Monday, August 11, 2008

SFBC's 2008 election questionnaire

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Board of Supervisors Candidates Questionnaire November 2008 Election

Please return this questionnaire no later than Friday, August 15th by 3pm via email to

The questionnaire is 8 pages long. Please respond to all general questions and the questions associated with the district you are running for, not the other districts’ questions.

If you have questions, contact Leah Shahum, 415-431-2453, x-306 or

Please respond to the following questions. For those questions asking for a Yes or No answer, please mark either Yes or No (no additional comments will be considered). For other questions, please limit each response to 300 words (anything over that word limit will not be considered).

Candidate’s Name: Rob Anderson
District: 5
Campaign Manager name:
Campaign Manager phone number:
Campaign Manager email:

1. Do you use a bicycle in the city? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? Please indicate how you most commonly commute to work. (300 words or less)

No, I don't use a bicycle in the city or anywhere else. I either walk or ride Muni wherever I need to go. Cycling isn't safe enough for me to give it serious consideration.

2. In the next year, the City’s Bicycle Plan should be re-instated after a 3-year delay in physical bike improvements on city property, which was caused by a lawsuit and a slow Environmental Review process. The silver lining to this frustrating situation is that a significant package of Bike Network improvements---50+ proposals for bike lanes and intersection improvements throughout the city---will be fully analyzed and ready for legislation and implementation. Will you support approval and implementation of this full package of projects, which will fill significant gaps in the Citywide Bike Network and which, in some cases may include removal of existing on-street parking or traffic lanes?
YES _______ NO ___X____

How can you ask anyone to approve a "full package" when supposedly no one knows what's in it yet? (I know: Mirkarimi will give you a blank check regardless of what's in the final package, and other candidates will, too, simply because they perceive the SFBC as a powerful interest group.) Recall that the only reason there's been a delay in "bike improvements" is that your "progressive" collaborators at City Hall failed to do the required environmental review of the massive, 527-page Bicycle Plan before the city began implementing it. If the city had done the legally required environmental review three years ago when we warned them about it, presumably some version of the Bicycle Plan would have been implemented by now. Instead, the city arrogantly assumed no one in Progressive Land would challenge their clearly illegal approach to an ambitious project to redesign many city streets on behalf of a small minority with the dangerous hobby disguised as a serious transportation "mode."

3. Specifically included in the package referenced above are proposals for adding bike lanes on the following streets, some of which may require removing traffic lanes and/or parking spaces, in order to make room. Will you support legislation to add bike lanes on these streets, all of which are part of the official Citywide Bike Network but lack specific safety accommodations for the growing number of bicycle commuters?

2nd St. YES ___ NO __X_
5th St. YES ___ NO __X_
17th St. YES ___ NO ___
Masonic Ave. YES ___ NO __X_
Cesar Chavez Ave. YES ___ NO ___
Bayshore Blvd. YES ___ NO ___
Illinois St. YES ___ NO ___
Portola Ave. YES ___ NO ___

4. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was designed to help citizens and policy makers understand the environmental impact of development proposals by requiring environmental impact reports (EIRs) for projects with potentially significant environmental impacts. Currently, the SF Planning Department regards the convenient movement of private automobiles as an environmental concern, increasing the cost and delaying the implementation of dedicated transit lanes, bike lanes, and even sidewalk widening, even though these projects are clearly beneficial to the environment. Would you support changes at the local level to reform environmental review to facilitate transit-first projects?
YES _______ NO __X_____

This is a crude, inaccurate account of what CEQA is really about, which is determining the effects of proposed projects before they are implemented. The Planning Department, though staffed with many bike zealots---there are also 10 people working in the Bike Program in MTA---is obligated to follow CEQA, because it's a state law that requires calculating the impact a project will have on traffic, among other things. If a project will clearly make traffic worse in the project area, the developer and the city must mitigate that impact. If you take away traffic lanes and/or street parking---which is what the Bicycle Plan wants to do on many city streets---obviously you might make traffic worse. Just because bikes don't burn fossil fuel doesn't mean you have the right to screw up traffic for everyone else in the city.

5. Would you support a citywide goal to decrease the number of private motor vehicle trips in San Francisco, understanding that in addition to improving transit, bicycling, and walking, the goal would be met by also making motor vehicle trips and parking less convenient in some cases?
YES _______ NO ___X____

6. Poor pavement quality is a major hazard and common complaint for bicyclists in San Francisco. Do you support more funding, from the City’s budget and/or a new bond measure, for street repaving, with a priority on bicycle & transit routes?
YES _______ NO ___X____

7. Model bicycle-friendly cities around the world (including American cities such as Portland, OR, New York City, and Chicago) follow the standard practice of using colored pavement to demarcate bike lanes. These colored bike lanes help delineate space for bicyclists, increase awareness of bike lanes among drivers, and discourage cars from double-parking in bike lanes. Would you support the use of colored pavement in bike lanes in San Francisco?
YES _______ NO _______ MAYBE__X___

8. Would you support the implementation of “bicycle boulevards,” traffic-calmed streets that function as bicycle priority routes, similar to street designs in use in Berkeley and Palo Alto, even if this means restricting continuous automobile access at some intersections (while still allowing auto access to all homes and places of business)?
YES _______ NO ___X____

9. Do you support the creation of a bicycle/pedestrian/maintenance pathway on the Bay Bridge’s West Span (understanding that such a path is already being built on the East Span)? And will you support local funding and advocacy for additional regional, state, and federal funding, to build the pathway?
YES _______ NO ___X____

The bike path on the East span is already costing taxpayers $100 million!

