Wednesday, April 08, 2009

$390 million for a bike lane on the Bay Bridge?

The article in this morning's Chronicle tells us that the Bay Area Toll Authority is spending $1.3 million to study the idea of spending between $160 million and $390 million to put a bike path on the western span of the Bay Bridge. 
 
That seems nuts to me, but of course the SF Bicycle Coalition likes the idea.

"This is an issue that refuses to die," said John Goodwin, a spokesman for the toll authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
 
The issue doesn't die because, like Jehovah's Witnesses and the Islamic fanatics, the bike people keep coming at you.

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27 Comments:

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

Actually, the lack of a bike lane on the Bay Bridge is a serious problem when you consider what options people currently have for crossing the Bay, with a bike, during commute hours.

BART isn't an option, because bikes are banned on BART during rush hour... the only alternative is a shuttle bush which runs in bridge traffic to take your bike across (and which has limited room and no guaranteed seating). Absent a direct crossing, cyclists who want to commute to the city have to go to Macarthur BART and wait for a bus, hope that there's room on the bus, and then sit in bridge traffic for an hour in the middle of the busiest traffic of the day.

Adding a way for cyclists to cross the Bay Bridge would make it a bridge for everyone, not just those who are privileged (albeit dubiously) to drive. It's not much of a public utility if you have to invest in a car in order to use it...

Down with motorist privilege. Up with free, sensible, and low-impact transportation!

 
At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's also a pedestrian path. I don't have a bike but do enjoy walking on bridges.

 
At 12:19 PM, Anonymous DaveO said...

We live in a country where, if there is a need, anyone is empowered to fill it. If there is a need for bicyclists to cross the bay, why doesn't some enterprising young bicyclist start small business by opening a bikes-only shuttle?

 
At 1:32 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"the bike people keep coming at you."

That's called democracy baby.

Thornley may or may not care about a lane on the Bay Bridge, but advocacy is showing up at meetings, while the car-nuts show up on the comment section of SFGate, which is worth exactly what me wasting my time reading this blog gets - bupkus. I comment on your blog for amusement between celebrating the victories for cycling advocacy in this country, I get the feeling you think you are actually having an impact with your vitriol. Amusing.


I find it funny... you state

"In short, the gun nuts make the same intellectual error as the bike nuts when they insist that the object of their fetish has great political significance"

in a post that underscores how smart it is to do exactly that. How is it an intellectual error to operate in a manner that best serves your interests?

 
At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

concur. bikes crossing a bridge makes sense.

 
At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Chorazin said...

Many multiples of that amount have been spent with a focus on serving motorists.

Why would you find it a problem to construct an adequate facility for cyclists?

I can only assume you want to increase both city congestion and auto dependency.

 
At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I presume they get charged $5 like everyone else for using the Bay Bridge.

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

DaveO: I already addressed that. There is a shuttle, which gets stuck in the very same rush-hour traffic a cyclist would hope to avoid.

What's the point of cycling to work if you get stuck, in a bus, in a traffic jam?

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, adhering fanatically to an idea and pushing it is part of democracy. But it's also characteristic of fanatics and crackpots, which is what you bike people really are. Intellectually you folks are deficient to the point of stupidity, which you demonstrate with every comment. Whether I have an impact or not with this blog is not the point, since it amuses me to do it regardless of influence. But I am saying things here that no one else is saying in SF, especially pointing out how smug and stupid city progressives are. That the great, planet-saving bike movement is taken seriously by progressive politicians is illustrative of the infantile politics of San Francisco.

I'd like to hear more about these great bicycle "victories" you refer to.

Note that neither you nor the other commenters have any problem with the huge price tag that a bike lane on the west span of the Bay Bridge, further evidence of your crackpotism. How much would be too much? $500 million? A billion?

 
At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Rob. Getting shit done costs money.

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger Lex said...

"I presume they get charged $5 like everyone else for using the Bay Bridge."

That's hilarious since cyclists are the cheapest people on earth.

