Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Muni Driver on the Bike Extremists

I was pleasantly surprised to hear of your lawsuit and the ensuing injunction. It's about time someone forced this out in the open. I hope you find legal grounds to deny the City's share of road taxes collected by DMV. The money should be withheld whenever lanes are expropriated for other than motor vehicles, buses and trolleys. One idea is to encourage vehicle owners to change their address of registry to a location outside of the City---that will automatically prevent the City from receiving ANY of the road taxes the vehicle owners pay. Restricting traffic exacerbates the pollution problem. It can probably be proven that expropriating traffic lanes from arterials has a negative effect on the environment---more pollution and worsened quality of life.

Critical Mass should be required to obtain permits and until they do, their running signals and blocking intersections should be cause for summonsing and/or arrest. The City wants to enforce the highway code in a selective manner; this in unfair. I entreat you to think of another creative legal manoeuvre to stop this. The Bicycle Coalition are extremists. I do ride bicycles myself and I have never felt that they or their bike-lane proposals would make me much safer. This is about people who want to force their way of life upon others. The antics of the Bicycle Coalition and this critical mass business have actually made it more dangerous for me to enjoy my bicycle because of the hostility that they provoke.

You have done a good thing. Don't stop thinking of any legal means to force these extremists to follow legal procedure. Stymie them at every turn. May I suggest contacting the appropriate central valley legislators to inform them that San Francisco's poor traffic-signal planning and synchronization exacerbates the pollution of central valley cities such as Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto?

This city should be required to plan for synchronized arterials as well as transit-preferential signalling. I know the latter is a joke; I drive for Muni. Bicycle lanes benefit too few people in this traffic-jammed city to be justified. In closing, the City should be forced to post large signs advising users of any street of proposed changes or traffic sign/signal installation let alone bicycle lanes. Such signs should include addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to which those affected can make their opinions known.

Organizations such as the Bicycle Coalition (as well as stop-sign and traffic-signal shills) have been forcing their agenda by surprise long enough. Keep up the good work; you've stomped on the right toes.

Sincerely,

John Daniels

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8 Comments:

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Andrew Turley said...

Just a quick response to John Daniels, and another commenter earlier, who have both brought up the idea that cyclists shouldn't be allowed on the roads because they don't pay vehicle registrations fees. There are several problems with this argument.

1. The money used to build and maintain the roads does not come from vehicle related fees alone. It also comes from various forms of taxes that are paid for by all citizens, regardless of whether they own a car or not.

2. Many people who ride their bikes in the city also own cars. So even if the roads were only paid for by motor vehicle owners, many cyclists would fall into that category.

3. The government, at all levels, is in the business of paying for many things without directly taxing the primary users of those services, or by taxing everyone to provide a service that not everyone uses. Public schools, sidewalks, and subsidized public transit are just a few examples.

Just some thoughts.

By the way, I'm glad your posting more often. I don't usually agree with you, but you do shed some light on the thinking of those who don't think that cyclists belong on the streets.

 
At 3:11 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It's not my position that cyclists don't belong on the streets. I just think it's not an activity that a significant number of people are ever going to adopt in SF. Hence, it's folly to redesign city streets to suit such a small minority---and to do it without doing any environmental study as required by law.

 
At 10:13 PM, Anonymous andrew turley said...

Go back and read my comment. I never said that you didn't think cyclists belong in the street, I said that you shed light on the thinking of those who do think that way. In the past, you've said that bikes are "taking up way too much room on the streets," and you've said that people who ride bikes in the city are "dumb" and "foolish".

I deliberately avoided accusing you of being "anti-bike", because I knew that you would deny it (probably technically true since I don't remember you ever calling for a ban on cycling or anything like that). It's interesting to note how often you bat around the term "anti-car" when describing members of the SFBC and others who, even though most of these people have never called for an outright ban on automobiles.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The SF Bicycle Coalition is more anti-car than I'm anti-bike, whatever that means. If, as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority says, there are only 1% of the city's population using bikes for commuting, it's ridiculous that the city is taking away traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes. That's what I'm saying. And the record shows that the SFBC is anti-car. The most egregious example is the underground garage in Golden Gate Park, a $40-50 million gift to the city from Warren Hellman and friends. The truth is that the SFBC opposes anything that makes it easier to drive in the city. In fact the whole Transit First idea has been interpreted by the cycling community---and their collaborators in city government---as necessarily being anti-car, which means opposing parking wherever possible, raising parking fees and traffic fines, and pushing the crackpot bicycle agenda on a populace that is just now beginning to understand what's happening. Recall that Transit First means, well, Transit, i.e. Muni in SF. Taking away traffic lanes in SF is just going to make traffic worse for everyone, including Muni, which would seem to defeat the Transit First concept. Somehow the Transit First idea is being twisted to mean Bicycles First. The reality is that bikes are just a cut above skateboards as a serious transportation "mode." They are more of a political/lifestyle accessory than anything a significant number of people are going to adopt in SF.

