Supes Seek Answers on Bike/Ped Strategy, “Better Market Street” Delay

by Aaron Bialick, 2013-02-14

(Editor's Note: This StreetsblogSF article updates our recent coverage of a proposal to shift bicycles off of Market Street)

Members of the SF Board of Supervisors are calling attention to the need to fund the SFMTA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Strategies, as well as the delayed Better Market Street project, which suddenly looks like it might not include space for bicycling.

The Market Street situation concerned Supervisors Scott Wiener and John Avalos enough to call separate hearings and release statements on the issue. Both are troubled by the new completion date of 2019 — a four-year delay — and the idea of building protected bike lanes on downtown Mission instead of Market, which was recently added as a potential option to the surprise of advocates and supervisors.

Avalos called for a hearing at the next meeting of the SF County Transportation Authority Board on February 26. In a statement, he said, “Market Street is the most bicycled street West of the Mississippi, and I believe it deserves dedicated cycle tracks along its full length. The current state of Market Street with the ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ zig-zagging bike lane is unbecoming for the premiere thoroughfare of one of America’s premier bicycling cities… We, as city officials, can’t squander this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Wiener’s hearing would take place at an upcoming meeting at the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee. “The Better Market Street project should be the best example of improving our streets through creating safer pedestrian and bike access and making thoughtful transit decisions,” he said in a statement. “The plan should encourage people to make better use of public space and to advance our city’s Transit-First policy. We need to carefully scrutinize any changes to the plan that could impact that goal.”

On funding the Pedestrian Strategy, D6 Supervisor Jane Kim called a hearing with city staffers about how to fund the safety improvements needed to reach the plan’s goals, which include cutting pedestrian injuries in half by 2020. She didn’t say if Mayor Ed Lee was expected to attend.

It’s also worth noting that in the board discussion, Kim mentioned a memorial service for Diana Sullivan, the woman killed on her bike Saturday at Third and King Streets, which is in Kim’s district. The parade will be held this Sunday at 12:00 p.m., starting at the McKinley statue at the east end of the Panhandle (at Baker Street).

On funding the Bicycle Strategy, Supervisor Eric Mar posed a question for Lee during the mayor’s regularly scheduled question-and-answer session with the board. I was out in the field and unable to report on Lee’s response, but I plan to bring it to you tomorrow. Here’s the question Mar asked:

The Municipal Transportation Agency recently released its Draft Bicycle Strategy, which lays out an aggressive plan to upgrade San Francisco’s bicycle facilities. It supports biking for everyone, including seniors, families, and persons with disabilities. However, I am hearing growing concerns both in my district and city-wide about the mismatch between verbal commitments to better bicycling and budget realities. Currently, bicycle projects account for just 0.46% of all MTA capital. This is not enough to get us to the goals laid out in the Bicycle Strategy. How will you fund the Bicycle Strategy to make San Francisco a national leader in bicycling safety and use?


Stay tuned, Streetsblog readers.