Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dialogue with the dumb

In spite of all the stupid feedback from the city's bike people, one soldiers on. The lame feedback from the often-fanatical bike people is to be expected, but it's disappointing when the stupidity comes from a respected newspaper like the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, which is owned by the New York Times.

The editorial in the Press Democrat (below in italics) makes statements even SF's bike people might hesitate to make: "Rob Anderson doesn't own a car, but he thinks bikes are a menace on city streets." Well, not exactly. Rob Anderson does think cyclists can be a menace on city streets and that it's not unusual to see cyclists misbehaving on our streets. Such bad behavior is common enough that it's beginning to be a problem for the bike people's political agenda, even here in Progressive Land.

At this point, can even the SF Bicycle Coalition be confident that city voters would pass the Bicycle Plan if it was on the ballot? How about Critical Mass? We'll never learn the answers to these questions, because, if they can prevent it, the SF Bicycle Coalition and its many enablers in City Hall will never allow us to vote on those issues. That's why last year the bike people, the mayor, and sympathetic supervisors quickly engineered the so-called compromise on the Healthy Saturdays proposal in Golden Gate Park: If it went to a vote, closing part of Golden Gate Park to cars on Saturdays probably would have lost---again---just like it did in 1998, when city voters rejected the idea twice on one ballot.
 
More misinformation from the Press Democrat: "In his lawsuit, he argued that more space for bikes means less space for cars and therefore more traffic and pollution. He prevailed in court. So San Francisco is preparing an environmental impact report on the proposed bicycle lanes. Anderson, the Journal said, is pondering another legal challenge."

That's not what the litigation was about at all, which was the city's failure to do even the most preliminary environmental study before it began implementing its 500-page Bicycle Plan on the streets of San Francisco. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires jurisdictions and/or developers to prepare an environmental review of any project that even might have a negative effect on the environment. When you propose reconfiguring the city's traffic lanes and taking away street parking to make bike lanes, obviously you might make traffic worse, which is a negative impact under CEQA.

The litigation was not about Bikes versus Cars or the behavior of cyclists but only about that crucial process issue: Before you implement a major project, you have to do some kind of environmental review of the potential impact that project will have on the environment.

And "another legal challenge"? The city is now under a court order to do the environmental review it should have done several years ago. When that report is completed either late this year or early next year, we will all be able to review it and discuss the specific changes the city wants to make to our streets. If those of us involved in the successful litigation find the EIR inadequate, we will bring our concerns to the attention of Judge Busch, who still has jurisdiction on the case. He will only lift the injunction against the city if and when he finds that the city's EIR on the Bicycle Plan is adequate.
 
Does everyone understand that now? Even though it's not really complicated, it's a little surprising how befuddled so many are about the present situation. In the meantime, we can discuss all sorts of issues surrounding bicycles, cars, traffic, Saving the Planet, and what a grouchy old man I am, but the legal situation is really rather simple. We are all waiting for the city's EIR on the Bicycle Plan.

Collision course: Conflicts of cyclists, pedestrians hinder efforts to get cars off road
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Bicycles won't solve all of our traffic woes or eliminate concerns about greenhouse gas emissions.

However, bikes ought to be part of a comprehensive approach to both issues, as well as a means of promoting physical fitness.

Before we get there, it seems that some diplomacy might be necessary.

In Santa Rosa, cyclists are squabbling with residents of the Villages at Wild Oak subdivision, where signs banning riders from a private bridle path with access to Annadel State Park were recently posted (and promptly cut down by vandals). Wild Oak residents say speeding bikes put pedestrians at risk.

The Meadowcreek Homeowners Association objects to a compromise proposal to offer a nearby trail as an alternative for reaching the park, citing similar concerns about cyclists and pedestrians on a narrow path.

Cyclists counter that riding on the paths is safer than pedaling alongside speeding cars on Highway 12.

Requiring cyclists to walk their bikes on the short paths might be a solution, though enforcement will be problematic.

At least Santa Rosa's cycling community isn't confronted with the obstacles faced by San Francisco, where a plan for more bike lanes and bike racks has been tied up for four years.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the plan was challenged in court by Rob Anderson, a candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the brother of Mendocino County publisher Bruce Anderson.

