I Want to Be a Part of it, SF, SF
One thing you often hear in the “war on bike lanes” in New York is that in a city as crowded and congested as the Big Apple, we simply can’t add biking into the mix. To me, this is the talk of a society so inured to the dangers and congestion caused by cars that it has developed a sort of Stockholm Syndrome. Being held hostage to cars and seeing no alternative, some make excuses for why there’s no way the situation will ever improve.
But look at San Francisco, where cycling is up 58% since 2006.
Now, San Francisco is a different beast from New York City in many ways. It’s smaller, of course, and in some ways its a more transit-friendly city. (Despite a pokey bus system that finds few fans among locals and the fact that the BART is far more limited than the New York City subway.)
But there are a lot of similarities. Traffic-snarled bridges and expressways. A diverse population with distinct neighborhoods. Huge, sprawling auto-centric suburbs. Unpredictable weather.
Plus, for years San Francisco faced a huge bureaucratic obstacle to building bike lanes, as the Gate reports:
…13 months ago…a San Francisco Superior Court judge partially lifted a 3-year-old injunction that prevented the city from adding bike lanes until a state-required environmental review of parking and traffic changes necessitated by the plan was completed and certified.
“The public opinion used to be that San Francisco never could be a bicycle city because of the topography,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “But now we’re seeing that view change as more people are biking to work and school and to get around the city.”