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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Effort to Clear an Obstacle

Image of Brinks Truck blocking bike lane
Here's my letter to a Bank of America branch in San Francisco, where I encounter a parked Brinks truck on many mornings. I cc'd this to the city Supervisor for the district, and also to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition listserve. I later met with Ken Wilson of Brinks at the site on October 13, 2006. He was very considerate, and I'm optimistic we can find a servicable solution. His concern is having the shortest, least vulnerable path for his delivery personnel. A commercial ("white zone") parking space is likely the best possible outcome.

April 19, 2006

Marcia Zepeda
Banking Center Manager-Vice President
Bank of America Buena Vista Park
1275 Fell Street
San Francisco CA 94117

RE: Bicycle hazard at Bank of America, Fell Street

Dear Ms. Zepeda:

I bicycle past your branch every morning enroute to my office at 9th and Irving. The city of San Francisco has invested considerable resources creating a bike lane on Fell Street, which is an important corridor for bicyclists traveling to the western part of the city.

Unfortunately, the safety enhancement provided by this bike lane is negated by the Brinks armored truck that blocks it every morning at approximately 9:15 am, forcing bicyclists to move into vehicle traffic to pass. Yesterday (Tuesday) as I moved right to pass the truck, a guard or driver opened the right door just as I passed, causing me to swerve into the path of a UPS truck.

I was lucky, just getting an abundant earful of panicked horn blast from the UPS driver. Next time I, or another cyclist, may not be so lucky. Which will likely result in litigation by the cyclist or her/his estate against Bank of America and/or Brinks. I believe there are several alternatives that will prevent a tragic situation.

1) You have a parking lot located off of Broderick, which could be used by Brinks trucks.
2) Brinks could double park on Broderick, which has less traffic to impede, instead of Fell.
3) Brinks could double park on the right side of Fell, impeding drivers rather than endangering cyclists.
4) Bank of America could ask the city to paint a loading zone in front of your branch.

I spoke with one of your colleagues, who directed me to Ken Wilson at Brinks (510-535-4590); who indicated that he will investigate the situation. I write in the hope that Bank of America and Brinks can create a workable solution for all parties. The city's bicycle program staff at DPT and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition may be helpful in identifying a solution.

Thank you for your consideration.


Paul Dorn
San Francisco, CA

cc: Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

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