Environmental Law Halts Bike Plan In San Francisco

A 1970 environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act, was used to temporarily halt San Francisco's bike plan from being implemented. The law ensures environmental review of projects that plaintiff's felt was inadequate for the plan.
June 26, 2006, 12pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

At the behest of two civic groups,a San Francisco superior court judge placed an injunction on the city's bike plan, which would have added bike lanes by removing car parking and traffic lanes, allowing bikes on light rail, and changing traffic light synchronization to favor bicycle speeds.

"The groups' leaders say they are not anti-bicycle but in favor of due process. They sued the city in July 2005, arguing that San Francisco violated state environmental law by not properly assessing the plan's effects on the flow of automobile traffic and public transit, and on the availability of street parking."

The injunction was sought because the city had continued to implement the bike plan notwithstanding the lawsuit.

"This is not about the content of the plan itself. This is about the process,'' said Rob Anderson, an activist who sued the city. "Just because we're progressives here in San Francisco doesn't mean we're above the law. They're eliminating parking and taking away lanes of traffic. What we want is a full (environmental impact report) so the public will know exactly how this plan affects them.''

Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, expressed her frustration with the ruling:

"The irony is that you have a few people trying to use the state's environmental regulations to discourage bicycling, the most environmentally friendly form of transportation.''

Full Story:
Published on Saturday, June 24, 2006 in The San Francisco Chronicle
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email