Slow pace irks bike-plan fans

San Francisco’s bike plan, hobbled by a court injunction for more than two years, is now facing further delays due to poor project management by city officials, cyclists charge.

Nearly 60 projects — including the installation of bike racks, additional lane striping and a city bike-shareprogram — have been on hold since Superior Court Judge James Warren issued a preliminary injunction in June 2006.

The order came at the request of two groups, 99 Percent and Coalition for Adequate Review, which sought greater public review of The City’s bike plan. The groups’ lawsuit claimed that The City acted hastily in approving a plan to add 34 miles of bike lanes within city limits.

Warren ordered a freeze on any implementation of the bike plan until a new environmental impact report was completed. City officials must complete both a draft and final EIR before the injunction can be lifted.

On Monday, Mayor Gavin Newsom had sharp comments for planning chief John Rahaim and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority head Nathaniel Ford after learning that city staff had fallen behind on the draft despite public promises to complete it by fall.

“Recent slippage of certain tasks to prepare the [draft] EIR are of grave concern,” Newsom wrote in a letter to Rahaim and Ford.

The mayor asked both departments and their consultants to take immediate action to expedite the draft environmental review so that the final plan can be approved by the middle of next year as promised.

Rahaim acknowledged Monday that his staff had fallen behind on the draft EIR, but he said he was confident they could catch up and meet their final review deadlines.

“The complexity of this thing and the lawsuit are making us extremely careful,” he said.

Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, who convened a Land Use Committee hearing Monday seeking an update on the EIR process, called the delays “absolutely unacceptable” due to safety concerns.

At a City Hall rally before Monday’s hearing, bicyclists expressed their frustration with the lack of movement in creating the EIR.

Leah Shahum, executive director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, said she believes the bike plan had become a low priority for planners and the city attorney, who chose not to appeal the injunction.

“We’re not a special-interest group The City can just brush off,” she said. “There are 125,000 of us out there, regularly biking. I’m most offended that our city leadership would sit by and let this happen while touting their green credentials.”

SFMTA spokesman Judson True said the environmental review had not slipped in importance.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com 

Slamming on the brakes

Nearly 60 bicycle-related projects have been on hold since a 2006 court injunction.

» 2nd Street bike lanes, Market Street to King Street

» 5th Street bike lanes, Market to Townsend Street

» 7th Avenue and Lincoln Way intersection improvements

» 16th Street bike lanes, 3rd Street  to Terry Francois Boulevard

» 17th Street bike lanes, Corbett Avenue to Kansas Street, including connections to 16th Street BART station

» 19th Avenue mixed-use path

» Broadway Tunnel signage improvements

» Caesar Chavez bike lanes, U.S. 101 to I-280

» Fell Street and Masonic Avenue intersection and traffic-signal improvements

» Glen Park area bike lanes

» John F. Kennedy Drive bike lanes

» Page and Stanyan streets traffic signal improvements

» North Point Street bike lanes, Van Ness Avenue to the Embarcadero

Source: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

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