Fell/Oak bike lane project appealed

The bike lane markings on Fell were removed a week ago, but officials say better ones are coming soon.
Steven T. Jones

Long-awaited bicycle and pedestrian improvements along Fell and Oak streets – a key east-west connection where fast-moving cars create sometimes-scary conditions for cyclists – approved last month by the Municipal Transportation Agency's board suffered a couple frustrating setbacks last week.

First, on Nov. 5, the project was appealed to the Board of Supervisors by area residents Mark Brennan, Howard Chabner, and Ted Loewenberg, who charged that it violates state environmental laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act and should be subjected to a full-blown Environmental Impact Report rather than relying on the overall Bicycle Plan's EIR.

The MTA is confident the appeal will be denied, so its crews went ahead with the project, removing the existing bike lane markings and then just leaving it that way for the last week, creating a confusing and potentially dangerous situation for both motorists and cyclists. It also raised fears among project supporters that the two developments were connected.

But MTA spokesperson Paul Rose told us there is no connection and “we expect to begin striping tomorrow, weather permitting.” He also said the agency heard the concerns from cyclists and this week put up signs urging motorists to share the road with cyclists and placing flyers on cars parked along the stretch.

As for the appeal, Rose said, “We have confidence that the environmental work that went into this project was appropriate and the appeal will be denied.”

Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition – for whom this project has been a top priority for years – echoed the optimism and emphasized the extensive outreach effort that has gone into this project.

“I think it's unfortunate that there is the threat of delay to a project that has gone through so many years of community input and has such strong support,” Shahum said. “There are a few individuals who are trying to delay the project, but I'm happy to hear the MTA is moving it forward anyway.”

The appeals hearing has been tentatively set for Dec. 11. Once completed, this will be one of just a few cycletracks – or bikeways that are physically separated from automobile traffic – in San Francisco, something bike activists hope to see more of in the coming years.


between bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians. Is there any way to break out of this paradigm of "If I get mine then you don't get yours?" It just breaks my heart.

Posted by Troll II on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

Drivers don't object to bikes, although they probably hate the self-serving bike lobby. Pedestrians are happy on their sidewalks and only worry about cars and bikes at intersections, and in fact two pedestrians have been killed by bikes in the last year or so.

It's the self-serving bike lobby who always want more, more, more that are turning more and more people off. Cyclists aren't warm and fuzzy any more. They hate.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

at a moment's notice. Our politics in this city always boil down to win vs. lose - never a conciliatory process where everyone gets some sense of satisfaction. It brings out the worst in everyone and always degenerates into what is portrayed as the "ultimate battle" when in reality it's a couple of blocks of bike lanes which aren't going to dramatically change anyone's life whether they happen or not - despite what Steven and Rob Anderson say.

I guess I'm a victim as much as a perpetrator and maybe I should think about the way I respond in these kinds of situations as well.

Posted by Troll II on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

Walkers walk because they are getting around, drivers drive because they are getting around, bike riders ride to save the world or some such thing, thus they deserve something extra.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 15, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

And then they wonder why nobody listens to them.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

I attended the public planning meetings. There were five plans and the one they are going with was the least appealing for cyclists, residents, pedestrians and small business. Several SFMTA planners openly admitted it was the plan that maximized the volume of automotive traffic and that is the top priority.

So far the line for ARCO on Fell is much longer and cars are driving faster. Not to mention the dangerous, distracted circling parking place hunters - a bikers worse nightmare.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 20, 2012 @ 12:06 am