As the end of 2014 draws near, we want to reflect on what we accomplished together in 2014. A huge thanks to the support and activism of our San Francisco Bicycle Coalition members who make all of this possible. Across our city, we are seeing the changes we’ve won together every single day. Here’s to even more victories in 2015!
In the past year alone, almost ten miles of bike lanes were built or significantly enhanced in San Francisco. Detailing all of the improvements would take a long time, so here are a few of our favorite additions to your ride around the city:
1. Cesar Chavez: It feels like the distant past by now, but the long-awaited and planned upgrades to Cesar Chavez Street were finally finished in January 2014! The new bike lane, improved sidewalks, bulbouts, rain gardens and slower traffic speeds are fantastic. These changes mean a safer, more attractive Cesar Chavez and also shows we are designing a street for people more than for speeding cars speeding through to the freeway. We’ve already seen the impact of these changes over the past year – recent SFMTA counts indicate that the number of people biking on Cesar Chavez has increased by 400%. Cesar Chavez is a great example of how street improvements done in coordination with the community can improve safety and convenience for all users.
2. Lower Polk Contraflow: We celebrated Bike to Work Day with a ribbon-cutting on this innovative three block contraflow, which was recently named America’s best new bikeway of 2014. These glorious three blocks on a key north-south corridor give a taste of what a truly great bike lane is all about – protected, separated, comfortable and safe. In 2015, we’re working to win an extension of these lanes further north.
3. San Jose Avenue: Neighborhood residents along the “Bernal Cut” had clamored for a better and safer bike lane between the Mission, Excelsior and Glen Park neighborhoods for decades. This June, the SFMTA finally finished constructing a new buffered bike lane from the I-280 exit ramp to Randall Street in the northbound direction. This project closed a critical gap in our Connecting the City vision for 100 miles of crosstown bikeways – and made biking safer for everyone trying to get between these neighborhoods.
4. Ortega Avenue: In August, we celebrated the opening of the new Ortega bike lanes, which helped slow down a neighborhood street and provide a safe route for families biking around the Sunset neighborhood and to and from Sunset Elementary. Since then, we’ve seen these lanes get lots of use, proving that even in areas where the roads are less congested, people are more comfortable biking when they have safe, designated space on the roads.
5. Doubling Funding for Bicycle Infrastructure: Thanks to San Francisco Bicycle Coalition supporters and the tireless work of our community organizers, in April the SFMTA committed to doubling the amount of funding dedicated to bicycle projects. We still have a long way to go, as funding only increased from 1% to 2%, but it’s a good start. Next up: making sure that funding reflects the number of people who rely on safe bicycle infrastructure to get around, which would mean doubling the funding level again.
6. Vision Zero: In January, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, along with Walk San Francisco and the rest of our Vision Zero Coalition partners, called for the City to adopt a Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and severe injuries by 2024. Since then, we’ve seen almost all City agencies, including the SFMTA, the Department of Public Works, the Office of Planning, and the San Francisco Police Department, formally endorse Vision Zero and take steps to help the City reach its goal. We’ve also seen the Vision Zero Coalition grow to be a group of more than thirty community-based organizations fighting for stronger Vision Zero policies. 2015 will be an important year for the group, so stay tuned to hear more about Vision Zero goals in the new year!
7. Community Bike Builds: This year we helped over 350 people get access to a bike! We focused most of our Bike Builds in the Bayview, and look forward to expanding the program next year while continuing to work with our community partners to help increase access to one of the City’s most affordable modes of transportation.
8. Safe Routes to School: In 2014 we expanded our Safe Routes to School program to include 25 schools, and held our most successful Bike and Roll to School day yet! Over 3,000 students participated in Bike and Roll to School day across San Francisco, demonstrating how much interest there is in helping kids (and families) find safe, active ways to get around our city.
9. Driver Education: In support of Vision Zero, we significantly expanded the number of people we taught how to share the road safely with people on bikes and on foot. This year we taught over 1,700 taxi drivers, shuttle bus drivers and other large vehicle drivers. We’re proud to be working with the SFMTA to expand the program even more next year, and hope that it results in a measurably safer bike ride for everyone out there.
10. Bicyclist Education: At the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, we want to help get more people on bikes, whether that means teaching toddlers to ride for the first time or adults who have never ridden before but want to start. This year, we taught almost 3,000 people how to ride a bike safely, and released our first ever Rules of the Road video. If you’re interested in learning more about our classes, check out everything we offer and learn what classes are coming up soon. And if you’re one of the 3,000 people we taught this year, we look forward to seeing you in the bike lanes!
11. 2014 Elections: 2014 was a critical year for transportation! In November, we helped pass Propositions A and B, which helped provide much-needed transportation investments in our city, and beat back Proposition L, the nasty pro-car initiative which would have prioritized parking over people. These victories showed that San Franciscans support a transportation that prioritizes people over cars, and means a 2015 with more bike lanes coming your way.