Rob Anderson doesn't own a car, but he thinks bikes are a menace on city streets. In his lawsuit, he argued that more space for bikes means less space for cars and therefore more traffic and pollution. He prevailed in court.

So San Francisco is preparing an environmental impact report on the proposed bicycle lanes. Anderson, the Journal said, is pondering another legal challenge.

Nothing like a pleasant ride, eh?

Labels:

29 Comments:

At 12:00 PM, Blogger I Hate Nazi Cyclists said...

Thank you. You do not to lump all cyclists together, but many people _may_ do that from reading the text. Almost ALL of the cyclists one sees on the morning commutes are extremely friendly and behave with cars, pedestrians, etc., and are just as frustrated with the occasional biker with an attitude. Many cyclists do get angry when a commuter talking on a cell phone RACES by with a near miss. They just want to stay alive. Many commute from Marin. They may even drive an SUV, but in using a bike they may save $9 in fuel, $18 in parking, and also save money on a gym membership. And removing that one car from the VERY crowded commute is something we should all appreciate. I do! - thank you.

 
At 12:28 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, yes, yes, we've all heard this before. SUVs, cell phones, blah, blah, blah. If you want to stay alive, you shouldn't be riding a bike from Marin to SF. Maybe their scoutmasters---or the Great God Green in the afterlife---will give them a special merit badge for Saving the Planet.

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger phipps said...

Just when I was beginning to think some of the things you write are rational, you make a comment like this:

"If you want to stay alive, you shouldn't be riding a bike from Marin to SF"

As a district 5 resident and cyclist I could not vote for someone who's attitude toward cyclists is that they shouldn't be on the road at all if they care about their safety.

Don't you think it would be beneficial to us all if we took steps to make the roads safer? One of the main reasons the number of people who commute by bicycle is so low is that under current conditions many people don't feel safe.

 
At 1:28 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Make the roads safe for people who ride their bikes from Marin? How exactly would we do that? I don't really give a flying fuck if you vote for me or not.

 
At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't really give a flying fuck if you vote for me or not."

Rob really doesn't give a flying fuck about safety either. He's just a NIMBY who doesn't want anything to ever change. His entire lawsuit over a technicality, is probably fueled less by his hatred of bikes than the increased density which sensible transportation allows.

If you read through some of the old entries on here you will see his rants against additional housing. Though Rob will often hide behind the fact he does not drive, he doesn't want to see his car centric world change. I figure that's why he's abusing the court systems and placing public safety behind drivers being able to do whatever they want.

 
At 5:19 PM, Anonymous WheresDyrwaldo said...

In cities like San Francisco, with its cycling-friendly climate and progressive culture, there are many reasons to promote the bike as a primary form of transport, including quieter streets, cleaner air, lower commuting costs, a healthier population that spends less on health care (important considering recent proposals for universal healthcare in SF), etc.

...Not to mention all of the hot cyclo-babes! (Daddy likes the skinny girls.)

And we have many northern European towns to use as models. (Ever see what rush hour looks like in Dutch towns? It's all bikes, dude.)

So no need to reinvent the deep dish carbon wheel, Mr. Anderson. If the little pedals in your head have stopped turning, consider hooking up with a city administrator or two from over yonder to see how they've done it.

 
At 10:08 PM, Blogger Benjamin Random said...

Rob, your post here is an attempt to position yourself as a victim in all this. Am I really supposed to believe that it is up to the city to decide how in depth the EIR is supposed to be; that they are the ones responsible for this delay and not you? You are just standing up for what's right, and that is doing an environmental impact report before any infrastructure plan?

From the sounds of it, you would have us believe that it is the city's fault for not slapping a one-pager EIR onto the front saying "We've decided there are no negative environmental impacts." Somehow I do not believe that is the whole story. Now we have both the City and the SFBC resorting to guerrilla tactics to improve basic safety on highly trafficked bike routes. Thanks, Rob.

 
At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Make the roads safe for people who ride their bikes from Marin? How exactly would we do that?

