervisor David Campos, who chairs the Board of Supervisor’s Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee. “I called for this special joint hearing between the Police Commission and the Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee because this issue merits serious, ongoing attention. In order to prevent these tragic deaths we must strengthen traffic enforcement and improve the quality of police investigations of traffic collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians.”
Groups that work with low-income residents in the SoMa and Central Districts especially understand the importance of Vision Zero in keeping residents safe.
“The low-income community is home to many seniors and disabled people and it’s unacceptable for the law-enforcement to let these fatalities go unnoticed. There is a trend here and that trend is a danger to pedestrians and community members. I’ve seen residents in wheelchairs absolutely refuse to cross the street from fear of getting hit by a car. We need to prevent such fears and take action against those who commit crimes that instill these fears in the minds and hearts of many in the first place,” said Priya Sawhney or the Central City SRO Collaborative.
“Lack of traffic safety disproportionately impacts people in low income communities like the Tenderloin. We have lost too many friends and family to a tragic problem that is totally preventable, if we can bring focus and political will to solving it,” said Dan Falk of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation.
“It’s been a deadly December. When three people are killed within a span of roughly one week, it is cause for alarm,” said Phil Chin of Chinatown TRIP.
“It’s been so heart-breaking to see a little girl, a senior, a senior riding bike and my good friend all killed by vehicles recently in San Francisco. Enough tears have been shed. Let’s do something together to slow traffic down and make it safer – now!” said Rev. Norman Fong of Chinatown Community Development Center.
The San Francisco School District has also signed on to Vision Zero, recognizing the importance of creating safe streets for our youngest residents, and ensuring a safe, thriving city for the next generation.
“Every day 55,000 students make the trip from home to school and back again. Because of their size and relative inexperience, kids are the most vulnerable street users. Improving the safety of our streets is therefore an investment in the future of our students,” said Nik Kaestner, SFUSD Director of Sustainability.
San Francisco groups who support Vision Zero:
Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, CA Walks, CC Puede, Central City SRO Collaborative, Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown TRIP, Community Housing Partnership, Excelsior Action Group, Folks for Polk, Friends of Monterey Blvd., Livable City, Mission Community Market, Mission Economic Development Association, North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association, Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, SF Housing Action Coalition, SF Bay Walks, San Francisco Unified School District, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development, Walk SF, Yerba Buena Alliance
SF Bicycle Coalition, January 14th, 2014
A diverse coalition of community groups is calling on City leaders to commit to a Vision Zero policy of eliminating traffic deaths in San Francisco in the next 10 years. City leaders, in Chicago and New York, including Mayors and Police Chiefs, have already adopted this crucial Vision Zero policy, and have made concrete plans to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the streets.
Last year saw a near-record number of fatalities of people biking and walking. In 2013, 21 pedestrians and four bicyclists were hit and killed by drivers. This is the highest number since 2007. Just since New Year’s Eve, three people — including a 6-year-old child and an 86-year-old man — were killed while walking.
Despite calls for critical safety improvements to the streets and more data driven enforcement of traffic crime and widespread education, the Mayor, Police Chief, District Attorney and SFMTA Director have made only small commitments to street safety and have not committed to any larger vision toward keeping our residents safe on increasingly chaotic streets.
The coalition of concerned community groups — led by Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition — call on Mayor Ed Lee, Police Chief Greg Suhr, District Attorney George Gascon and SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin to commit to a goal of Vision Zero, and to enact the following:
- Fix the known dangerous locations where people are being injured on our streets — the majority of which are in the South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods — by empowering a Strategic Street Action Team to deliver on-the-ground improvements quickly;
- Ensure full and fair enforcement of traffic laws, with a focus on the most problematic dangerous behaviors and locations;
- Invest in training and education programs for all road users, with a focus on frequent drivers, who spend the most hours on the road and are involved in a disproportionate number of fatalities and serious collisions.
Speak up at the joint meeting of the Police Commission and Board of Supervisors on Thursday, January 16 (5PM, City Hall Room 250) and speak up for fair and equal enforcement and ask the Police to commit to Vision Zero. RSVP at sfbike.org/enforcement.
Speak up at the SFMTA Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 21 (1PM, City Hall). Let the SFMTA Board know that you support Vision Zero and call on the SFMTA to fix the known dangerous locations — before anyone else is hurt. Email SF Bicycle Coalition Community Organizer, Janice Li, at firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco organizations and groups who support Vision Zero: CA Walks, CC Puede, Central City SRO Collaborative, Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown TRIP, Community Housing Partnership, Excelsior Action Group, Folks for Polk, Friends of Monterey Blvd., Livable City, Mission Community Market, Mission Economic Development Association, North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association, Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, SF Housing Action Coalition, SF Bay Walks, San Francisco Unified School District, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development, Walk SF, Yerba Buena Alliance
SF Bicycle Coalition, January 7th, 2014
New bicycle shops are opening around San Francisco, from Market Street to the Wiggle, and Valencia Street to the top of Bernal Heights. But in the city’s outer neighborhoods, like the Bayview and the Excelsior, residents have few options for buying or repairing their bicycles.
