Beige. I Think I'll Paint the Streets Beige.

Beige Street.jpg
Jim Herd
Paint the town red, paint the streets beige
After years of  waiting, San Francisco can finally tell its roadway-focused version of the world's most played-out dirty joke.

(Ergo: The difference between girlfriends ["Ooohh! DON'T STOP! DON'T STOP!"], prostitutes [a passive "Oh baby baby. Don't stop.], and wives: ["Beige. I think I'll paint the ceiling beige."])

To wit: The difference between ignorant San Francisco drivers during the past decade's local bike-commuting boom ("Aarrrgh! GET YOUR BIKE OFF ROAD!"), during the past two years' cycling Perestroika ("Hmmm! I guess I could go around her."), and this week, when a judge finally lifted an injunction prohibiting new bike lanes: ("Beige! They're painting the street beige.)

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch ruled Wednesday that the city can implement street improvements to ease bicycle commuting that had been blocked for more than three years, as long as the changes can be easily undone.

Since the summer of 2006, new bike lanes and bike racks have been prohibited, thanks to a lawsuit filed by a Humboldt County attorney with her friend as a client. The logic of the suit was that the city had violated the state's Environmental Quality Act by giving short shrift to the theory that amenities for bicycle commuters harm the environment, because cyclists delay automobiles, causing the slower cars to produce more smog per mile.

This appalling nonsense isn't completely out of the way. Busch anticipates an appeal of the city's environmental studies, and wants to be able to reverse any earth-unfriendly bike facilities if such an appeal were to win.

In the meantime, however, workers have been laying down paint on Market Street designed to let motorists know that bicyclists belong there.

Some controversy has emerged on San Francisco's afore-linked blog-of-record SF Citizen about the paint's actual color. Blogger Jim Herd said it was beige. San Francisco Bicycle Coalition wag Andy Thornley argued in Herd's comments section that the color was actually "fawn." Commenter Eric noted the beige stripes look a lot like masking cardboard, complete with fold wrinkles. After filing, SF Weekly is heading out on an investigative Market Street ride.

Until then, the color beige has never looked more beautiful.
Photo   |   Jim Herd

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