How watching paint dry could help San Francisco cyclists


San Francisco and its transit agency have lofty goals. Half of all trips made in San Francisco by 2018 will be by modes other than cars, and 20 percent of vehicle trips will be by bike in 2020, if the city has its way.

One major obstacle to both of those goals is paint. Yeah, the gooey stuff. 

Sup. Eric Mar convened a hearing on bike expansion strategy today, exploring a newly released report he requested from the budget analyst which outlines the (bike) path to a more fixie-friendly San Francisco.  

The report outlined obstacles to expanding bicycle use in the city and gave many recommendations on raising funds, but one of the lowlights was a series of backlogs in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority’s Traffic Paint Shop, which paints bike lanes and sharrow signs on pavement across the city.

The problem is, the bike lanes aren’t getting painted. At least not all of them.

“I felt, with bike advocates and others, pissed off,” Mar said, of the lack of progress on bike safety implementation in the city. “This hearing is coming from much of those frustrations.”

The paint shop’s backlog of projects stretches all the way back to 2010, according to the report. The Bay Guardian contacted the SFMTA for a response, and were told they were in the process of finding someone from the paint shop to speak. 

But that might be hard to do, as one of the contributing factors the report outlined is a lack of leadership. The paint shop has had a managerial vacancy since April of 2011, and though the position was briefly filled in June 2012, it was just as quickly vacated again.

This spells problems for the city’s bike expansion goals.

“The Traffic Paint Shop was found not able to promptly fulfill all of the work requested resulting in a backlog of projects that delay project implementation including bicycle improvement projects,” the budget analyst wrote in the report.  

So the board of supervisors and bike advocates can achieve new victories, getting project approvals for bike lanes and safety improvement projects left and right -- but until the paint shop shapes up, some of those projects may be pushed back years. 

They also lack an electronic database system to track its project’s progress, creating further slowdown, according to the report. 

The paint shopped developed a plan to address the issues that have caused the backlog, but the solutions have not been completely implemented. Their new database, for instance, would not go online until 2014, and only if the funding is made available.

They’ve made some progress though. The total backlog at the beginning of 2013 was 394 projects uncompleted, and are now down to 149 projects.

The report shows they are slowly addressing concerns, but the source of the problems themselves have not been addressed.

The Sustainable Streets Division, the umbrella division of SFMTA that implements bike capital projects, also has issues keeping up with its workload. Bridget Smith, a deputy director working in the division, told the budget analyst they would need anywhere from 15-20 additional planners and engineers to meet the city’s transportation growth needs.

The projects are not just about expanding bike use, but about making rides safe. Amelie Le Moullac was killed while cycling on Folsom back in August, and her death was cited during the hearing as a catalyst for the safety projects to pick up the pace.

Douglas Nicolson, a dues-paying member of the SF Bike Coalition, spoke at the podium to Sups. Mar, John Avalos, and Mark Farrell. 

“Bicycling is my primary means of transportation, I’ve ridden my bike through SoMa every day,” he said. “Looking into the future, my girlfriend and I are starting to think about having kids. Will I still be able to depend on a bike when I have someone who depends on me?”

Mar told the Guardian this was a first step to push for more funding and support from the mayor and the board to expand bike capital projects and safety throughout the city. “According to the findings of this report, San Francisco cannot afford not to fund bicycle infrastructure,” he said.


to demanding that cyclists do a better job of obeying the traffic rules. Walking is surely the most fundamental mode of transit in the city and I increasingly hear pedestrians complaining about cyclists endangering them. Indeed, I hear that more than I hear pedestrians complaining about cars.

And of course you will know that two pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in the last couple of years in SF.

The key areas to address here are not riding on the sidewalk, obeying all stop signs and lights, not riding the wrong way down a one-way street, and keeping right as much as possible to avoid causing an obstruction to faster-moving traffic.

