Friday, June 23, 2006

Court injunction against the Bicycle Plan


Judge James Warren of the Superior Court issued a Preliminary Injunction against the City of San Francisco on June 20, 2006, enjoining the city from implementing its bicycle project until the court can rule on the merits of the litigation initiated by the Petitioners, Coalition for Adequate Review, Ninety-Nine Percent, and Rob Anderson. 

The Petitioners filed the litigation in July, 2005 under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), citing the city’s failure to conduct any environmental review of the impact of the sweeping project.

The project consists of two large volumes, the “Framework” and “Network” documents that contain detailed plans, maps, and “actions” to change most of the streets in San Francisco. To accommodate the one- to two-percent of city residents who ride bicycles in the city, the plan mandates eliminating traffic lanes and street parking and parking in new and existing structures, allowing bicycles inside Muni and other public transit vehicles, and requiring that buses and automobiles “share” traffic lanes with bicycles regardless of speed. 

The city conducted no environmental review of the impact of these actions before sending the plan to the Board of Supervisors, which adopted it in Ordinance 109-05 on June 7, 2005, incorporating the plan’s Framework document into the City’s General Plan. On June 21, 2005, the Board, sitting as the San Francisco Transportation Authority, adopted the project’s other component, its “Network” document.

The Petitioners requested the preliminary injunction because the city continues to implement the project in spite of their litigation. In May, for example, as described in the project, the city permanently eliminated street parking and a traffic lane on Market Street between Van Ness and Octavia Blvd. to install bicycle lanes. 

On April 18, the Board of Supervisors rushed the Market Street action through the process with no environmental review to accommodate the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s “Bike to Work Day” on May 18. The result, according to merchants and services in the 1600-1700 blocks of Market, has been a drastic loss of business and foot traffic.

Meanwhile, the city has continued to eliminate street parking and traffic lanes to install bicycle lanes on several other thoroughfares, including Potrero, NorthPoint, Lake, and San Jose. There are also plans to eliminate traffic lanes and street parking for “bicycle improvements” on 2nd, 5th, 14th, 16th/17th, Alemany, Bayshore, Broadway Tunnel, Cesar Chavez corridor, Townsend, Illinois, Laguna Honda, Upper Market, Masonic, Fell, Oakdale, Polk, Portola, 19th Avenue, and other city streets. 

Long-term plans enable unnamed people to alter every street in the City by adding it to the “bicycle network,” a list largely devised by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which endorses the Critical Mass demonstration that blocks commute traffic in the City during rush hour on the last Friday of every month.

To further evade the City’s obligation to conduct environmental review of the bicycle plan project, the Board of Supervisors also adopted a resolution on April 12 and 18, 2006 to do away with the “Level of Service” (LOS) measurement of time lost due to traffic delays caused by the project, calling CEQA itself “dated” and “antiquated.”

The Preliminary Injunction, signed by Judge James Warren on June 16, 2006---one of his last decisions before retiring---prohibits the City from all further parking and lane elimination and from allowing bicycles inside Muni vehicles until the case is decided on the merits. 

Trial is now scheduled for September 13, 2006. You can view the decision on the Superior Court's website ( by entering case number 505509.

Contact Coalition for Adequate Review, Rob Anderson:

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At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Rob,
Other than being pro-car, anti-bike what are your other interests/hobbies? What do you do in your recreation time? Where were you born/raised and what are your values--are they Christian-based or otherwise? Tell us a little about yourself.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No, I won't tell you about myself. My blog is not about me. It's about city issues. I am not pro-car or even anti-bike. I just think that redesigning the city's streets on behalf of 1% of the city's population---taking away traffic lanes and street parking, among other things---is poor public policy. I also think riding a bike in the city is very dangerous and shouldn't be encouraged by city government. This whole bike thing is a progressive utopian fantasy that's not going to happen.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, there are cities designed by and for people who think "riding a bike in the city is very dangerous and shouldn't be encouraged by city government". These cities emphasize the ablitiy to go far fast, by car and by car only. Houston. Phoenix. LA. San Francisco doesn't fit in this list; San Francisco has always emphasized the human element in planning and design (at least more so that most of the US). Why are you working to push San Francisco into the mold that so much of the rest of this country follows? I think you can agree and admit that most San Franciscians do support vastly imporved bicycle safety and access throughout the city; I assume you also would argue them to have been misinformed and misled. I would argue otherwise - that these people consiously choose and prefer to build a city which they can enjoy without requiring four walls of steel and rubber seperating them from reality.

So, why are you working so hard to push San Francisco away from the bicycle? Is this really what's best for the people of San Francisco?

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

If you ask most SF residents if they support bicycle safety, they would probably say yes. But if you asked them if it was okay to take away a traffic lane and/or street parking in their neighborhood to create a bicycle lane I bet you would get a different answer. What I'm saying is this: Before you take away that lane and that street parking, you should do an EIR, including serious traffic studies, to determine the effects on the city's environment, not to mention giving the people of the city a chance to provide input on the plan. What are you afraid of? Why not let the people of San Francisco decide what's best for their city? The case will be heard in September. Is that too long to wait for a decision? What's the hurry? Why not take our time and get it right?

At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob - what a fucking simpleton you are! I own 2 cars (because of my wife and my commute to suburbia) and I still unequivably support better bike infrastructure in this city and elsewhere, more bike lanes everywhere we can put them, bike parking, benefits to businesses that encourage bike commuting, and on and on.

This asinine fantasty that it is "elitist" to support bicycling has got to go!

Little monkeys like you have NO RIGHT to live in this city. You are NOT a San Franciscan.

Al Kaun (Inner Sunset)

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

If you had actually read the press release, you moron, you would see that the litigation is not about stopping "bike infrastructure" at all; it's about doing an EIR before you embark on a major project to redesign city streets. Some of the ideas/plans in the Bicycle Plan are sound and will eventually be implemented. Many others are not so good. Anyhow, the city needs to do a serious study of the whole Plan so that city residents can learn what's in it, instead of implmenting it street by street in a surrepitious manner, which is what they've been doing.

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, I just want to express my gratitude to you for having the balls to stand up to these relentless people who would shut down our streets to the people they were built for: motorists!

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only should an environmental impact report be mandatory, such a report should be able to show scientific evidence that removing one-third of the auto-traffic capacity of a street (such as San Jose Avenue) for a bicycle lane will actually decrease emissions. Jamming up traffic by reducing capacity actually INCREASES emissions. It is mental masturbation to think that causing traffic jams is going to force people to use bicycles.

Since the bicycle Bolsheviks expropriated two of the six lanes on San Jose Ave. has anyone done any studies to see whether the loss of capacity has been taken up by the bike lanes? If you think so, you are masturbating mentally.

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the bikultists want their lane they should pay for it like the rest of us.
the proposal for a $10 vehicle fee should include bikes. they are "vehicles" on the road.
the majority (99%0 pay our taxes and various fees and fares (muni) to support the system. if a bikey can afford a $1000-$4000 vehicle they can afford the $10.
then they can pay registration and insurance premiums like the rest of the vehicle owners are required to do.
no more free ride.
personally i'd like to see an injunction against the vehicle fee until it includes the bikes. then it would be equitable.
the costs of painting the lanes and the police overtime to aid and abet the flaunting of the law by the idiocy called critical mass need to be amortized by fees on the bikes.


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