Democratizing the streets - Page 5

Streets of San Francisco: An unprecedented political consensus on rethinking roadways is belied by nasty clashes over how to pay for it

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The number of SF cyclists has doubled in recent years even as a court injunction has prevented the creation of new bike lanes
AYANA IVERY AND CIELLE TAAFFE GUARDIAN PHOTO BY MATT REAMER

A judge will decide that question following the June 22 hearing. But whatever way that legal case is decided, it's clear that San Francisco has already changed its view of its streets and other once-marginalized transportation choices like the bicycle.

Even the local business community has benefited from this new sensibility, with bicycle shops thriving around San Francisco and local bike messenger bag companies Timbuk2 and Rickshaw Bags experiencing rapid growth thanks to a doubling of the number of regular bicyclists in recent years.

"That's who we're aiming at, people who bike every day and make bikes a central part of their lives," said Mike Waffenfels, CEO of Timbuk2, which in February moved into a larger location to handle it's growth. "It's about a lifestyle."

For urban planners and advocates, it's about making the streets of San Francisco work for everyone. As Metcalf said, "People need to be able to get where they're going without a car."

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