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San Francisco Prepares to Remove Paul Avenue Bike Lane

Paul Avenue. This bike lane was installed only a few months ago, but because local residents complained about the loss of parking to Supervisor Malia Cohen, SFMTA is entertaining calls to remove it. Photo: David Froehlich

Streetsblog tipster Chris Waddling brought this to our attention: apparently a new bike lane in the Bayview District may soon get removed. "Supervisor Cohen is seriously considering bowing to people demanding that new bike lanes on Paul Ave be removed a mere months after they went in," wrote Waddling, in an email to Streetsblog.

"There used to be no parking on the entire south side with parking along the north side. MTA removed parking on the north side to add bike lanes. Some neighbors and the church at the end of the street have complained about the parking removal," emailed David Froehlich, who commutes daily on that bike lane. "I also recently heard that Paul Ave was the route the YMCA takes for their bike to school program to go east and west from Bayview to Portola." The bike lane also connects to Muni's T-Third Light Rail line.

Public hearings on the matter were held earlier this month, but it's not too late for Streetsblog readers to comment. The SFMTA board meeting to decide on the fate of the bike lane is Nov. 7.

Details, including how to comment if you can't make the meeting, are in the email below from Malia Cohen's office:

Opinions on these proposed changes may be filed in writing prior to the hearing by emailing to sustainable.streets@sfmta.com with the subject line “Public Hearing.” Written opinions may also be transmitted to the Sustainable Streets Division via fax at 415.701.4737 or by mail: Engineering Public Hearing, Sustainable Streets Division, One South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103-5417. Submitted opinions will become part of the official public record and will be brought to the attention of the person(s) conducting the hearing. Information on the proposed changes may be obtained from SFMTA Transportation Engineering at the above-referenced addresses or by telephone at 415.701.4810. The SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 1:00pm at City Hall, room 400. The Board will vote at this meeting and make a decision on the proposed changes. Take a look at the agenda, which will be posted on the webpage prior to the meeting. If you would like to share your opinions to the MTA Board about the proposed changes but are unable to attend the meeting, please contact them at:

Office of the SFMTA Board of Directors
Phone: 415.701.4505
Fax: 415.701.4502
Email: MTABoard@SFMTA.com

The irony, of course, is that the city is trying to establish a bike-share station nearby. The further irony, as mentioned in Froehlich's email, is one of the reasons this bike lane is in danger is apparently because the Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church, on the corner of Third and Paul, complained that it took away parking (they have a parking lot, but it overflows). When Streetsblog visited the area a few Sundays ago, parishioners were parked all over the sidewalk--note that there is Light Rail and a bus station right across the street.

These last few weeks, we've seen three pedestrians deaths in San Francisco: Winifred Leshane, David Grinberg, and Gus Vardakastanis. And on Wednesday Elia Lewin-Tankel, a police officer, was hit and severely injured while riding his bicycle in the Tenderloin. San Francisco is not on course for achieving the goal of Vision Zero. If politicians cow to constituents who value convenient parking more than human safety, that goal will remain forever out of reach.

Streetsblog has emailed and called Malia Cohen's office for comment and will update this post accordingly.

In the meantime, she had this to say in 2014, when she was running for re-election, in a Q&A with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition:

Question: Do you support the creation of continuous crosstown bikeways —Connecting the City — even acknowledging that there will be some public pushback to inevitable changes?

Answer: Yes

Overflow parking from the Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church one Sunday, right across from the T-third and multiple bus lines. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Overflow parking from the Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church one Sunday (left), across from a light rail and bus stop. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
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