Friday, July 31, 2009

The Bicycle Plan and Second Street

Jeffrey Leibovitz on the Bicycle Plan's project for Second Street:
Let me put it this way. The 2nd street plan was conceived in a vacuum and it will have negative impacts on all BUT bicyclists. No one....I repeat No one living in South Beach or Rincon Hill was ever asked to comment on the ill-conceived plan. I have been involved with planning issues in this neighborhood for over 13 years. I am the Vice Chair of the Rincon Point-South Beach CAC for the Redevelopment agency and a board member of South Beach-Rincon-Mission Bay Neighborhood Association. We (the SBRMBNA) filed the second appeal of the EIR.

Our CAC has always been the forum for development issues in this area of the city. SFMTA never...I repeat NEVER came to our CAC to ask for input on the plan. We have worked with the Port, Planning dept., ISCOT, Giants, SFPD, SFMTA and the Entertainment commission on all kinds of related community issues. SFMTA dropped the ball on this one. I believe they did it intentionally to keep us in the dark because the plan was developed by bike zealots working within the department.

The assertion that "Second Street is actually a pretty popular route for bikes" is BS. Anyone that lives in this part of the city knows that for a fact. Stand on any corner of Second and count how many bikes go by. You would be lucky to see 4 per hour on a good day. Count the cars and's overwhelming.

Eliminating left turns from Market to King both North and South bound on Second in the name of "bike safety" is NUTS. Having drivers make needless additional right turns on to Bay Bridge feeder streets in order to go West into the SoMa is asinine. Making drivers make U-turns on Second to avoid the No left turns is worse. The authors of the [Bicycle Plan]EIR have used twisted, convoluted and tortured language to explain away the additional pollution on the neighborhood and stress on drivers. They get paid to make it easy for the city to ignore the facts.

Second street is not your average city street and we do not want a repeat of Octavia Boulevard, a plan developed by bike zealots that is a disaster.

We are now working with SFMTA and the SFBC to come up with a compromise plan. So far the folks of the SFBC are holding fast to their unrealistic goal. We have 36 months to arrive at a plan that works for everyone. I believe that goal is achievable. It's going to take some give and take on all sides.

I ride a bike, I walk the streets, I ride Muni and I drive a car. And I live in this neighborhood. I have worked to make this neighborhood a better place for everyone that comes here. It's time to come up with a better plan and make our city a better place for everyone. The streets are what they are and we have to work with what we have.

Second street has always had a history of controversy dating back to the 1880's when the industrialist mowed down Rincon Hill for "ease of access" to the South Beach waterfront. I believe we can make Second street safe for bikes, pedestrians and sensible for drivers and Muni.

Jeffrey Leibovitz SoMa