Breaking: Protected Bike Lanes on Valencia Approved

By Kristen Leckie on December 4, 2018

Safety can’t wait on Valencia Street.

That was the message we made clear at the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board meeting this afternoon, backed by 40 speakers and following nearly 500 submitted letters of support. Our urgent calls for change made a difference, as the SFMTA Board unanimously approved protected bike lanes on Valencia between Market and 15th streets.

Powerful testimony was shared over nearly two hours of public comment on this item. Our community organizer, Andy Gonzalez Cabrera, shared a story from streetside outreach where they connected with a man who bikes here every day but was injured after being doored. Speaking in only Spanish, he told Andy how he struggled to communicate with the driver because of language differences. When others stopped to see if he needed to go to the hospital, he refused because he didn’t have health insurance and didn’t want the police to show up.

A wide range of people spoke, including a sixth-grader from Friends School, parents who bike with their children on Valencia, and many people who have been hit by drivers while biking along this corridor.

At the end of the day, these are the people who are impacted when the City delays action for street safety, and that’s why we mobilized and showed up in numbers to make this protected bike lane a reality.

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Last engine of ‘Crookedest Railroad in the World’ coming back to the mountain

Author

Engine No. 9, the last remaining piece from the fabled “Crookedest Railroad in the World” that once climbed Mount Tamalpais, is back in the Bay Area and on its way to a new home in Marin County.

The 98-year-old steam locomotive had been on display in the Humboldt County logging town of Scotia since 1953. A group of Marin residents purchased No. 9 at auction and earlier this week loaded it onto a flatbed truck and moved it to a ranch in Sonoma County.

There they plan to rehabilitate the engine to museum quality and display it somewhere along the old railroad line that ran 8.19 miles and 2,400 feet from Mill Valley to the summit of Mount Tamalpais.

The railroad, which had 281 curves, advertised itself as “The Crookedest Railroad in the World” and was a noted attraction in the early days of tourism in Northern California.

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Press Release: New ARB Report Finds California Regions are Falling Short on Climate Goals, as Pollution from Driving Increases

This new State report delivers the bad news:  greenhouse gases are still increasing in California.  And additional highways are still being funded.  Rail transit and bicycle paths need to be prioritized.

Author Ella Wise|

Sacramento—Today the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a new report finding that California regions are not on track to meet either their 2020 or 2035 climate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additional action from every level of government is required, including more investment in sustainable transportation and affordable homes near jobs and transit. The report can be downloaded here.

Each metropolitan region in the state has a plan, required by law, to reduce emissions by reducing the need to drive. However, the report finds that regions are failing to deliver on their plans. Part of regions’ failure is due to challenges beyond their control, such as limited state funding and local land use decisions. But regions continue to invest in highways, which results in more driving, not less.

“If we are going to meet California’s bold climate goals, we must hold ourselves accountable,” said State Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica), who authored the law (SB 150) requiring the report. “To do that effectively we need to understand our progress through active monitoring and real-time data and be ready to make the changes needed to get us on target.”

“The largest source of carbon emissions in the state is growing: transportation,” said Victoria Rome, California Legislative Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Cleaner fuels and electric vehicles are crucial in slowing those emissions down but Californians also need options other than driving.

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Four new rail cars costing $11 million damaged upon delivery to SMART

Four new diesel rail cars Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit planned to put on the tracks in December to close a hole in its nightly weekday schedule arrived here from Japan damaged, delaying any schedule changes on the commuter rail line until at least the middle of next year.

SMART officials had hoped to incorporate the pair of two-train sets into its existing fleet of 14 cars to help address what it recognizes are shortcomings in existing service.

“We made good guesses what the schedule should look like,” Farhad Mansourian, SMART’s general manager, told the agency’s 12-member board earlier this month. “A year later, (we’re) getting great feedback from members of the public. We were all gunning to do all of this. Now we don’t have the vehicles.”

The new cars cost $11 million and were a separate purchase from an original $46 million order SMART placed with Nippon Sharyo in 2010. The company previously assembled the trains in Illinois, but the new cars were built at its factory in Toyokawa, Japan, before boating them to a port in Savannah, Georgia. From there, the 149-ton rail cars were shipped across the country aboard Union Pacific’s freight line.

Somewhere in transit, the cars were damaged when they arrived last month to the North Bay’s public rail agency — one set more than the other.

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Editorial: Motorists, Be Thankful about Cost of Bay Bridge Bike Path The high cost isn’t really about bikes, it’s about giving almost everything to cars

By Roger Rudick

It’s likely to cost around $300 million to build a bike path across the western span of the Bay Bridge, finally giving cyclists and pedestrians (and scooterists) a way to get between San Francisco and Oakland.

The price tag came up at last night’s Bay Area Toll Authority-sponsored public meeting to get feedback on the proposed “San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge West Span Bicycle, Pedestrian and Maintenance Path” project. As previously reported, the idea is to add a bike lane off the side of the existing deck (more details are available on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s web page on the project).

The projected cost seemed to get CBS’s famously motor-centric Phil Matier upset. “That comes to about $100 million per mile…a boatload of money,” he said in his report. He likens the high costs to the overruns of high-speed rail and the Transbay Terminal. He also implies the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has an outsized influence on the decision to build such an expensive path.

But there’s a reason the path is projected to cost so much.

The western span of the bridge is 58 feet wide. There are five lanes on the bridge’s upper deck and another five on the lower–all of them accessible to cars, with cyclists and pedestrians banned.

When the bridge opened in 1936, there were six car-only lanes on the upper deck. The lower deck had three lanes for cars, trucks, and buses (one lane was reversible). There were also two train tracks.

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