Monday, June 26, 2006

A Merchant on the new Market St. bike lanes

In the wake of Judge Warren's injunction order on the Bicycle Plan, City Attorney Dennis Hererra said that "There is no possibility that adoption of the [bicycle] plan would have a significant impact on the environment." The letter below from a Market St. businessman shows how untrue that is:

April 20, 2006

Dear Members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,

I have a seven year lease (and all of the incidental commitments and expenses that go with it) on 3400 square feet at 1645 Market Street in the epicenter of the blocks where you intend to remove all metered parking permanently. You want to do this in a neighborhood that already has very little on street parking and virtually no off street (or lot) parking for non-city employees.

Our (the business people’s) complaint is not just about the unnecessary 24 hours per day, 365 days per year bike lane, but about the unfair and unbalanced process used to push through this proposal. While this has been in the works for as much as three years, the local merchants and residents have been given only one month to join forces and prepare a strategy to contest it, all while trying to run our businesses and personal lives. Could this have been part of the plan?

It is not unreasonable for us to ask for a postponement on a vote so that we can make our case and provide you with the data and information that the Bicycle Coalition(your main source of information)have conveniently managed to omit?

Has anyone of the Board of Supervisors spent any time on these blocks, which are defacto bike lanes for at least three hours inbound in the morning and three hours outbound in the evening?

Have you seen how light both auto and especially bicycle traffic is after 10 a.m. even in good weather (there is virtually no bicycle traffic on bad weather days)?

This proposal of the Bicycle Coalition (and the Transportation Department at the Mayors behest) as it stands now is not a compromise. The Bicycle Coalition---a powerful, adept, experienced, and sometimes militant group has exerted undue and unreasonable influence on city officials and policy. “They” are not “anti-business,” they are indifferent.

The representatives of the Transportation Department acknowledged that they did not follow protocol on this matter. That alone should be enough to buy us some time to make a case for a less radical solution.

A bike lane is a great idea. But 24 hours per day every day is not. It is as illogical as not allowing a right turn off Market Street onto the new Laguna Street on ramp (another Bicycle Coalition concession), which was a big mistake.

The way this matter was handled was one-sided, irresponsible, reckless, inconsiderate, un-democratic and I think un-San Franciscan. Please, please for the sake of honesty and fairness, consider a postponement.

Sincerely,

Christopher Albanese
Market Street Merchant

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