Friday, July 31, 2009

The Bicycle Plan and Second Street

Jeffrey Leibovitz on the Bicycle Plan's project for Second Street:
Let me put it this way. The 2nd street plan was conceived in a vacuum and it will have negative impacts on all BUT bicyclists. No one....I repeat No one living in South Beach or Rincon Hill was ever asked to comment on the ill-conceived plan. I have been involved with planning issues in this neighborhood for over 13 years. I am the Vice Chair of the Rincon Point-South Beach CAC for the Redevelopment agency and a board member of South Beach-Rincon-Mission Bay Neighborhood Association. We (the SBRMBNA) filed the second appeal of the EIR.

Our CAC has always been the forum for development issues in this area of the city. SFMTA never...I repeat NEVER came to our CAC to ask for input on the plan. We have worked with the Port, Planning dept., ISCOT, Giants, SFPD, SFMTA and the Entertainment commission on all kinds of related community issues. SFMTA dropped the ball on this one. I believe they did it intentionally to keep us in the dark because the plan was developed by bike zealots working within the department.

The assertion that "Second Street is actually a pretty popular route for bikes" is BS. Anyone that lives in this part of the city knows that for a fact. Stand on any corner of Second and count how many bikes go by. You would be lucky to see 4 per hour on a good day. Count the cars and trucks...it's overwhelming.

Eliminating left turns from Market to King both North and South bound on Second in the name of "bike safety" is NUTS. Having drivers make needless additional right turns on to Bay Bridge feeder streets in order to go West into the SoMa is asinine. Making drivers make U-turns on Second to avoid the No left turns is worse. The authors of the [Bicycle Plan]EIR have used twisted, convoluted and tortured language to explain away the additional pollution on the neighborhood and stress on drivers. They get paid to make it easy for the city to ignore the facts.

Second street is not your average city street and we do not want a repeat of Octavia Boulevard, a plan developed by bike zealots that is a disaster.

We are now working with SFMTA and the SFBC to come up with a compromise plan. So far the folks of the SFBC are holding fast to their unrealistic goal. We have 36 months to arrive at a plan that works for everyone. I believe that goal is achievable. It's going to take some give and take on all sides.

I ride a bike, I walk the streets, I ride Muni and I drive a car. And I live in this neighborhood. I have worked to make this neighborhood a better place for everyone that comes here. It's time to come up with a better plan and make our city a better place for everyone. The streets are what they are and we have to work with what we have.

Second street has always had a history of controversy dating back to the 1880's when the industrialist mowed down Rincon Hill for "ease of access" to the South Beach waterfront. I believe we can make Second street safe for bikes, pedestrians and sensible for drivers and Muni.

Jeffrey Leibovitz SoMa

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12 Comments:

At 1:10 PM, Blogger kit said...

I bike on 2nd street on a daily basis, and from my desk I can stand up and see it. The assertion that there are no more than 4 bikes an hour his ludicrous. I just took a random poll of bikes at 1:00 in the afternoon, not exactly peak hours for cyclists or cars, and saw one within three minutes. If a bike rides by an average of every 5 minutes that makes 12 bikes an hour in the middle of the day. There are a lot more in the morning, when large groups of cyclists make their way up 2nd from the 4th and King Caltrain Station.

I'm not saying 12 bikes an hour is a road-stopping parade of pollution-free vehicles, but this exaggeration isn't serving your cause.

 
At 1:54 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Okay, let's assume there are 12 bikes an hour using Second Street now. And let's assume that the Bicycle Plan redesigns Second Street, and 24 or even 48 or 100 cyclists use it on an average day. Is that a good reason to screw it up for the many thousands of cars, trucks, and buses? The EIR on the Bicycle Plan, by the way, provides no numbers on how many cyclists now use Second Street. It's all bullshit. Planning and MTA are staffed by hundreds of overpaid bureaucrats who are also bike nuts, and our Board of Supervisors is composed of a bunch of dim-bulb, PC stooges, who seem to think that Planning and MTA actually know something. Pathetic.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"No one....I repeat No one living in South Beach or Rincon Hill was ever asked to comment on the ill-conceived plan."

And in other news...

"We told you last week that Mayor Gavin Newsom had been curiously silent about the Muni crash that injured nearly 50 people. Today, he said why he hadn't talked about it: because nobody asked him."