The bike lobby must learn that they cannot just take and not give back, and that we do not owe them anything. If the bike crowd do not improve their public image, there will be calls for mandatory training, testing and licensing of riders, and registration and insurance for bikes.

Bikes will only ever be a marginal form of transit because so many people cannot ride a bike, for a variety of reasons. But the bike lobby are mostly affluent white males and they are used to getting their own way. It's time for a little balance on this topic before the cyclists' public image deteriorates even more.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

Cars are much more lethal. The City plans to increase cycling 5 times what it is today and is doing everything it can so that this democratic inexpensive way of getting around is available for everyone.

You luxury SUV drivers will just have to give up a bit of road to others. I know you think you are entitled to it all, but it just ain't so.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

bikes. So what you are really saying is that bikes are more dangerous than cars on a per-mile basis.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

Do you believe that anyone believes that crap that you peddle? Do you believe it?

This is a worse lie than your one about taxes.

Here I know, prove it. Prove that there are 100 times as many automobile miles as bicycle miles traveled in San Francisco.

We both know you cannot.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

That's gotta hurt. I understand your pain.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:51 am

The first among equals.

Bow visionless slobs.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 9:55 am

I still don't get what is so hard about asking bicyclists to be more conscientious about actually following the rules of the road? I went to college in Davis and there were always scores of bicyclists on the road. They were invariably polite and followed the rules of the road. They stopped at stop signs and red lights, used the bike lanes (or stayed to the right) and not the sidewalk, yielded to pedestrians, and often used hand signals. The police were also not shy about ticketing bicyclists for infractions as they would drivers. I also noticed very little acrimony between drivers and bicyclists. Could there possibly be some sort of correlation in there?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

But this is San Francisco - the world capital of self-importance and entitlement - and so the cyclists we have here are mostly assholes.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

Yeah they are. Just take a look at Steven. He gets a warning from a cop for running a stop sign and he decides to give the cop "an earful". WTF??? Hey douchebag, you were the one in the wrong AND the cop was nice enough to give you a warning instead of a citation. He then has to write an article trying to paint himself as a victim but instead just comes across as a self-entitled ass who thinks he should only obey laws that he likes.

But Steven still can't hold a candle to Marcos who thinks that fighting for a right to run stop signs and ride on the on the sidewalks is comparable to the civil rights movement of the 60s.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

With his extremism, he was undermining the causes he claims to support.

The left hate him as much as the right find him amusing.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

Yeah it's kind of hard to generate sympathy for your cause by comparing officers who write tickets for stop sign running to Bull Connor using fire hoses and attack dogs on people trying to get the right to vote. If I were a progressive I'd be pissed as shit because idiotic statements like that do more damage to the cause than 10 Rush Limbaughs.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

A guy who drives his luxury SUV in from Marin and proudly double parks while he runs in for a latte want to lecture someone else on entitlement.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

I do not drive a SUV.

I do not live in Marin.

I do not like lattes.

Not that that ever stops him.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

You have admitted to double parking and were in fact quite proud of it.

You admitted to driving an SUV.

You did not admit to living in Marin but cannot for some reason tell us where in San Francisco you actually live.

You are a pathologically lying sociopath who cannot keep his lies straight.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 7:42 pm

I drive a Honda Odyssey, which is a minivan, not an SUV.

I only double park to drop off my dry cleaning.

I live in the Marina if you must know.

There is more than one person who posts as "Guest" you know.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

You sound very intolerant. Why the hate? San Francisco is world-renowned for its tolerance of differences. What happened to yours?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

Spending more ALWAYS equals greater results! Higher salaries for those painting the stripes will motivate them to clear these backlogs!

Posted by The Goebblin Love Child of Smaug on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

Oh, and paid FMLA leave, otherwise the street painters will all quit and go to work for BART - a welfare company that also runs a few trains.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

When will car drivers understand that unless they stop running stop signs, speeding, texting while driving and engaging in DUIs and other unsafe behavior, that they will never get any respect or support from decent God-fearing San Franciscans.

