We’ve been keeping you up to date over the last few months on what’s at stake for biking this year in the City budget process. This wonky news may seem tangential to your experience riding on the streets every day, but the reality is the decisions that the City makes this year about funding biking will have an impact on the quality of your rides for years to come. So we’re doing what we can to make sure that you know what what’s happening. The latest news is that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency released new budget recommendations last week.
The Good News: The agency is has recommended spending more than the shocking less than 1% that it has historically spent on biking.
The Not So Good News: The MTA is still only planning to spend about 2% of its budget in the next five years on biking – and only if San Francisco voters approve ballot measures funding transportation improvements in November 2014. The agency has not yet confirmed whether or not it will continue to spend $4 million a year on copy paper, historically more than the MTA has spent on improving biking in a year.
What does this mean for your ride? The roughly 2% that the MTA is planning to spend on biking will translate to about 6.4 miles of improved and new bikeways on the ground a year. That number is definitely better than zero, and improvement from the agency’s earlier projections! But unfortunately it still only amounts to about half of the more conservative of two goal options (and about a quarter of the more aggressive strategy) in its 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy. Do you believe that the MTA should only aim for half of its goal to improve and expand biking? Should the MTA only plan to make these watered down improvements to biking if voters approve ballot measures in November?
What can you do to ensure the improvements you want to your ride get built? If you haven’t already, please send a letter to the leaders of the MTA, letting them know that you aren’t happy with the City settling for half, especially if the agency continues to spend $4 million on copy paper. The Board of Directors overseeing the MTA will be voting on the agency’s budget on April 15th. Now is the time to speak up!