By : theguardian – excerpt

Hostility to cyclists and bike lanes often seems to be a proxy for wider anger at gentrification. But does this urban phenomenon really arrive on two wheels – or is new cycle infrastructure a sign the street has already transformed?

In 1996, San Francisco’s department of parking and traffic published a draft of what was to be the city’s first bicycle-specific transport plan. Almost immediately, cyclists in the city noticed something amiss: there were no bike lanes planned for Valencia Street, a popular route through the largely Latino Mission neighbourhood. Opposition to the plan grew so intense that the following year, a crackdown against pro-cycling protesters ended in a riot.

Two decades on, Valencia Street is one of San Francisco’s more desirable addresses. Luxury apartments and fashionable bare-brick cafes sit cheek by jowl with colourful political murals and tiny bodegas.

And Valencia is now a cycling hub too. Indeed, the street became the first in the city to replace car lanes with bicycle paths.

Rightly or wrongly, gentrification is often seen as a process that arrives on two wheels. From Red Hook in Brooklyn to London Fields, fixed-gear bike-wielding young professionals have flocked to former industrial lots and waterfronts.

But does cycling really contribute to gentrification? John Stehlin, a geographer at the University of California, Berkeley who has studied San Francisco’s cycling politics, says the relationship is complex. “Cycling feeds into wider urban changes, including gentrification, but it does not cause gentrification. A bicycle lane gets put on a street that is already undergoing change.”…(more)

Forcing change on a society that objects to that change is the gentrifying element. Leave people alone to make their own decisions and they will do the right thing. Force people to change in a manner they object to and at a pace they do not like and you will have a fight on your hands.

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Santa Clara County has four of the 10 most congested Bay Area freeways

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Santa Clara County is home to a quarter of the Bay Area’s population, it shares half the area’s jobs with San Francisco and it had four of the 10 most congested freeway stretches in 2015, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) annual report.

Although the most congested freeway was a north- and eastbound stretch of U.S. 101/I-80 in San Francisco in the afternoon from the I-280 interchange to Treasure Island, Santa Clara County has…

Santa Clara County voters will consider Measure B on their November ballots to raise sales taxes a half-cent for 30 years to raise $6.4 billion for transportation improvements, including $1.1 billion for freeways. Another $2.65 billion of the total will go for mass transit projects including BART and Caltrain to offer reasonable alternatives to freeway driving. In all, four Bay Area counties — Santa Clara, San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda — will consider November ballot measures to raise $13.4 billion for transportation (read more about why here).

Nearly 30 percent of the Bay Area’s buses, railcars, tracks and other transit assets are past their useful lives, according to the MTC. In the worst shape is BART, with 71 percent of its fleet beyond its useful life. BART fleet replacement is included in the transportation measure for San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda counties..(more)