SF State opens new bike path, visibility an issue
November 13, 2009 4:54 PM
SF State has officially welcomed the first bike lane in San Francisco since the 2006 citywide bicycle injunction.
The path, which was put into use last month, connects Thornton Hall with University Park North and leads to 19th Avenue and the Stonestown Galleria Shopping Center.
"It's great. You're not immediately on 19th Avenue, which is a relief because you have time to get up to speed with traffic," senior Geoffrey Colburn said. The 23-year-old art major has been biking around San Francisco since he moved to the city four years ago. He bikes from his house on 15th and Church Streets to the University.
According to Jason Porth, associate director of community relations at SF State, the path was funded by a $363,000 grant from the San Francisco Country Transportation Authority.
The path, which spans the area behind Thornton Hall, to the side of Cox Stadium and leading to Buckingham Way, was publicized through e-mails from the Bicycle Advocacy Group on campus.
However, according to founding member Randall Orr, many students still don't know about the path.
"The path isn't easily visible from Buckingham Way and I'm pretty sure there are no signs in Stonestown or along Buckingham Way directing cyclists to the path," said Orr, who also coordinates the annual Bike to School Day.
"I've only seen about three cyclists at a time the four or five times I've been on the path," said Colburn, who noted that there were students walking along it as well.
The money for the path was awarded to the University through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Bicycle Facility Program, which aims to help reduce motor emissions by creating more space for bicycles. The path was installed despite the injunction because it is on land owned by the state rather than the city.
"The University is working hard to welcome cyclists," Porth said.
According to Porth, the University plans to add the route to all new campus maps created and hopes that knowledge will spread through word of mouth. Signs will also be going up as the path reaches completion with the addition of landscaping and painting within the next few months.
In 2005 the city introduced a bicycling plan aimed at expanding the safety of cyclists by adding 34 new miles of bike lanes and additional bike racks. It was stopped after protests regarding its environmental impact.
Arguing that the bike plan would negatively affect traffic and parking spot availability, two groups, the Coalition for Adequate Review and Ninety-Nine Percent, brought a lawsuit against the city regarding the plan.
In July 2006, a judge granted their request for an injunction, which prohibited San Francisco from implementing any of the proposed projects in the bicycle plan on the grounds that the city was required to prepare an environmental impact report for the plan.
Still, in its 2008 State of Cycling Report, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency found that between 75 and 80 percent of the 820 cyclists surveyed felt there were not enough bike lanes in the city.
An annual report released by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition also found that despite the injunction, ridership in the city had increased 43 percent between 2006 and 2008.
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