San Francisco Cyclists Get Mixed Traffic Signals

Bad news in bike-sharing deal interrupts official paint job

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jim Herd / SF Citizen
    The grins and smiles over bike improvements were quickly replaced by grimaces and scowls as Clear Channel pulled out of a proposed bike sharing program.

    With improvements for San Francisco's bicyclists beset by delays after a legal injunction, the three-year wait for new bike lanes and amenities grew by two more days this week in order to accommodate San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's busy, if mysterious, schedule.

    And then, at a press event featuring Newsom, District Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and Municipal Transportation Authority Director Nathaniel Ford painting a "bike box" to improve conditions for cyclists at the tricky intersection of Scott and Fell streets, Clear Channel made a scene by proxy.

    The company, which has numerous contracts for advertising on San Francisco streets, announced that it was pulling out of its exclusive agreement to subsidize the mayor's ambitious bike-sharing program proposal.

    The program, which would have sponsored hundreds of bikes around the city that people could rent, ride, and return at other locations -- similar to the Velib program in Paris -- is now looking for new corporate partners.

    Newsom, who was not pleased by the news, promised the crowd that if Ford couldn't make it work, his job at the SFMTA would be on the line.

    Of course, Newsom is no stranger to breaking promises himself. A donor miffed after donating $500 to the mayor's gubernatorial campaign in order to attend an event in Southern California earlier this year wants his money back.

    Why? Newsom never showed up. But, since it was officially a donation, and even though Newsom has since quit the race, the campaign won't be returning the cash.

    Photo by Jim Herd.

    Jackson West figures once it again it's one pedal forward, two pedals back for cycling improvements.