Self-Powered in the Excelsior

Editors: This story was originally published in Issue 158 of our quarterly Tube Times magazine, one of many perks of membership in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is a collection of people dedicated to collaborating on improving our neighborhoods for everyone’s enjoyment, but we’re not the only folks delivering safe streets for San Franciscans.

The Excelsior is a neighborhood teeming with passionate advocates organizing to improve access to healthy, affordable transportation. Among the many efforts underway there is a grassroots-organized, weekly Walk & Roll to School Hub for families to enjoy. Frank Sanchez, Safe Routes to School liaison at nearby SF Community School, rides with families to school from the Hub every Tuesday morning.

The SF Community School bike class is a great complement to the Hub. Nic Aulston, the class’ teacher, also co-founded Bicis del Pueblo, self-styled as “a community-based bike project that works … towards providing low-income youth and families … resources to incorporate the bicycle into their everyday lives.” Their programs, supported by PODER, include providing community members access to bike repair skills and safety education. They also distribute bikes, sometimes in partnership with our Bike It Forward program.

SF Community School is just one of four schools close to the Hub. Last Bike & Roll to School Week, students from Denman Middle School’s bike class also stopped by before riding to school together.

“That ride was the first time that half of those students ever rode a bicycle in the streets of San Francisco,” the class’ teacher Shenny Diaz said. “As a Physical Education teacher, my main concern is health and well-being. Bicycle advocacy can help transform students’ lives by providing a positive outlet to deal with stress and having the feeling of being free.”

Working with community members like Shenny, Nic and Frank, your SF Bicycle Coalition advocates for improvements for everyone biking in and around the Excelsior including on Mansell Street, Geneva Avenue and through the Excelsior Neighborways Project.

As recently as last year, Mansell Street bisected McLaren Park with several lanes of high-speed traffic. Those traffic lanes are being reduced in number to create a physically separated path for people biking and walking, opening up access for more community members to San Francisco’s second largest park. The reduced number of automobile lanes is also intended to reduce speeds through the park.

A few blocks south of Mansell, Geneva Avenue runs from Ocean Avenue to the southeast city line, connecting the Outer Mission, the Excelsior and Crocker-Amazon. In addition to safety improvements for people biking and walking, the City’s multi-modal project on Geneva seeks to improve the reliability of the 8-Bayshore bus. That Muni line serves about 23,000 San Franciscans every day, making it among the busiest bus lines citywide. We’re advocating to see robust outreach by the City on this project, including non-English materials to meet the needs of Cantonese-speakers and other communities along the corridor.

Three neighborways are also planned for the Excelsior with funding from Caltrans. The corridors are yet to be named, but City planners intend to integrate their construction with the redesign underway for Geneva Avenue. As the process moves forward, we will engage community members with opportunities to help shape where and how neighborhood streets are improved for biking and walking.

Together, with community groups leading the way, your SF Bicycle Coalition is proud to do our part in supporting Excelsior residents and neighbors realizing their dreams for their streets.

The Tube Times is published quarterly as one of the many benefits to members of the SF Bicycle Coalition. For a complete list of membership benefits, or to join/renew today, click here.

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