Car activist hit with $52K fee

The City is demanding tens of thousands of dollars in court-related expenses from a pro-car group whose legal maneuvers forced cyclists and motorists to share lanes citywide for five years.

Rob Anderson formed the Coalition for Adequate Review and took The City to court after lawmakers approved a bike plan in 2005, arguing that California’s environmental laws required the plan’s impacts to be thoroughly analyzed.

Anderson won, and implementation of the bike plan — which included creation of new bike lanes and installation of bike racks and other improvements citywide — was delayed by a court-ordered injunction pending completion of an environmental impact
report.

Following years of analysis, a lengthy report concluded that implementation of the plan could cause some traffic impacts.

A judge allowed The City to roll out a small number of bicycle projects last year, and the bike plan injunction was fully lifted in August, after the report was certified, leading to a proliferation of green bike lanes in San Francisco.

Despite Anderson’s victory, San Francisco is demanding that the coalition cover costs related to preparation and delivery of administrative legal documents.

“The recovery of these costs, which total $51,959, is authorized by the California Code of Civil Procedure,” city attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said in an e-mail. “Aggressively pursuing the fullest possible recovery of The City’s costs in litigation is a standard practice by the City Attorney’s Office.”

Anderson, who said he lives on Social Security payments and can’t afford the hefty bill, said the coalition elected to do the administrative work itself to avoid the costs.

“It’s just an attempt to bully us, to punish us for daring to bring a suit against The City here in progressive land,” Anderson said.

The coalition filed court documents Wednesday opposing the demanded payment.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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