In the next five years, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency plans to make several changes that will render San Francisco a more bike-friendly city.
The plans includes gifting city bikers with 12 miles of new bike lanes, upgrading more than 50 miles of current paths, installing 20,000 new racks and bringing in 2,750 bikes for a grab-and-go sharing network. The agency also plans to revamp 50 intersections to make them safer for bikers.
The ambitious plan comes with a hefty $200 million price tag. With a 71 percent increase in biking in San Francisco since 2006, such expansion and development sounds ideal, but it is unclear if SFMTA’s proposed changes are realistic.
Critics claim that many City residents are too wedded to cars to make bikes their primary mode of transportation. Not to mention, right now SFMTA only has enough cash to pay for 6 miles of new bike lanes each year, which falls short of the their current 10 mile goal, according to the SF Examiner.
Meanwhile, only $30 million of the overall $200 million cost has been pinned down. However, this does not mean the project is doomed — 2014 ballot measures, such as a vehicle license fee increase, could help cover the rest of the check.
Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, told the Examiner that SFMTA could also help by investing more in bike projects, which only account for 0.46 percent of the agency’s capital budget plan.
Shahum believes that such efforts could also help transform a somewhat traffic-challenged city. She told the SF Examiner:
“Investing in better biking is one of the most cost-effective and quick ways for The City to address its transportation challenges.”