11 out of 11 members of the Board of Supervisors voted for the "20 percent by 2020" to encourage bicycle use as a clear rebuke to the self-centered and reckless automobile driving special interest group.

Their massive sense of ego and entitlement makes them believe that they are the only ones allowed to use public space, but the wise City leaders have shown them otherwise.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

for it. That's like voting for motherhood and apple pie.

There is no "car lobby" in the sense that there is a virulent bike lobby. What there is is a large majority of working families whose lives depend on cars, as opposed to some affluent white tech workers who like to dress up in lycra and whine a lot.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

Who keeps fighting the increase in emissions standards? Who demands more spending on out-dated infrastructure, to the exclusion of transit and cycling?

How much do the car companies and oil companies spend on lobbying every year?

Every time I turn on a TV I see a truck or SUV ad. I guess I must be hallucinating these things.

I never see lycra on a cyclist except when I go to Marin. Do you live in Marin? That would explain a lot about you.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

I never see lycra on a cyclist except when I go to Marin. Do you live in Marin? That would explain a lot about you.

True. In the city, most cyclists I see wear jeans, cargo shorts, "office" slacks, and some women wears tights/leg warmers with skirts. I rarely see lycra in the city. When I do, the cyclist often has tacky corporate ads all over their clothes. WTF? I wear jeans.

Posted by GuestInTheCastro on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

I guess we live in different neighborhoods.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:52 am

Well to begin with, you live in Los Ángeles. Period. So let's stop playing this "we live in different neighborhood" games. Even though you pretend to live in San Francisco for excreting your (angry) one-sentence troll bile on this site between 6-7 a.m. every morning.

But I suspect some cyclists in Los Ángeles wear lycra in some places.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

Don't think so.

And he knows a lot about SF for someone who you claim lives in LA. Evidence?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

Since when does an useless troll such as yourself need evidence for anything? You've never depended upon evidence before. Rank ignorance is your modus operandi. And even the most ignorant of trolls is bound to know a bit about San Francisco as much as that parasitic troll lives on this site. 6-7am is just the starting time.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

So yeah, we live in different neighborhoods.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

"Their massive sense of ego and entitlement..."

I agree and the same thing can be said about homeowners. Whenever there's talk about some new business coming into the Castro, for example, to fill another closed store front having been closed for months, I've read comments which begin like this: "As a homeowner, ...."

Why would one need to begin a comment like that? As if owning a home makes that person's opinion so much more important than anyone else's. It doesn't. What a massive sense of ego, self-importance, elitism and entitlement. The same with The Car Lobby. And it's often the same people.

Posted by GuestInTheCastro on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

Why do you think we give homeowners so many tax breaks and deductions? Because we as a society wish to encourage that type of commitment to our communities.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:53 am


Rewritten for accuracy:

"Homeowners CAN add stability to any neighborhood."

But they don't always do that. Some homeowners can be very disruptive to a neighborhood. They can be a real problem with their ego and self-entitled selves. Some homeowners are real busy-bodies, "you're too close to my property line" and can be real asshole in a neighborhood. They can cause a lot of instability and friction and animosity in a neighborhood. They can cause one group of neighbors to be against another group of neighbors. Which is one reason some people choose to sell their home to move away from assholes who also own their home and are not about to go anywhere and plan on continuing to be assholes no matter who moves next to them. So the utopia world that that corporate shill/hack "Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:53 am" wrote about does not exist in many places.

And renters/tenants can also add stability to any neighborhood, not just homeowners.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

But meanwhile it is property owners who get the tax breaks, so you clearly are not winning this argument.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

"San Francisco and its transit agency have lofty goals. Half of all trips made in San Francisco by 2018 will be by modes other than cars, and 20 percent of vehicle trips will be by bike in 2020, if the city has its way."

LOL. Yeah right. Sure. San Francisco has become a car culture just like Los Ángeles. And I remember when San Franciscans used to complain about Los Ángeles.being a car culture. Hypocrites.

