The long wait for new bike lanes may soon be over, according to officials who spoke Monday at a hearing held by District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell.

Any changes to the city’s existing bike lanes were held up while an environmental impact statement was completed.  But, it is now under review and should be approved by the Board of Supervisors in June, according to Timothy Papandreou, assistant deputy director of planning from the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

When the injunction is lifted, the car lanes will be narrowed to create new bike lanes on 17th St. from Castro to Potrero.

“We’ve passed the 1000 day mark since San Francisco has put up new lanes.  New York City has striped 150 miles of bike lanes since then.  We need to catch up,” said Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bike Coalition.

Papandreou was hopeful the plan would go forward this summer.

The new 17th St. bike lanes in the Mission are designed to be feeders to the 16th St. BART station.  The city won funding for the17th St. bike plan from the “Safe Routes to Transit” project.

Another improvement will close the bike lane gaps on Potrero between Division and 17th St. and between 25th Street and Cesar Chavez.

Shahum said a half dozen Mission District businesses like Ritual Coffee and Four Barrels have requested bike parking corrals in front of their businesses.

Papandreou said that funding would come from “existing local, state and federal sources.” The city will also “ push for more funds,” once the injunction is lifted.

The bike plan was approved in June 2005, but was held up when the Coalition for Adequate Review, Ninety-Nine Percent and Rob Anderson sued the city for approving the plan without first running it through an environmental impact review as the California Environmental Quality Act requires.

The case resulted in an injunction. Since then San Francisco has been unable to make any changes to the cycling infrastructure including adding new bike lanes or racks.

Several of the projects will be funded by Proposition K, a sales tax designed to fund transportation expenditures.

Shahum urged SF bike coalition members and other supporters to keep the pressure on officials to act swiftly.

“Our goal is not to pull people out of their cars, but to give them more options,” she said.

Map posted with permission from the San Francisco Bike Coalition.

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