Get ready for bikes, San Francisco. A whole lot of them.
With the lifting of a three-year injunction against any bike infrastructure improvements, San Francisco is chomping at the bit to pave new lanes, install new racks, and create innovative new measures to get people around town.
Last week, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition presented their Connecting the City proposal at a Transportation Authority Plans and Programs meeting. Their vision: a connected bike network around the entire city, with no scary gaps between safe paths.
They found a receptive ear in Supervisor David Chiu. He persuaded the board to unanimously approve of setting a goal of 20% of city trips made by bicycle by the decade's end.
Currently, only 7% of bike trips are made by bike. Increasing bike usage by nearly threefold will require a significant investment, but it'll pay off: bicyclists can look forward to decreased congestion, stronger neighborhood relationships, and faster commutes. Not to mention, they don't have to feel so guilty on those days when they skip the gym.
The Bike Coalition's plans would transform the city. They want to see a path that would connect Ocean Beach to the Ferry Building, an east-west path that would provide a quick trip from one side of the city to the other. Currently, making that trip by bus could take more than an hour.
Cars are too bulky, expensive, and dirty to make the trip efficiently. A bicyclist, on the other hand, could make the trip in about half an hour if sufficient improvements were made to the safety and connectivity of the paths.
Another plan would extend a bike path all the way out into the Bay, providing scenic views. There's even talk about installing a "bike lift," a little moving paddle that sticks out of the ground and hoists bicyclists up the steepest of hills.