Friday, February 27, 2015

Smart[sic] Growth comes to Berkeley

From Berkeleyside

Thanks to the Berkeley Daily Planet

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A message on the Polk Street bike project

Dear colleagues:

Again, thank you for your support for the Prop L campaign

In a short six month campaign, we were able to convince over 79,000 San Francisco voters that the top-down, ideologically driven, parking and traffic policies of the SFMTA and City Hall are out of balance and fail to address the needs of the 79% of San Franciscans who are motorists, as well as district merchants and their customers, first responders, people with disabilities who need curb-to-curb service, and families with children.

During the campaign, we talked about the SFMTA's plans for Polk Street---euphemistically called the "Polk Street 'Streetscape' Project"---to permanently remove street parking on the east side of Polk Street from McAllister Street to Pine Street and create a tow-away zone from 7:00-10:00 a.m. from Pine Street to Union Street so that a few hundred bicyclists would have an allocated bike lake from City Hall to Union Street. In toto 250 parking spaces, nearly 30% of the total on Polk Street, would be removed, and the Yellow Zones currently on the east side of Polk Street would be relocated to the west side of Polk Street, making it significantly harder for trucks to make deliveries to merchants on the east side of the street.

The project is now coming to a head. The Planning Department provided a Certificate of Determination that the project was Exempt from Environmental Review (under CEQA). A pro-forma hearing was held last month simply to take public testimony on the Planning Department's findings and recommendations. And the SFMTA Board is set to approve the project as proposed at its meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd, 1:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 400.

The project is strongly opposed by the Polk Street Merchants, local residents, and the SF Council of District Merchants' Associations who believe the project will kill businesses on Polk Street because their customers won't be able to find convenient parking. The SFMTA's own Citizen's Advisory Committee passed a resolution calling upon the City to conduct an Economic Impact Report before SFMTA proceeds with the project.

The Coalition for SF Neighborhoods last week passed a resolution calling for a full Environmental Impact Review (EIR) because the proposal doesn't take into account the cumulative impact on traffic caused by the BRT on Van Ness, the CPMC construction on Van Ness and Geary, and the Planning Department's rezoning of the Van Ness and Polk Street corridors for denser housing, as well as the failure of the SFMTA to consider viable alternative routes for bike lanes, such as taking a lane out of Larkin and Hyde Streets (where there is room to accommodate both motorists and bicyclists without removing parking) than on Polk Street, which has only two lanes and must accommodate motorists, bicyclists, and buses.

Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to email Mayor Ed Lee, President of the Board London Breed, Supervisors Mark Farrell, Julie Christensen, and Jane Kim (who all have portions of Polk Street in their districts), and Chairman of the SFMTA Board Tom Nolan to express your opposition to the project as proposed and to call on the SFMTA Board to delay any final action on the project until a full Economic Impact Study and Environmental Impact Review have been completed.

The SFMTA Board's email address is

For those of you who wish to attend the SFMTA meeting to testify in person, although the meeting starts at 1:00 and the item is agendized until 3:00, please arrive by Noon so you will be able to be seated in the hearing room. At the last hearing, those who arrived just before the meeting was scheduled, were shuttled off to a separate hearing room with closed circuit TV. The Bicycle Coalition and its allies were there in force, and they will be there in even greater numbers on Tuesday. It is important that we match if not exceed their numbers.

Thank you for your assistance on this. 


Christopher L. Bowman
Campaign Coordinator, Prop. L (2014)

[See also Save Polk Street]

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Bike leaning rails in Seattle