Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cost to the city for Critical Mass: $125,000

Joe Vazquez did a piece for KPIX on Critical Mass that at least mentioned the cost to the city for the police escort of the monthly event: 20 officers and two Sergeants, $125,000 a year.

Supervisor Mirkarimi provided Vazquez a typical flab-gab soundbite: "Any kind of traffic enforcement, especially when it's mobile and rotating like that, costs the city money for a police escort...So the police department needs to provide us their budget to determine if that is an applicable use." An "applicable use"? The cops are now escorting Critical Mass every month, so obviously the money for the escort is already being spent. The question for Mirkarimi, who supports Critical Mass, is whether either the demonstration or the expense can be justified.

Four years ago, Mirkarimi had this lame defense of the bike people's traffic-snarling demo: "Critical Mass gets my support because of the attention they've brought in influencing the City to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly."

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15 Comments:

At 9:36 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

As far as I am concerned, the police should just go away, and save the money.

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

Of course that's what you think, Murph. But the cops started escorting you assholes a few years ago after your comrades attacked some motorists.

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger DaveO said...

I say the police should go away too. And I'm as anti-CM as they come. Let the even run wild for a few months and see where we are then.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I bet the Bicycle Coalition doesn't want the police escort to go away. It lends the demo legitimacy, keeps the wilder punks in line, and, just as important, they don't have to pay for it.

 
At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Shawn Allen said...

I haven't ridden in CM in a very long time, but I'd much prefer that the cops not spend that money on the escort. I understand why they're doing it, and yes: those incidents with drivers were shameful. Those jackasses should be hauled off and charged just like anyone else that assaults another human being.

But it seems like, with respect to Critical Mass, we (cyclists) are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Some despise cyclists almost exclusively because of the event; yet others see it as an opportunity to raise awareness, get people excited about bikes, and revel in the street. Still, though, I think that the "political problem" which you perceive Critical Mass to have caused for cycling advocates is far outweighed by the morale boost that CM gives to folks who are still treated as second-class citizens of the road on every other day of the month.

That said, if all it would take is $125,000 a year to make the event legitimate, I wouldn't be opposed to passing around a collection plate... I'd certainly be willing to pay a couple of bucks a year to deprive curmudgeons like you of another excuse to rail against us.

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

Finally! We can now compare unrecovered costs to the city between cyclists and motorists.

The police department has decided that cyclists need extra attention one night a month.

Motorists, by contrast, do not require police services.

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

"...the cops started escorting you assholes a few years ago after your comrades attacked some motorists."

Do you realize, Rob, that there are motorists who think nothing of driving into the people on the ride?

That's why the cops are there. Go out and observe sometime and you'll see that nine times out of ten it's the cops protecting the ride from motorists.

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous kwk said...

You gotta love how clueless Mirkarimi is, Critical Mass making the City more pedestrian friendly. I walk about two miles on Valencia maybe three days a week and always have to dodge cyclists on the sidewalk even though the street has striped bike lanes.

If the Supervisors were really concerned about pedestrian safety they'd put little stands with two foot lengths of rebar at the curbs so pedestrians could jam them into the spokes of these jerks.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"a few years ago after your comrades attacked some motorists"

The motorist attacked the cyclists, but thanks for playing.

You'll never believe it, and you'll never convince me otherwise, so we'll agree to disagree.

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger DaveO said...

Indeed. Pulling police escort will result in some entity taking some form of responsibility here. It might come at the cost of a few vandalized cars though.

 
At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

""a few years ago after your comrades attacked some motorists"

"The motorist attacked the cyclists, but thanks for playing.

You'll never believe it, and you'll never convince me otherwise, so we'll agree to disagree."

I thought there were two incidents. The one with the lady and her daughters was debatable --although the bicyclists did overreact to a point that was probably criminal. The one with the double-parked limo however -- where the bicyclist stole the keys -- was certainly a criminal act of vandalism.

 
At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The one with the lady and her daughters was debatable --although the bicyclists did overreact to a point that was probably criminal."

One of the cyclists *definitely* over-reacted by the criminal act of breaking the window. The rest of them cannot be blamed for this person's action, though.

"The one with the double-parked limo however -- where the bicyclist stole the keys -- was certainly a criminal act of vandalism."

Ok, but if we're going to charge the cyclist with vandalism for taking the drivers keys, we should also charge the limo driver for driving into the cyclists. Actually, the same holds true of the lady with the broken window.

If it was actually possible to have justice served, both parties (the cyclists and the drivers) would be charged when their behavior becomes criminal.

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

But none of these incidents would have happened if Critical Mass didn't take place. In what sense does the demo further cycling in SF or help cyclists' relationships with the city's drivers? I think it does the opposite.

 
At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But none of these incidents would have happened if Critical Mass didn't take place"

There are plenty of incidents that have nothing to do with critical mass, though.

Rush hour traffic jams happen 40 times a month, for example.

Every couple days, a pedestrian is hit by a car and sent to the hospital. Every couple weeks, to the morgue.

Everybody, wether they drive or not, gets to listen to car horns and car alarms.

Everybody, wether they drive or not, breathes automobile exhaust.

Everybody, wether they drive or not, pays for the infrastructure and city services that are dedicated to car traffic.

Muni vehicles are slowed down by car traffic.

But critical mass!!! it rides around for a couple of hours. Shame on them.

 
At 1:26 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"But critical mass!!! it rides around for a couple of hours. Shame on them."

Why is it "around" at all?

 

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