SF bicyclists participate in 'Bike to Work Day'

May 14, 2009 1:21:19 PM PDT
Some of San Francisco's most prominent city officials rolled in to work fashionably late this morning with a hot set of wheels and a rolled-up pant leg to support the 15th annual Bike to Work Day.

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Bicyclists flooded the front steps of City Hall wearing sunglasses and smiles while seven members of the Board of Supervisors, staff from the city's Municipal Transportation Agency and other locals talked how about thrilling it is to ride their bikes.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who wore a black shirt with white letters that spelled out, "ONE LESS LAWYER IN A CAR," told the crowd of about 50 bikers that no one supports expanding the number of bike lanes in San Francisco more than he does.

Supervisor Carmen Chu rolled in with a white, faux-fur helmet and told the loud crowd, "You can be fashionable as you're biking."

The Bike to Work Day event was especially upbeat this year because an injunction that has prevented the city from adding any bike lanes for the past three years might be lifted as soon as June 25th.

The injunction required the city to perform an environmental impact report before it could follow through with any changes to the system. The Planning Commission will decide whether to approve the report June 25.

If the EIR is approved, the MTA will look over a project that suggests 56 improvements to the city's bicycle system the next day, MTA spokesman Judson True said. Most of the projects involve adding new bike lanes and re-striping existing ones.

Bicycle Coalition Director Andy Thornley said, "The question is, how many of them will they pass? I'm sure they'll pass at least 50 of the 56 projects."

Every one of the city officials today, including MTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford, talked about their eagerness to get the improvements started.

"We have bought the paint. We have bought the brushes. As soon as the injunction is lifted we can start painting," Ford said.

City Hall was one of several breakfast stations with music, bagels, bananas and coffee that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition set up for bikers.

"This is not to try to get people to get rid of their cars. Maybe just once a week you can ride your bike to the corner store instead of driving," Thornley said.

Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, David Chiu, Bevan Dufty, John Avalos, Eric Mar and David Campos also rode their bikes to work today.

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