Thankfully greater intellects than Mr Anderson will apply their skills to this issue when the injunction against the Bicycle plan is finally cleared.

It will be interesting to see how the environmental impact report is received.

My own speculation:
1. Supporters and clients of the auto industry will find glimmering justification for their indignity over expanded bicycle infrastructure at the expense of their current real estate domination.
2. Mr. Anderson & co. will renew their opposition via a further legal challenge – (this time no reference to sidelined planning and approval processes)
3. Minor changes will be made to the Bike Plan giving token mitigation to the inconvenience motorists experience as a result of their diminished status.
4. Final rulings will be given in support of cycling as overwhelmingly beneficial to the city.

 
At 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

people who disagree with me are dumb.

 
At 1:39 AM, Blogger Dawnriser said...

Is this an example of democracy at work in the USA?

One man can stop a safety strategy for cyclists because of a pedantic obsession with procedures?

Thank goodness I'm in the UK where we have progressive albeit slow policies on provision for cyclists.

 
At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob writes a lot about forcing the city to follow the law, but gives little regard to the legal right to ride bicycles.

It all just shows what a small minded retard he is. He's not doing anything to stop people from riding bikes, in fact, more people are riding bikes than driving cars these days on Market, despite the lack of bike lanes.

Cycling is getting safer the more people get out of the cars and onto a bike, or off the road entirely by riding the underground.

With or without bike lanes we're hitting a tipping point and Rob just doesn't want to admit he's already lost. It's kind of like the Republicans on Iraq: get us into a fucked up situation and get a lot of people killed because you just can't admit you're wrong.

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"His entire lawsuit over a technicality, is probably fueled less by his hatred of bikes than the increased density which sensible transportation allows."

This is what I mean by "dialogue with the dumb." The litigation was about the very essence of the most important environmental legislation in California, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires environmental review of all proposed projects before they are implemented. I've said this many times on my blogs and on local chatboards, but I still get this "legal technicality" bullshit.

"Am I really supposed to believe that it is up to the city to decide how in depth the EIR is supposed to be; that they are the ones responsible for this delay and not you? You are just standing up for what's right, and that is doing an environmental impact report before any infrastructure plan?"

You can believe what you want, Benjamin, but that's the truth of the matter. The city should have done the EIR three years ago when we warned them what they were doing is illegal. They of course knew that pushing the 500-page Bicycle Plan through the process without any environmental review was illegal; they were just hoping no one would sue them, that they wouldn't have to take the time and spend the money to do what's right and what's legal. It's the city's responsibility now to do a thorough EIR on the Plan, but it's Judge Busch who will determine whether their review is adequate or not. He's the one who imposed an injunction on the city and ordered it to do the EIR.

"Final rulings will be given in support of cycling as overwhelmingly beneficial to the city."

Another dumbass comment. The judge won't be ruling on whether cycling is beneficial to the city; the issue will be whether the city has done an adequate EIR on the Bicycle Plan. If we think the EIR is inadequate, we will bring that to the judge's attention.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger slightly-less-random said...

Well, if that is what you believe then it makes you a righteous fool. You may be right, but you will still be a fool.

By the way, I live in district 5.

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

My previous comment was not merely my opinion but referred to actual, verifiable facts about the litigation. Why am I supposed to care that you live in District 5? Of course you're going to vote for Mirkarimi, who endorses Critical Mass and gives the Bicycle Coalition whatever it wants. Of course he himself only rides a bike on ceremonial occasions.

 
At 11:30 AM, Blogger phipps said...

Mr. Anderson,

Though it's quite obvious that you have no expectations of winning the election and are not trying to get anyone's vote, there are more polite ways of telling someone that you don't care if they vote for you.

You have written that you would not ride a bicycle in San Francisco because it's too dangerous. Do you consider bicycle riding to be unsafe simply because it it a 2 wheeled vehicle and you can't understand how someone can possibly stay upright on only 2 wheels? Or is it because of large fast moving autos and busses that we share the roads with?

If it's the latter, you may want to consider trying a bike ride down JFK in Golden Gate Park on a Sunday when the road is closed to motor traffic. Who knows, you might enjoy it!

