BikeLane.jpgAn SF MTA meeting held last night at the Eureka Valley Community Center drew about twenty or so nearby residents, mostly bikers themselves judging from the content of the Q&A, who came to hear the details of a plan to expand accommodations for bicyclists on Market between 17th and Octavia.

The need for increasing bike lane availability was stressed throughout the evening via Power Point graphics displaying some eye opening statistics: A 54% increase in bicycle ridership between 2006-2009 (a huge, somewhat dubious sounding increase come to think of it), and a mere 6% of SF streets currently able to accommodate these bikers. Given this state of affairs, the MTA’s expressed goal – to have continuous bike lanes on both sides of Market between 17th and Octavia – is actually rather humble.

According to the evening’s speaker, SFMTA Transportation Planner Adam Gubser, the project had been unveiled a year ago to mixed reaction, with some, primarily local merchants, complaining about the loss of fifteen parking spaces and thus potential revenue (the city’s too).

Gubser noted that this has subsequently been addressed by plans to shorten meter times at nearby spaces in an effort, one surmises, to increase car-driving customer turnover and salvage otherwise missing patronage. This should not convince anyone that the overall availability of parking will go unchanged, however, as the tradeoffs involved will make living with less of it unavoidable.

Plans to scrap a number of currently existing right turn lanes are also in the works, such as that on eastbound Market at Noe.

A complaint by one attendee that drew widespread agreement was the ongoing problem – bike path expansion or no – of delivery vehicles double parking and pushing bikers out into traffic. To this Gubser could only convey his disappointment that parking enforcement was lax when it comes to this particular problem.

It may console San Franciscans to hear from audience member Elias, long-time biker and two year SF resident, that in his experience San Francisco is pretty good for cyclists. “I’ve biked in Detroit, Chicago and San Francisco. So far San Francisco is the best. The hills kind of suck though.”

There is another public meeting scheduled for July 30th, location unknown at this time.

A very technical overview of the bike lane proposal (to be implemented this winter) can be viewed here.

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