Just listen to them whine when someone proposes that they pay $25 a year for a bike license. "Why should we pay? Boo hoo We're saving the earth boo hoo We don't emit greenhouse gas boo hoo hoo." You'd think they were giving food to the orphans in the Sudan instead of peddling around the city wearing spandex tights.

Sure - the state should spend hundreds of millions so these overprivileged whiners can indulge their hobby.

Cheap bastards.

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"Note that neither you nor the other commenters have any problem with the huge price tag that a bike lane on the west span of the Bay Bridge, further evidence of your crackpotism. How much would be too much? $500 million? A billion?"

Tell you what. If you don't want us to spend all that money on a bike lane on the bridge - how about we spend it on a bike lane on Masonic. Would be much much cheaper.

This bike on the bridge is sort of like the Central Subway. Everyone thinks it sounds great but in all honesty I'd rather spend the money on more buses and more drivers and upgrading other MUNI services. The rub is - if you say "It would be better to spend the money on projects other than the Central Subway" all the government hears is "They don't want the Central Subway" but you don't get the money to use elsewhere.

Let's start a pool. Which happens first....

1) Central Subway
2) High Speed Rail to LA terminating at transbay terminal
3) Path on the West Span of the Bay Bridge.

I predict "None of the Above".

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

'I'd like to hear more about these great bicycle "victories" you refer to.'

http://www.caltrain.com/news_2009_02_06_bike_capacity.html

http://www.cyclelicio.us/2009/04/dog-on-bike.html

http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/buried-in-the-bailout-the-bicycle-commuter-act/

etc...

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"That's hilarious since cyclists are the cheapest people on earth."

An increase in the gasoline tax on motorists was the primary sticking point that held up the state budget for 6 months. The same gas tax that is championed as the reason that drivers pay for the roads and cyclists do not - but drivers whine whenever the state says we need more to build and maintain the roads that the drivers incessantly complain are insufficient. The gas tax that is primarily used for the construction of interstate highways on which cyclists are prohibited.

Cry me a river.

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

Lex... what are we costing you?

Most of us already own cars and pay taxes on those (I'm the exception to the rule since I don't drive), and have jobs and pay taxes on our income. That money goes into the general fund.

Cycling is not a subsidized activity, at least compared to motoring, where everything from the roads (cars tear up the roads, which necessitates constant construction and resurfacing) to the oil (wonder why it's so cheap here compared to everywhere else?) to the manufacturers themselves now gets to eat out of our tax dollars.

Good job with your facile comparison. When you can point out what the cost of our cycling is to society aside from the occasional construction of a path or laying down of paint, we'll be happy to pay licenses. Until then, I'll keep on believing that the roads are public ways, and drivers have to pay extra for the privilege of using them precisely because of the high impact their activity has on everyone else. Drivers are bankrupting this country.

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger DaveO said...

"When you can point out what the cost of our cycling is to society aside from the occasional construction of a path or laying down of paint, we'll be happy to pay licenses. Until then, I'll keep on believing that the roads are public ways, and drivers have to pay extra for the privilege of using them precisely because of the high impact their activity has on everyone else. Drivers are bankrupting this country."

I would argue that a great deal more economic activity is generated by the availability of people to vehicular traffic than that which can be attributed to bicycle traffic. So while infrastructure costs of driving may be higher than bicycling, economic benefits are much greater as well, resulting in higher tax revenues to support infrastructure. If anything, drivers are subsidizing bicyclists.

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"I would argue that a great deal more economic activity is generated by the availability of people to vehicular traffic than that which can be attributed to bicycle traffic. So while infrastructure costs of driving may be higher than bicycling, economic benefits are much greater as well, resulting in higher tax revenues to support infrastructure. If anything, drivers are subsidizing bicyclists."

For example, the motor vehicle made possible the development of new subdivisions in Antioch, Brentwood, Solano County, Stockton. Subdivisions which are currently running at 30% plus rate of foreclosure, a problem which is at the root of our current economic collapse.

