Friday, July 15, 2011

San Francisco holds the wrong debate

San Francisco drivers know that to travel east or west through much of the city, Fell and Oak Streets offer a rare path of progress: up to four lanes wide, one-way, fast-moving and laced with synchronized traffic signals, otherwise known as “light karma.” The good times, however, could soon be over. The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is in the early stages of a plan that could squeeze cars on these popular routes to make room for bike lanes — by eliminating travel lanes or by removing street parking spaces. The project is emerging as the biggest showdown to date between automobile drivers and those who advocate greener travel options.  The project would add bikeways connecting the Lower Haight’s popular Wiggle bike route with the Panhandle park. Advocates say bikeways are safer for cycling, which has grown in popularity in recent years; some 7 percent of city trips are now by bike, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. There are fears that removing a travel lane will increase automobile congestion. Read on in the NYT. Velo Mondial adds that this is the wrong debate; it should not be car lanes versus bike lanes, but about accommodating all and making the corridor more efficient. The experience proves that this is very well possible; we are ready to help out.

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