Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Unexpected" but necessary

Letter to Editor (Sent to BeyondChron, July 19, 2006, but not published):

Like other critics of the injunction stopping the implementation of the city's Bicycle Plan, Casey Mills dismissive account (see below) of the litigation is suspiciously lacking in details. Fact #1: It's not easy getting an injunction, because you have to convince the judge that you will be the prevailing party at the hearing. Why did Judge Warren think we are likely to prevail against the city? Because the central issue in the CEQA case---here comes Fact #2---is that the city did no environmental review of its ambitious, 460-page Bicycle Plan, even though, at a minimum, a preliminary enviro study is required by the CEQA statute.

The city is probably going to be ordered to do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan. How can it be wrong to study a Plan that proposes removing traffic lanes and street parking all over the city to make bike lanes? Why is it "unnecessary" to allow the neighborhoods to know what the city plans to do to their streets? And, by the way, Mayor Newsom can't "complete the city's bike network despite the suit," because the injunction against the city of course covers him, too. The mayor and all the other "activists and politicians" will have to wait until September and the hearing before work on the Plan can continue.

We hope the court orders the city to do a full EIR on the massive Bicycle Plan, so that people can know what it means for the city. Let the people of SF decide whether they want their streets re-designed to suit cyclists, who are at most 2% of the city's population. I find Mills's reference to interrupting "the Bike[sic] Coalition's normal work" interesting, as if the SF Bicycle Coalition was a city agency with some vital public mission. They are not, though Mills can be forgiven for the implication, because this extreme advocacy group---they support Critical Mass, after all---often acts like a quasi-governmental agency. Their web address is even hyperlinked to city agencies, which is of questionable propriety, not to mention legality. (Maybe we can get the city to hyperlink in BeyondChron and District 5 Diary!) In fact the SF Bicycle Coaliton has been granted a special status in SF---at least until now---based on the sanctity of the bicycle as a political symbol here in Progressive Land.

Rob Anderson

Casey Mills wrote in BeyondChron on July 18:
Another major proposal---putting the issue of closing Golden Gate Park on Saturdays before the voters after Newsom vetoed the idea earlier this year---may still happen. Bike, transportation and pedestrian advocates continue to discuss the ins and out of placing it on the ballot.They remain hamstrung, however, by what activists and politicians of all political stripes agree to be a ridiculous appeal of the San Francisco Bike Plan. While Newsom has agreed to move forward with work to complete the city’s bike network despite the suit, the appeal has provided an unexpected and totally unnecessary roadblock in the path of the Bike Coalition’s normal work, and could hurt their ability to take on the major campaign Saturday park closure would surely become. Hopefully that won’t end up being the case.

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