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Though it's quite obvious that you have no expectations of winning the election and are not trying to get anyone's vote, there are more polite ways of telling someone that you don't care if they vote for you."

No doubt there are more polite ways of saying things, but commenters bring the election up when they know they're losing the argument. Besides, I know all you bike people are going to vote for Mirkarimi, who's your ideal candidate, because it always all about bikes.

I wouldn't ride a bike in SF or anywhere else because it is in fact dangerous (See the post excerpting cyclist Robert Hurst's book). Recall that most cycling accidents are "solo falls" and have nothing to do with other vehicles.

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous those dudes said...

More people, all across the country, are riding bikes, depite your belief that they are dangerous. As more people ride, safety will likely increase as motorists become more accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists. The following is from the Christian Science Monitor:

Bike count tallies showed an increase of 30 percent over last year on San Francisco's Market Street, 44 percent over 2006 levels at the intersection of Broad and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia, and 378 percent from five years ago on Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago.

New bikers are maxing out the capacity of transit systems across the country. Bikers boarding buses in Houston rose from 1,510 in April to 3,624 in June, according to the League of American Bicyclists, which also reports that Charlotte's bike-on-bus boardings have reached an all-time record, surging 30 percent this June from a year ago. On San Francisco's regional CalTrain, a quarter of rush hour trains surveyed in September "bumped" bikers because onboard racks had reached capacity.

In Denver, this year's 'Bike to Work Day' drew 35,000 bikers, up 43 percent over last year. High gas prices are changing transportation habits. For eight straight months, Americans have driven fewer miles than they did over the same period a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, of course high fuel prices are changing people's habits, which I agree is a Very Good Thing. But one of the good things about that is it takes some traffic pressure off city streets, which should mean that congestion pricing for downtown slips lower on the city's anti-car agenda. And the reality in SF is that Muni, not bikes, is the primary alternative to driving in SF. Again I have to note that the city's bike people---including the SFBC---rarely write of speak of Muni. It's all about bikes with them.

I of course dispute the bike counts in SF as a set-up job by bike zealots in City Hall and the SFBC.

 
At 7:27 PM, Blogger re-cycle said...

"I wouldn't ride a bike in SF or anywhere else because it is in fact dangerous (See the post excerpting cyclist Robert Hurst's book). Recall that most cycling accidents are "solo falls" and have nothing to do with other vehicles."

Most accidents also go unreported according to the same author. Unreported means the injuries weren't serious enough to kill the cyclist or require hospital attention.

I've read Art of Cycling, twice. It's a good book and it's written for cyclists. It's supposed to scare you so you'll be careful out there. Remember drivers education and the videos of drivers who no longer have heads? Yea, that's to scare you into defensive driving.

As a whole, the book leads one to believe that the risks are manageable. That's probably why Mr. Hurst chooses to cycle and points this out in his conclusion:
"Bicycling is better. Life is too precious to spend in a car."

If the risks weren't manageable the book wouldn't spend so much space discussing how to manage them and Mr. Hurst would be irrational to be cycling. Adrenaline junkies don't think safety through like he has.

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger RichS said...

Rob,

You wrote:

.I wouldn't ride a bike in SF or anywhere else because it is in fact dangerous (See the post excerpting cyclist Robert Hurst's book). Recall that most cycling accidents are "solo falls" and have nothing to do with other vehicles.

You seem to not understand that there are many people who are skilled enough to operate a bicycle safely. It's actually quite easy. That's why you see so many people of all walks of life doing it!

Can I ask you how much experience you have on a bicycle?

 
At 7:38 PM, Blogger Boomer said...

I'm quite thankful for blogs like this. They let everyone see exactly how politicians think - and when ones like rob anderson post like this, they let everyone know just how backward and how limited their scope and focus is.

You cherry pick quotes (like Hurst's) from cherry sources (like Hurst's) in order to prove your point.

You are using EIR to further your anti-cycling agenda. I'm anti-CM, but that doesn't mean that I believe all cyclists are of that ilk. You seem to.

