- This Week
San Francisco is seeing increased cycling ridership, yet children are being largely left behind
05.10.11 - 4:04 pm | Carly Nairn |
Despite record numbers of kids riding at this year's Bike To School Day, the city has some kinks to work outPHOTO BY JJAY DAGAR
According to SFUSD's 2010 fall enrollment maps, which show all the district's elementary schools and compares them to the students' residences, most of the 72 schools have as many students traveling from across the district as those living within a mile of the campus. Parker Elementary in North Beach is such an example, with an almost equal number living inside and outside the neighborhood, including some who live as far away as Visitacion Valley.
With such a long way to ride, it's difficult for parents and those concerned with safety to feel comfortable allowing children to ride. But Shahum believes it's still possible. SFBC's Connecting the City project advocates for safe, cross-town bikeways throughout the city, which could draw more children onto the streets.
Shahum noted that bicycling increased dramatically even when there was a court injunction barring new bike projects. "Imagine the change we can expect when the changes do come," she said.
She also said that events such as Sunday Streets, the monthly carfree streets events, are attracting families and encouraging them to start cycling together. So the answer to encouraging more youth cycling may be to make the streets safer and more inviting for everyone.
"We hope, through the Connecting the City vision, to see people riding on cross-town bikeways — for everyone from 8 to 80." she said.