MTA Board Gives Direction on Bike Strategy

On Tuesday June 18th the MTA Board of Directors will give direction to the agency’s staff about whether to go big or small with improving bicycling over the next five years. The agency has been working on a draft 2013-2018 Bicycle Strategy, and will be presenting it to the Board for policy guidance before it becomes final.

What does this mean? A lot. Take a look at the three potential directions the agency could take, as detailed in the plan, and what that would mean in terms of numbers of new and improved bikeways for you.

We are calling on the SFMTA to move forward with the System Build Out scenario, which would address the tremendous pent-up demand to open up bicycling to many more people, and put San Francisco on par with other major cities’ recent investments in bicycling. London’s Mayor is calling on the City to invest $1.4 billion in bicycling over the next 10 years. And as he points out, that’s actually cheap when it comes to transportation.

As we detailed in an earlier blog post, the SFMTA currently spends a shocking 0.46% of its capital budget and even less of its operation budget, on bicycling, despite the fact that the agency has recognized investments in bicycling to be one of the cheapest, highest value ways to improve mobility in our city. That number is projected to increase over the coming years, but to still fall many magnitudes short of the three scenarios detailed above. Even the most aggressive scenarios suggested above would only amount to approximately 8% of the SFMTA’s capital budget. And as the Mayor of London points out,

“Compared with other transport infrastructure, he says, cycle paths are cheap. London is spending $900-million to expand one key station of its subway system, the Tube.”

The MTA Board has an important choice in front of it on Tuesday, June 18th. We will be there to speak up for aggressive investment in bicycling as part of the SFMTA’s overall transit first strategy, to make your ride far better over the next five years. E-mail kit [at] sfbike DOT org if you are interested in speaking up for significantly more improvements in biking in the next five years. This is an important decision point for the City, and they need to hear from you.

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