Judge to review stalled Bike Plan

Bicycle advocates are anxiously awaiting the results of a Monday hearing that could lift a three-year injunction on a city-backed proposal to install 34 new miles of bike lanes in San Francisco.
In 2005, The City approved the Bike Plan, an ambitious proposal to increase San Francisco’s bike lanes by 75 percent, add thousands of bike racks to city streets, increase street signage and implement new color painting for bike-only lanes.
However, that proposal was put into cobwebs the next year, after a local group successfully sued The City, claiming that the Bike Plan was authorized without first undergoing an environmental impact report. As a result, The City cannot so much as install a single bike rack until the injunction is lifted.
An environmental impact report on the plan was certified by the Planning Commission this summer, and as a result, the city attorney’s office has filed a request that the injunction be lifted, a plea that will be heard Monday by Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn. Depending on Kahn’s ruling, the implementation of the Bike Plan could begin immediately. He could also rule that the injunction continue, pending further study.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that the court will support The City’s request to dissolve the injunction,” said Andy Thornley, planning director of the San Francisco Bike Coalition. “But we’re realistically prepared if this has to continue. Three-plus years of this injunction has forced us to be very realistic.”
Rob Anderson, founder of Coalition for Adequate Review— the local group that filed the suit against The City — said he did not know what to expect Monday.
“I have no idea what might happen,” Anderson said. “We think the EIR is inadequate, but I have my suspicions that he [Kahn] might just wave this whole thing through. That said, you never know what a judge or a jury might do.”
If the motion to dismiss the injunction is successful, Muni — The City agency in charge of implementing the Bike Plan — will be prepared to move forward with the proposal immediately, according to department spokesman Judson True.
“We’re ready to go as soon as we get the OK from the court,” True said.
wreisman@sfexainer.com

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