13th Street bikeway moves forward after appeal fails


The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday determined that a bikeway project on 13th Street qualified for an exemption from the environmental review process.

Resident Mary Miles filed the appeal and said the project should not be exempt from the environmental review process of because of misstated facts on the number traffic lanes the project will remove on 13th Street, and the air quality effects of the project:

“The City has admitted that there may be significant impacts that automatically removes this project from realm of a categorical exemption. You cannot say a project may have impacts … it says it may have impacts to air quality due to congestion.”

Miles also said in the appeal letter that traffic volumes were inaccurately reported and the project would reduce capacity for vehicles on the portion of the project.

The project in question includes installing a protected bikeway on 13th from Folsom to Bryant streets and a parking-protected bikeway on 13th between Harrison and Bryant streets in the eastbound direction, according the SFMTA.

CLARIFICATION The story has been updated to include the description of the entire project and not a portion of the project.

Jennifer Wong, a transportation planner with the SFMTA, said that the project removes a lane of traffic in order to accommodate the new parking-protected bikeway.

The SFMTA Board of Directors approved the project in April.

Christopher Espiritu, environmental and transportation planner for the Planning Department, said the project would not result in significant impacts to the environment.

Espiritu said the data submitted by the SFMTA on traffic volumes within project scope did meeting guidelines of the Planning Department. The SFMTA collected the data on April 19, 2016 between the hours of 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Also, Espiritu addressed the reduction of vehicle capacity of the roadway. He said the appellant misunderstood the data in the Planning Department’s report on vehicle capacity on the roadway for the project:

“The 13th Street roadway would continue to have adequate capacity to handle those traffic volumes.”

The Planning Department report addressed the air quality effects from the project. The report said while the project will not add any additional vehicle trips, the report said the reconfiguration of the roadway may alter travel patterns around the project area, which may result in increased delays leading to increased emissions around the project area.

The report said the impacts are “likely to be minor” and determined there would be no significant impacts to the air quality.

Construction on the eastbound 13th Street bikeway was installed in May, said SFMTA spokesperson Ben Jose.

CORRECTION The original article stated the SFMTA will begin the installation of the eastbound 13th Street bikeway this summer. The bikeway was already installed in May. SFBay apologies for the error.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay and covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Follow Jerold on Twitter @jerold_chinn. Email tips to

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