You Said: SF’s Next Bike Projects

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Thanks to the roughly 500 people who weighed in on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s proposed list of next bike projects! We tallied your feedback, and combined it with the huge volume of feedback we get from members and others throughout the year on our network request form, and through calls, emails and in person conversations. Using this collected wisdom, we wrote the below letter to the MTA.

If you want to see this project list move forward, sign up to speak at an upcoming April 2nd public hearing about the future of biking in San Francisco. Email janice@sfbike.org to get involved!

March 7, 2014

Ed Reiskin
Director, SFMTA
1 South Van Ness Ave San Francisco, CA 94103

RE: 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy Project List & Goals

Director Reiskin:

We congratulate the SFMTA on publishing its long-anticipated list of next bike improvement projects. Your agency’s 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy is a crucial piece of achieving the SFMTA’s overall top strategic goals, including improving the safety of the transportation system and substantially shifting trips towards sustainable transportation modes by 2018.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition respects the data-driven approach to developing the SFMTA’s next list of projects. We also agree with the general framework the agency has adopted to ensure that biking improvements equitably serve our city’s diverse neighborhoods, residents and businesses. However, we believe that it is important to ensure that the results of the data-driven approach truly align with the experience of the many diverse people who already bike in San Francisco. To that end, we conducted a survey of our members and the riding public to ask for their feedback on your list; we received just shy of 500 responses to that survey. Our staff combined the results of that survey with the huge volume of feedback that we receive from members and the public throughout the years. We offer the following feedback and recommendations, based on this accumulated wisdom.

Overall Framework

In June 2013 your Board of Directors gave feedback on the draft 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy. At that meeting, your Board urged MTA staff to pursue the “Full Build Out Scenario” option of the strategy. However, your current project list reflects the less robust, “Strategic Plan Scenario.” We urge you to produce and show a list that reflects the direction of your Board, not only to meet the expectations of that body, but also to prepare your staff to be able to pursue known and potential new funding sources. Too often we hear that bike projects will not be included in funding requests – because there is no list of reasonably developed project ideas to include in the submission. We simultaneously hear from the agency that these same projects cannot be pursued for lack of funding. This is a circular argument that can easily be resolved by ensuring that

the agency develops a full list of potential projects in keeping with the “Full Build Out Scenario.”

The below table articulates more of the details of this discrepancy.

2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy “Full Build Out Scenario”

SFMTA Current List = “Strategic Plan Scenario”

SF Bicycle Coalition Feedback

Complete the Bicycle Plan (10 miles)

Currently integrated into other lists, reducing overall mileage of total package.

Projects from the Bicycle Plan list appear to be missing from this list, though some continue to be in the agency’s construction pipeline. Please clarify why projects are missing from this list

Construct 35 miles of new bicycle facilities

Two scenarios: 11 miles and 20.5 miles

MTA should scope and show the remaining 14.5 miles

Upgrade 200 miles of the existing bicycle network to premium bicycle facilities

50 miles scoped, including Bicycle Plan projects

MTA should scope and show the remaining 150 miles

Upgrade 200 intersections to accommodate bicycles

Some intersections integrated in list, but no separate intersection upgrade list

MTA is working on a few new initiatives to identify and complete spot improvements. These programs should be institutionalized as annual programs that articulate and execute these intersection improvements, reaching 200 by 2018. The current budget for the agency does not appear to support this work on a consistent, reliable basis.

Upgrade & New Projects

Attached is a summary of our survey vote rankings [download upgrade projects here, download new projects here]. Though there is a great deal of overlap in our respective rankings, there are also some notable exceptions. Those discrepancies include:

Upgrade

  • Market, Octavia to Embarcadero (this project is the clear top priority for our survey respondents, by a large margin)
  • 3rd Street, Islais Creek Bridge to US 101
  • Page Street, Stanyan to Market
  • Great Highway, Lincoln to El Camino del Mar o 11th Street, Market to Division

 

New

  • Fell Street, Baker to Stanyan
  • Folsom Street, 4th to 11th Street o Kearny, Market to Columbus
  • 15th Street, Harrison to Market

In addition, we were surprised to see a number of long-known critical improvements missing from your list. As you flesh out the remaining 150 miles of upgrade streets and 14.5 of new network miles for your list, we urge you to include and prioritize these projects in your updated overall list.

  • 8th Street, Market to Townsend
  • 14th Street, Sanchez to Harrison
  • 16th Street, Kansas to Illinois
  • 17th Street, Harrison to Castro
  • Arguello, Fulton to the Presidio
  • Balboa Park Station area neighborhood-wide improvement access
  • Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood greenway network
  • Broadway, Embarcadero to Polk
  • Broadway Tunnel
  • Evans Avenue, 3rd Street to Jennings
  • Excelsior and Crocker Amazon neighborhoods greenway network
  • Franklin Street, Fulton to Golden Gate
  • Fulton Street, Baker to Franklin
  • Geneva Avenue, Ocean Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard
  • Golden Gate Avenue, Market to Baker Street
  • Golden Gate Park circulation and access, in all directions
  • Illinois Street, 16th Street to Cargo Way
  • Lefty O’Doul Bridge
  • Market at Justin Hermann Plaza, crossing between Steuart and Embarcadero
  • Mission-Bernal Heights connector
  • Noe Valley neighborhood greenway network
  • North Point at Embarcadero
  • North Point at Van Ness
  • Oak Street, Stanyan to Baker
  • Oakdale Avenue, Bayshore to Keith
  • Ocean Avenue, Alemany to Junipero Serra Boulevard
  • US 101 at Bayshore and Cesar Chavez (“Hairball”)
  • San Jose, Cesar Chavez to St. Mary’s Street
  • Stockton Tunnel
  • Taylor, Market to Bush
  • Terry Francois, 3rd Street to Illinois Street
  • Townsend Street, Division to the Embarcadero
  • Upper Market, Octavia to Castro/17th Street
  • Valencia Street, Market to Mission
  • Webster Street, Page to Post
Setting Up for Success
This list, originally scheduled to be shared in early 2013, must quickly be transformed by your staff in to on the ground projects to remain on track with the goals articulated in both the 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy and the 2013-2018 MTA Strategic Plan. As you know, your current draft Capital Improvement Plan only calls for funding a tiny fraction of these projects, many magnitudes below the levels of either the “Full Build Out Scenario” or “Strategic Plan Scenario.” The December 2013 Budget Legislative Analysts’ report on “Funding the Bicycle Strategy” laid out a variety of strategies that would allow the SFMTA to get serious about moving the 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy forward. We urge you to review and pursue options articulated in that report, including a fine-tooth comb review of your current Operating Budget.

Finally, while bicycling is surging in San Francisco, with some neighborhoods already enjoying 15% of all trips by bike, there are a number of neighborhoods that are in the early stages of conversations about bicycling. In those communities, there is increasing interest in taking that conversation to the next level – but no clear way for communities to find resources to support the discussion and development of locally authentic strategies for increasing bicycling. We encourage you to identify those communities that are in need of that particular kind of support, and develop a program that supports and furthers that local interest.

Congratulations again on crossing this important milestone. We look forward to working with you to transform these documents in to real improvements that benefit all San Franciscans.

Sincerely,

Leah Shahum

Executive Director


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