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Friday, August 30, 2013

Is the bike plan lagging in the Southeast part of SF?

According to the SF Examiner's article, "While San Francisco has made strides in improving bike access, southeastern neighborhoods lag behind," the Bayview and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods are getting short-shrift when it comes to bicycle improvements.  The new separated bikeway on Cargo Way is a start, but since it was installed without any thought given to first repaving the severely cracked roadway, it's underutilized and potentially dangerous.  There is also a lack of connectivity between the places where people live and where they work, making biking on roads like Third St hazardous at best.

SFMTA SF Bike and Walking Map
One has to wonder, though, at how close to the truth is the perception that the Southeast doesn't have a sizeable biking community.  With the launch of the new Bike Share pilot program this week, are we being left out?  According to the Examiner, Supervisor Cohen believes that the bike share program is an example of the southeast neighborhoods being ignored.  But to use this as an example leads to the conclusion that ALL districts except D6 are being left out.  Placing the pods in the most likely places for people to use them is the best way to start out, with the expectation that it will grow in the future. The way that the bike share plan is designed, it's for short trips between offices and from the Caltrain terminus to the downtown core.  To expand it to the outer reaches of the City means changing the scope of the program, which it's just not ready to do.  At the moment, it will work to reduce traffic in the core of the City.  It's not designed for bike commuters, but an expansion of the program may include that at some point.  Right now, it's a pilot program to see how bike sharing works, where the bugs are, and what expansions can be made in the future.

Green Connections: Green - draft network; Black - concept
design segments; Pink - focus neighborhoods
So what is going on in the Southeast as far as improving bike infrastructure is concerned?  Back in May, the City held a second open house to discuss the proposed Green Connections plan for Visitacion Valley, and in June, they held another to discuss Green Connections road improvements to Oakdale Ave. in the Bayview.  In June, they also held a second open house to discuss the Green Connections plans linking the Potrero Hill Recreation Center with the Dogpatch Commercial District.  Four of the seven "focus neighborhoods" in the Green Connections plan are located in the Southeast part of the City.  The outcomes and future directions of all of these meetings can be found on the City's Planning Department website.  Already, we have the Cesar Chavez greenway that, admittedly, needs to be completed all the way to Third St to be considered effective.  We also have the bikeway on Alemany from Glen Park BART to the Bayview.  To help increase usage of bikes in this area, in September, the SFCTA Board will be asked to approve funding to increase the number of bicycle parking spaces at Glen Park BART station to 61 and at Balboa Park BART station to 107, improving at least one more aspect of the bicycle network in the Southeast.  And, as the Examiner article points out, major improvements are planned for Mansell St between San Bruno Ave and McLaren Park and on Oakdale Ave.

Sure, we could be doing better at creating a bike network in the Southeast, but given all that's going on already and that's planned for the near future, I'd say we're not doing any better or worse than other parts of the City.  But it'll take all the bikers in the area to keep pushing the City to make the changes we want to see so that we don't get left behind.

And thanks to Easy for the comment with the link to the SF Bike and Walking Map!

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