10. The popular car-free space in Golden Gate Park (which the SFBC helped expand from Sundays to Saturdays) and the new "Sunday Streets" initiative to pilot a 5-mile car-free space on city streets are both part of a worldwide trend to increase car-free space in urban areas to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and, more fundamentally, city life itself. As Supervisor, would you be willing to significantly increase car-free spaces in San Francisco?
YES _______ NO ___X____

11. If you are an incumbent running for office, did you vote for the Healthy Saturdays car-free legislation in Golden Gate Park last year?
YES _______ NO _______ Not an Incumbent ___X____

Of course Supervisor Mirkarimi will continue to give you everything you ask for, since you gave him your sole endorsement in 2004. Like you folks, he even supports Critical Mass!

12. Market St. is the city's most well-used street for transit riders and bicyclists. Bike traffic has jumped 30% on Market St. in the past year alone, and now makes up a significant amount of usage during the commute hours (bikes often outnumber cars). The SFBC and many other community-based organizations believe that measures to prioritize transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the eastern part of Market St. by banning private auto traffic will improve MUNI performance, transform Market Street for the better, and encourage more San Franciscans to walk and bicycle to work. Various details remain to be worked out (we support allowing access for taxis, vehicles with disabled placards, and deliveries at certain hours). Do you support measures to prioritize transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians on Market St. east of Van Ness Ave. by banning private auto traffic, as described above, as other American cities have done successfully?
YES _______ NO ___X____

13. If the proposal above were not politically feasible at this time, would you support measures, within your first year in office, to significantly lessen auto traffic on Market St. (such as forced right-turns for private vehicles), based on the recommendations from a comprehensive Market St. Action Plan developed by the community and the Transportation Authority?
YES _______ NO ___X____

14. Would you support a proposal to dedicate 1% of the City’s transportation funding to bicycle facility improvements and safety projects?
YES _______ NO ___X____

15. Presently, traffic law enforcement in San Francisco is given a low priority, leaving vulnerable users (pedestrians and bicyclists) to fend for themselves and discouraging increased walking and bicycling. Would you direct the SF Police Department to more assertively enforce aggressive and dangerous driving within the City by placing traffic safety as a higher priority within the Department?
YES _______ NO ___X____

16. In recent years, childhood obesity has been identified as a significant health risk, particularly for America's children. One important component to improving the health of our children is encouraging walking and bicycling to school, activities which have dropped precipitously in the past 50 years as cars have come to dominate streets. As a Supervisor, would you champion and fund a "Safe Routes To Schools" program, which has proven successful in other communities to encourage more kids to walk and bicycle by creating safer space on our streets, which may require the removal of parking and traffic lanes, and developing more supportive policies?
YES _______ NO __X_____

This is the most irresponsible part of the Bicycle Plan---encouraging children to ride bikes to school, even though your organization itself acknowledges that city streets aren't even safe enough for adult cyclists. It's one thing for adults to risk their lives on bikes; it's just a terrible idea---and shows what fanatics you are---to want to put children at the same risk. Riding a bike is an essentially dangerous activity, and it always will be, even after the Bicycle Plan is fully implemented.

17. Would you support legislation to require commercial buildings (with appropriate exemptions and alternatives) to allow bicycle access and secure parking/storage?
YES _______ NO ___X____

18. This year, the Board of Supervisors enacted the "Climate Change Goals and Action Plan" ordinance, which commits the City to greenhouse gas reduction targets of 20% below 1990 levels by 2012, with progressively larger targets in subsequent years. Given that roughly half of San Francisco's greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, and that the vast majority of those emissions come from private automobile use, what specific legislation or plans would you implement to reduce our green house gas emissions in the transportation sector? (300 words or less)

Muni should replace all its diesel buses as soon as possible. Otherwise the market system is already causing people to adopt motor vehicles that are cleaner/greener and more fuel efficient.

End of general questions.

District Questions: Please answer only the questions for the District in which you are running for office.

District 5:

1. The SF Bicycle Plan Update has identified Masonic Avenue, between Fell and Geary Streets, as one of the top 20 corridors urgently in need of bicycle improvements. The city is working on plans to improve bike access on this route. Would you support bike lanes even if it entails removing some on-street parking spaces or traffic lanes on Masonic? (Learn more at
YES _______ NO ___X____

2. Would you support creating a bicycle boulevard on Page St. even if it meant prohibiting through auto access (i.e. not allowing cars to drive directly between Golden Gate Park and downtown on Page St.; instead, non-neighborhood car traffic would be diverted at some points along the way).
YES _______ NO ___X____

3. Would you support efforts to reconfigure Masonic Avenue as a "complete street," serving pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and private motor vehicles, even if it means eliminating some curb parking and/or travel lanes?
YES _______ NO ___X____

4. Would you support an expansion of the popular, new car-free space on Saturdays on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park (from Transverse Drive to 8th Avenue) to a longer stretch (from Transverse Drive to Kezar Drive, as it is on Sundays) to expand recreational opportunities for San Franciscans, while still allowing for transit and disabled access through the Park?
YES _______ NO ___X____


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