With the push of a paint brush San Francisco enters a new era for bicycling. The city's ambitious bike plan got underway Monday and the changes will be visible very soon on at least 45 projects.
"We're looking at 31 miles increase in bike lanes that we're striping, about 500 bike racks installed across this city," Muni Executive Director Nathaniel Ford said.
The $12 million to $14 million plan, to be paid for with federal state and local money, has been more than four years in the making. It was largely put on hold when the city was sued for failing to conduct an environmental impact review. The review has now been done and a judge has ruled the project can move forward.
Rob Anderson is the man who singlehandedly with his lawsuit delayed the project. He is disappointed it has now been launched.
"If you take away traffic lanes on busy streets to make bike lanes, you'll make traffic worse," he said.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition disagrees. The organization estimates there was a 53 percent jump in people bicycling between 2006 and 2009 and predicts there will now be an explosion.
"It's going to be easier and safer to bicycle around San Francisco and make the streets safer for everybody," SFBC spokesperson Renee Rivera said.
Mayor Gavin Newsom says San Francisco is on its way to becoming America's No. 1 city for cycling. He believes friction with motorists is easing and merchants who were once opposed to bike lanes are not any longer.
"The general flavor, the sentiment is this is a way of enhancing the city, bringing people to a community," Newsom said.
The city will spend $3 million on the project in the first year.