The counter argument is that bad lending is what caused the whole problem - but there would be no demand for subprime loans without the houses in the far flung areas, and if it were not so damn easy to commute from Antioch to San Francisco, there would be no demand.

I don't have a problem with cars. People should have cars, they should use cars. The problem is people utilize them so poorly.

Thanks a lot.

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

We're spending $5.5 billion to rebuild the east span, which won't reduce traffic congestion in any way (and still won't be able to withstand the "big one"). Spending 3-5% of that amount to complete a bikeway that will actually reduce traffic isn't so crazy. A Bay Bridge bikeway would get a lot of use.

 
At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The issue doesn't die because, like Jehovah's Witnesses and the Islamic fanatics, the bike people keep coming at you."

Amazing example. Here we have the outsider of all outsiders trying to compare cyclists to fairly extreme groups. The fact is, his views are more wacked out, on the fringe, and extreme than theirs.

Let's look at both groups. On one hand, you have cyclists, a growing group of generally concerned and conscientious citizens. And on the other, you have a party of one, that apparently only lives to criticize and stymie the plans and proposals of the cyclists. Well, it's a party of two, if you count his lawyer.

I believe the appropriate phrase here is, get a life.

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Again, none of the supporters of a bike lane on the Bay Bridge have any hesitation about spending $390 billion on the project. I call that singlemindedness a lot like religious fanaticism.

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Of course I meant to write "$390 million." But even if the price was $390 billion, the bike people wouldn't bat an eye. Money well spent!

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Lex said...

I'll say it again - bike people are the cheapest in the world.

"Oh, there shouldn't be any fees on us - we pay taxes."

Well, so do the rest of us, including registration fees and driver's license fees and tolls ON TOP of the taxes that you pay.

Bike lanes aren't some zero sum game. The space for lanes gets taken away from buses, trucks, and private vehicles. When a resource like that is transferred from one group to another it's only fair to ask questions. Do more people benefit from the change than are hurt by it? What will be the environmental costs?

Those are legitimate questions but the bike people really don't like to answer them. They believe in some type of Divine Right of Cycling which trumps everyone else's rights.

How many people will use this $390 million bike lane? A couple of hundred people a day? Keep in mind the Bay Bridge is 4.5 miles long. That's not a trivial distance added on top of the distance to be traveled on both sides of the bridge.

What number of daily cyclists would justify this enormous amount of money?

Oh yeah, one more thing. How big should the toll on cyclists be?

I can hear it now. "Wah wah wah. We don't pollute. We should ride for free. Wah wah wah."

Cheap bastards with a giant sense of entitlement.

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"Keep in mind the Bay Bridge is 4.5 miles long. That's not a trivial distance added on top of the distance to be traveled on both sides of the bridge."

We have truly turned into the fat lardasses of Wall-E when a 4.5 mile bike ride is not considered trivial. I rode 4.5 miles to play Little League Baseball - at the age of 10, my parents refused to drive me because that would be "lazy". Nowadays they'd probably get rung up as child abusers for making me do that much exercise.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

'I'd like to hear more about these great bicycle "victories" you refer to.'

http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/2009/04/14/snyder-wins-appointment-to-golden-gate-bridge-commission/

The whole “qualifications” issue is bogus, since all appointments to this board are political appointments. The bike people and their many enablers in City Hall simply beat the labor unions on this appointment. - Rob Anderson

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Getting Dave Snyder on the Golden Gate Bridge Commission is a great achievement for cyclists? How so, Murph? Recall that Leah Shahum was on the commission, too, but none of her great achievements while there come to mind. It's just a dumping ground for political appointments.

 
At 1:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bike lanes aren't some zero sum game."

That's right Lex, because the person on the bike asks for much less of the roadway than the person in the car does.

 
At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well, so do the rest of us, including registration fees and driver's license fees and tolls ON TOP of the taxes that you pay."

Wait a minute, I ride a bike and have a driver's license. How does that compute?

 

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