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Indybay Feature

Fell St. ARCO Protesters Vow to Return Until Driveway Closed

Friday, June 18, 2010
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Arco Station

Connection made between bicycling conditions on Fell St. and catastrophe in the Gulf

Protesters emboldened by a successful protest last Friday June 11th, when over 100 people showed up and took peaceful direct action to shut down the Arco station’s Fell St. entrances, say they will return until the hazardous entrances are closed for good. The Arco station, which sells BP fuel at the corner of Fell and Divisadero Streets, has been a thorn in the side of San Francisco cyclists for many years, as drivers block the bike lane while lining up for cheap gas.

Organizers claim that the station is not only directing major profits to a company who is criminally negligent in destroying human and wild life in the Gulf- it is also endangering people who are trying to live less oil dependent lives. According to Josh Hart, a Menlo Park resident who has a Masters degree in Transportation Planning “Last Friday, for the first time in as long as anyone can remember, cyclists could ride along the only level east-west cycle route in the city during rush hour without having to swerve around cars lined up at the Arco station. People are going to return every Friday until the city takes its share of responsibility for weaning us off our oil addiction by protecting the safety of cyclists.”

Jason Henderson, a Geography professor at SF State who grew up in New Orleans, is saddened and distraught at the images coming out of the Gulf. “The oiled and dying wildlife in the wetlands I used to visit as a child, five years after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina to my home city are both linked to our dependence on oil. It is just senseless when people want safe and viable alternatives to the automobile. Why isn’t our government acting with more urgency to provide these choices?”

Protest organizers suggest that a complete network of safe bicycle lanes can offer people alternatives to driving alone. Here in San Francisco the demand for a comprehensive urban bicycle system is widespread. According to a 2007 Binder poll, 75% of voters in San Francisco support new bike lanes and infrastructure.

Robin Levitt, longtime San Francisco resident, Detroit native and protester says “BP/ARCO cares as much for the suffering of the birds in the Gulf as they do about the person on a bike who risks injury or death having to swerve around cars blocking the bike lane just to get cheap gas at their station. Every Friday we will stand with the pelicans, turtles, and dolphins suffering from the spill, knowing that if we fail to end our oil addiction, we will not be far behind them.”

Where and when: The protesters will return every Friday at 5:30pm at the Arco station on the corner of Fell and Divisadero streets in San Francisco until the “holes are plugged:”until the city of San Francisco closes the dangerous entrances at this Arco station and until BP plugs their oil spewing holes in the Gulf seafloor.
Added to the calendar on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 11:27AM
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