I've never taken part in this immature rivalry shit between the two cities. San Franciscans pretend to be so "green" when all they can do is a little recycling they're forced to do by the city. Then the sheep drive around in big bland black, silver or tan SUVs (color-phobic people!) and pretentious "luxury designer" vehicles trying to impress somebody. But whom? Who cares what kind of vehicle your ass is sitting in? In a major city where no one knows anyone else (other than friends and family), who exactly are you trying to impress with your insecure "keeping up with the Jones-es" nonsense? Also, having a holiday tree (wrapped in a plastic bag on the roof of your SUV) that was recently cut down is real fucking "green" isn't it? Ever heard of an artificial tree which will last decades, sheep?...if you must have a tree.

As Joe writes, very "lofty goals." I'd add: unrealistic. Not about to happen. If anything, just the opposite. More and more vehicles. Gridlock. I can't see people getting their fat ass out of that vehicle until they're forced to. Fortunately, I do see quite a few cyclists on the streets which is good to see....sometimes there are lots of them and groups of them. No fat asses there with the cyclists. Cycling is one of the healthiest things one can do for themselves and for our environment. Of course, that will go right over the head of most of those who drive a vehicle; they prefer to live in Denial. And cycling takes some work and most people can't be bothered with that. It's much easier to just sit on your fat ass in a metal/plastic box and "drive" rather than have to peddle where you're going and get a good aerobic workout. Also, cycling can sometimes interfere with the sheep's/vehicle drivers' texting obsession/addiction.

Posted by GuestInTheCastro on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

are different from you. I do hope we don't hear about you on the 6 o'clock news.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

Look it up in the dictionary. Mr. Casto seems like a very reasonable guy to me.

You, on the other hand, have some serious anger issues.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

That seriously angry troll doesn't look anything up. Ever. The #1 requirement for being a troll is ignorance and that troll more than meets that requirement. Consistently. Ain't about to look anything up or click on any links even if you provide them. In that troll's world, up is equal to down.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 4:33 am

says more about you than it says about him.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:54 am

You watch the 6 o'clock news? I don't believe that. From reading your reams of posts, one wouldn't guess that you watch (or read) any news.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

He comes across as a potential mass murderer.or terrorist.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:55 am

Are you also afraid of your own shadow?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 5:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

And they didn't spend $40M lobbying Washington last year. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a Communist!

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 9:22 pm
Posted by The Goebblin Love Child of Smaug on Dec. 04, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

How much cash did the "car lobby" pour into the pockets of the SF BOS to "keep down" the masses of bike riders?

Posted by Richmondman on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

Can you cite one recent time when drivers were actually given something in SF? Seems to me drivers are always being taken from.

Where are the new roads, new parking, new auto lanes? There are none.

OK, there's the Doyle Drive re-do but that is federal anyway.

If there is an auto lobby in SF it is doing a crappy job because all drivers do in SF is lose, lose, lose.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

Progressobots bemoan money and influence in politics, unless they are the ones getting over.

The organized tantruming dues paying car groups don't exist in the city, but in Washington they trying to get a deal, so that must translate into city politics.

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

So lobbying in DC does impact us. You are welcome to try and secede anytime, but it probably won't be successful.

Until then, stop pretending that money spent lobbying in DC doesn't impact policy in San Francisco.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 3:22 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

in San Francisco making federal policy?

"those darned trustafarians and unemployables that show up at city hall in San Francisco to whine and moan sure have an iron grip here in Washington DC"

There is no organized car lobby in SF like the entitled bike lobby. I don't know how any sane person can even make the connections you do without feeling like a fool.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

But with marcos, Eric, Lilli and Greg all in exile, GPD is now the chief spokesman for socialism here.

Kinda sad for the cause really.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

First you claim cyclists are all white techie men in spandex.

Now you claim they unemployables and trustafarians.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Do you large quantities of drugs or something?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

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