 
At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Andrew Turley said...

"The SF Bicycle Coalition is more anti-car than I'm anti-bike, whatever that means."

I think the "whatever that means" is important here. Calling people "anti-bike" and "anti-car" is pretty stupid, since they introduce a binary opposition where there probably isn't one. For example, I own a bicycle which I use to commute, and I also own a car. I believe that parts of Golden Gate Park should be closed to cars on the weekends, but I also believe that cyclists should be ticketed for running red lights and stop signs. Now, am I anti-car or anti-bike? I'm sure people from both sides would accuse me of being one or the other.

"If, as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority says, there are only 1% of the city's population using bikes for commuting, it's ridiculous that the city is taking away traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes. That's what I'm saying."

Do you believe that the city should take any street space currently dedicated to cars and repurpose it for bicycles? If they make up some percentage of the commuters, maybe they should be entitled to some percentage of the space.

"Recall that Transit First means, well, Transit, i.e. Muni in SF. Taking away traffic lanes in SF is just going to make traffic worse for everyone, including Muni, which would seem to defeat the Transit First concept. Somehow the Transit First idea is being twisted to mean Bicycles First."

Have you actually read the "Transit First" Policy" document? (http://www.municode.com/content/4201/14130/HTML/ch016.html#SEC.%2016.102.) Bicycles and bicyclists are mentioned more than once, as are pedestrians. I think you are the one who has "twisted" the concept by implying that it only applies Muni.

"The reality is that bikes are just a cut above skateboards as a serious transportation 'mode.' They are more of a political/lifestyle accessory than anything a significant number of people are going to adopt in SF."

What constitutes a "serious" mode of transportation? Is it only because you believe cyclists to be dangerous, young, and foolish that you consider the bicycle to not be a "serious" mode of transportation, or is there something else?

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Judged on their past actions, I think it's fair to say that the SF Bicycle Coalition is anti-car. Take the prime example I cited, the underground garage in Golden Gate Park. What possible reason could the SFBC have for opposing that gift to the city? What specific justification is there for Critical Mass, which the SFBC also supports? The common denominator: The garage makes it convenient for motorists to visit the park, and Critical Mass makes it more difficult for motorists---an Muni passeners---to get home on the last Friday of the month. If the city is going to take away traffic lanes and/or street parking to make bike lanes, they should have to do a thorough traffic study. My opinion is that most city streets are not suitable for bike lanes. Yes, of course, I've read the Transit First section of the city's Transportation Element. Yes, bicycles are mentioned, but that section is still properly entitled "Transit First," not "Bicycles First." The essential contradiction you bike fanatics face is that removing traffic lanes in the city often affects Muni along with those devilish autos, thus actually impeding the Transit First policy. If, as I hope, the court orders the city to do a full EIR on the massive Bicycle Plan, it will have to face this problem when it does the required traffic studies. And, more importantly, the public in general will get a chance to learn what the SFBC and its operatives in city government seem determined to do to neighborhood streets, that is, take away traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes for 1% of the city's population.

 
At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Turley did a poor job of reading comprehension. I never said (let alone insinuated) that bicyclists should be prohibited to use the road because they don't pay road taxes. The gist of my comments was that those who think of themselves as 'nomenclatura' - and I do believe that the SFBC think of themselves as such - should be prepared to put their money where their mouths are.

I made it quite clear that I ride a bicycle in The City and that I can do just fine without bicycle lanes. Just because a bicycle owner happens to own an automobile does not mean that his road taxes entitle him to expropriate precious traffic lanes for the benefit of a minority. Such a minority should be prepared pay for such preferential lanes just as motorists pay to use express lanes on certain freeways.

I shall reiterate; I ride my bicycle on the street unless there is an alternative (such as the GG Park panhandle paths, etc.). Twisting my words to say something I did not (intend to) say is no way to argue one's case.

Put bluntly, I don't want my road taxes used for other that paying for roads and public transit. My car shouldn't be looked upon as a cash cow. I pay for the highways, you can jolly well pay for your bikeways if their installation requires the sacrifice of traffic lanes.

 
At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for got to sign the former response.

John Daniels

 

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