I strongly believe that any regard you may have for the environment is a distant runner up to your anti-cycling sentiment. I strongly suspect that any and all environmental service you have done is strictly political.

You're a politician... with all that implies.

 
At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob Hurst is living proof that cycling is not dangerous as you perceive danger Mr. Anderson.

Anyone could understand your fear, it's perfectly natural. I also recommend that persons with balance and coordination difficulties or neurological damage affecting motor function take extra precaution when cycling.

It isn't unheard of to recommend restricted driving privileges for individuals of questionable mental stability. However in the case of both the physically handicapped and the mentally challenged the condition must be a serious one before recommending against mobility methods such as walking or riding a bicycle.

Your fear is quite justified Mr. Anderson, but don't take that to mean you should set policy for the rest of us.

We don't let the blind tell us how to throw a football or drive a car. We don't let small children run with knives. Why should we trust you to set transportation policy when you cannot conquer the fears you face due to your handicap?

 
At 11:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When you propose reconfiguring the city's traffic lanes and taking away street parking to make bike lanes, obviously you might make traffic worse, which is a negative impact under CEQA." Rob Anderson

How many people can SF's streets move without bike lanes? How many people can SF's streets move with them? Those are some questions I hope the city's BikePlan EIR will consider. I hope a conclusion of 'negative effect' won't be arrived upon should it be determined that bike lanes reduce the number of cars that can be moved through the city's streets. It should be seen that the number of people that can be moved through the city's streets safely and healthily is more important than the number of cars that can be moved through city streets.

In theory, providing lanes for bike travel on city streets can change the ratio of people moving through city streets by car compared to people moving through city streets by bike, with the latter becoming greater. That probably depends upon whether its accurate to conclude that some of the people riding bikes on the bike lanes would be driving cars if the bike lanes weren't there.

I'm really starting to look forward to reading this review.

wsbob/beav

 
At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You cherry pick quotes (like Hurst's) from cherry sources (like Hurst's) in order to prove your point."

Which is why it's really amusing when Hurst himself comments that Rob got it all wrong.

 
At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Wayne Brown said...

"I wouldn't ride a bike in SF or anywhere else because it is in fact dangerous (See the post excerpting cyclist Robert Hurst's book). Recall that most cycling accidents are "solo falls" and have nothing to do with other vehicles."

Ah, so you are opposed to cycling because you're afraid of bicycles. That explains a lot. It's not unusual to see someone oppose something solely out of fear and his own incompetence in handling perceived danger.

 
At 9:47 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Which is why it's really amusing when Hurst himself comments that Rob got it all wrong."

Hurst is simply flab-gabbing on the subject of safety. He clearly says in his books that cycling has its own dangers and you have to prepare yourself for them. But he also wants to support his bike nut comrades in SF, though he obviously doesn't know anything about the situation in SF.

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous those dudes said...

"I of course dispute the bike counts in SF as a set-up job by bike zealots in City Hall and the SFBC."

Yet another fine example of your fanaticism - once you realize your arguments are invalid, you attack the source of their invalidity with conspiracy theories. Pathetic.

 
At 12:22 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

My "arguments" for what are invalid? Could we have some specifics? I'ts extremely unlikely, given the close relationship the SFBC has with the bike nuts in city government, that they didn't know when/where the count was going to take place. After all, the SFBC got $300,000 in public money to do the "outreach" for the Bicycle Plan and has acted as if its a city agency for years. Do you really expect us to believe that none of its members knew when the count was going to happen? Only a bike fanatic could believe that.

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, are you running as a Republican? You've almost got this revisionist thing down. First you quote Robert Hurst out of context hoping to support your opinions.

But now that he himself has commented on how you got it wrong, he is just "flab gabbing"

And before you continue on your tear against Those Dudes, you should look up the definition of a valid argument, because you are only making yourself look more idiotic when. You have been challenged numerous times about your accusation the SFBC was involved in the recent traffic counts and have failed to provide any evidence, responded with ad hominem attacks (another term you should look up) and you just once again proved Those Dudes point by launching into a conspiracy again based on nothing but your hatred of the SFBC.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home