San Francisco Bets Big on Bikes

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) would like to spend $200 million on improving the city's bike infrastructure over the next 5 years. How many miles of green paint can you get with all that green?
January 30, 2013, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With bike use up 71 percent since 2006, and some neighborhoods boasting a 15 percent biking mode share, SFMTA is looking to "build out its network to meet the demand," reports Will Reisman. Among the elements of the agency's five-year strategic plan that were to be discussed at a board of directors’ meeting held this week are: building 12 new miles of bike lanes, upgrading 50 miles of existing paths, and installing more than 20,000 new bike racks. As part of the $200 million plan, the agency also "proposes to upgrade 50 intersections to accommodate bicycles and deploy and maintain 2,750 bikes as part of a grab-and-go bike-sharing network."

"If completed," says Reisman, "the agency hopes the share of bike trips in San Francisco increases from its current level of 3.5 percent of all travel to 8 to 10 percent by 2018; a separate goal of 20 percent has been set by the Board of Supervisors for 2020."

"The funding and implementation of the network face questions, however. Currently, the transit agency is only able to afford to install 6 miles of bike lanes each year, falling short of its 10-mile goal. Of the $200 million needed for the five-year project, only $30 million has been identified."

"Still, Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, said the strategic plan goals are achievable. Possible sources for the $200 million project include revenue from a potential vehicle license fee increase, which could go on the 2014 ballot."

“Investing in better biking is one of the most cost-effective and quick ways for The City to address its transportation challenges,” Shahum said.

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Published on Sunday, January 27, 2013 in The San Francisco Examiner
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