Our solution: Team up with local community-based organizations to organize Bike Build events where we refurbish and give out bikes to those who will benefit most from the affordable transportation.
The cost of gas and public transportation in the Bay Area is among the highest in the nation, and residents spend a large percentage of their monthly incomes on just getting around. A free bicycle can relieve a substantial financial burden and help offset the high cost of living in San Francisco. The Bike Build recipients are selected by our partnering organizations to ensure bikes go to those who need them most.
In November, we held an event in the Bayview with POWER, a grassroots, member-led empowerment organization for low-income Latino and African American families, youth and workers. Together, we refurbished dozens of bicycles that were donated by the City and indviduals, and volunteers taught recipients basic bike mechanic skills.
Bayview resident Janet Allen-Williams was one of the recipients. She brought her husband and daughter to the most recent Community Bike Build. All three left with bikes.
“The bike build was on Saturday, and my husband rode his new bike to work on Monday. I was shocked,” Allen-Williams says. “We live on a hill and when he rode it home up the hill, our neighbors cheered him on.”
Allen-Williams says the family is planning to go on rides, including a trek to Brisbane. “I might even take my daughter to school in the Western Addition one day,” she says.
Our next Bike Build is scheduled for Saturday, January 18 in the Bayview. Interested in volunteering or supporting our Bike Builds? Visit sfbike.org/bikebuild. Know of a community group we should partner with for the bike builds? Email email@example.com.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s ongoing work to promote equity in bicycling is fully supported by our members. JOIN THE SF BICYCLE COALITION TODAY and ensure programs like this continue to roll forward!
SF Bicycle Coalition, January 3rd, 2014
San Francisco Magazine proclaimed 2013 the “Year of the Bicycle,” and with good reason! Thanks to our tenacious members, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition won huge victories for better biking, opening up more safe bikeways, secure bike parking and lifting restrictions on regional travel by bike. Thanks to our members, we were also able to respond to unexpected and critical campaigns — like our work in response to the fatal crash on Folsom Street and holding the police accountable for fair and equal enforcement. Here are five key wins for better biking last year:
1. Removing Bikes on BART Restrictions
For decades, your SF Bicycle Coalition has been opening up more bike access on BART. We won bikes on board in the ‘70s, removed the pesky bike permit in the ‘90s and this year our work helped remove the bike blackout period for five months, opening up unlimited, all day access for you and your bike. In October, our advocacy helped lift the final restriction and bikes are now allowed on BART at all times of day! sfbike.org/bart
2. Improving SoMa Streets
In response to the four fatalities in or around SoMa this year, we launched our Safe SoMa Streets campaign. We organized thousands to sign our letter to the Mayor, calling for a redesign of Folsom Street. Thanks to this advocacy, a pilot green, buffered bikeway is already on the ground. We are now working to expand the pilot to the waterfront and have a mirror design on Howard Street and other key areas.
3. Attention to Police Response to Bike/Ped Cases
For years, we have seen systematic problems with how the police investigate bike and pedestrian crashes, revealing a deep-rooted bias against people who bike. The SFPD’s mishandling of the crash that killed Amelie Le Moulac, where they failed to look for evidence (the SF Bicycle Coalition found it), and then publicly and dangerously blamed the victims at a memorial, revealing a deeply rooted bias that many officers hold. We are proud to say that our quick advocacy on this resulted in a public hearing into the SFPD’s response and another hearing with the Police Commission and Board of Supervisors is scheduled for January 16, 2014. Let us know if you can attend at sfbike.org/enforcement
4. Progress on Big Campaigns
This year we made progress on big Connecting the City projects. We worked with community champions to win approval for Masonic Avenue redesign, complete with raised bikeways, wider sidewalks and more than 100 trees. The long-awaited Cesar Chavez bikeway is on the ground. Safer redesigns and pilot plans for Polk and Market Streets moved forward.
5. Smooth Pavement on Market Street
Our city’s busiest bikeway got fresh pavement and green paint, making for a smoother, safer ride for the more than 3,000 people who bike this route every day. The City’s plan was to repave in 2017, but we knew you couldn’t wait that long for a smoother ride. Next up, more pilots on Market Street and separated bikeways from Van Ness Avenue to the waterfront!
Want to support more improvements like this? BECOME A MEMBER of the SF Bicycle Coalition, and ensure that 2014 is an even better year for biking!
Chain of Events
SFBC Flickr Pool