The bike plan documentation has been out there for years. It's been notorious for at least 3-4 years due to the Rob Anderson lawsuit. I think Jeff needs to look in the mirror first. But despite the gripes - the comments still made it to the MTA meeting, they tabled it for further study, and we apparently have 36 months - 3 MORE years, to figure it out. So the process works well enough to even deal with the fact Leibovitz was asleep at the switch (this assumes that Mr. Leibovitz is sincere in wanting a "better" improvement, and is not simply an obstructionist who waited until the last hour to appeal in order to stall any changes).

"It's time to come up with a better plan and make our city a better place for everyone."

That time was years ago and you missed it, but you can come back to the table anyway.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger kit said...

@rob: You make me giggle. I hope for your sake your shriveled, bitter soul can find peace or you're going to die an early death.

But hey! Cheer up old chap! There'll still be pollution-spewing two-ton inefficient modes of transportation for the rest of your lifetime. To use your favorite word, Americans are car nutbags.

We of the bike nutbag variety are just idealistic enough to think we can move a mountain.

Love,
Kit

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"@rob: You make me giggle. I hope for your sake your shriveled, bitter soul can find peace or you're going to die an early death."

What I have for you crackpots is contempt, which isn't corrosive like hatred. Thanks for your consideration, but I am at peace and unlikely to die early, since there's longevity in the Anderson line, as me dear old mum is 93-years-old.

"There'll still be pollution-spewing two-ton inefficient modes of transportation for the rest of your lifetime. To use your favorite word, Americans are car nutbags."

Yes, Americans love their cars, which they will continue to drive in spite of the disapproval of you pissant cyclists, who seem to think motor vehicles will soon be obsolete.

"We of the bike nutbag variety are just idealistic enough to think we can move a mountain."

God save us from the idealists! You can barely move your skinny, spandexed asses down the street on conveyances designed for children.

 
At 2:15 AM, Anonymous Philip said...

let's assume that the Bicycle Plan redesigns Second Street, and 24 or even 48 or 100 cyclists use it on an average day.
........Pathetic.

Agreed.

Some hard decisions need to be made the rectify the city transport imbalance.

 
At 12:24 PM, Anonymous builey said...

Kind of a short sighted opinion. So, there are, most likely, a couple hundred cyclists that use 2nd on a daily basis right now.

With a bike lane, and if the number of cyclists continues to grow at it's current rate, in just a few years, it could easily be in the thousands. The city has needed another north/south bike lane east of 7th and 8th streets in soma for a while now. Glad to see it's happening.

The fact that 2nd street doesn't cross Market Street makes it a great candidate. It's not like there is a lane that's being taken away on the artery streets of 3rd and 4th.

 
At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are missing an important point.

A common reason for NOT using bicycles as a means of transportation is safety. When the network of safe biking areas in the city are not comprehensive enough, people will not bike. Similarly, if the streets are not friendly to walkers, people will not walk. The design of the streets is causal for the use of those streets.

You complain that Muni has on-time issues, and this will exacerbate this. This is an independent issue and the flaw is with Muni's design and implementation, not the streets. You can blame many other design and methodological issues on the lack of on-time arrivals with Muni.

The fact is, making the city more bicycle friend, more pedestrian friendly, and more public-transit friendly, and emphasizing these systems (by creating safe infrastructure that encourages these forms of transit) will make these modes more viable. You take cars off the street when people decide to walk, bike, or use public transit...and doing so will save people money as well as myriad of other possible benefits.

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You are missing a number of points. Your claim that bicycle use will only increase at that magical moment when cycling is made safe in this major American city is not supported by any evidence I'm aware of. Cycling is an inherently risky way to get around in this city or anywhere else (note that most cycling accidents are "solo falls" that have nothing to do with other vehicles).

The overwhelming majority of city residents do not use bikes as transportation, yet the city is expected to screw up traffic and Muni on behalf of your small minority of cyclists on the assumption that a significant number of that overwhelming majority is going to abandon cars, trucks, and buses to take up cycling. Ridiculous.

Delaying Muni is not a separate issue. The EIR itself tells us that the plan will slow down a number of Muni lines. Muni's present ontime problems are due to a number of factors, one of which is that the space on city streets is finite. If you screw up traffic for cars by taking away traffic lanes and street parking, you're also going to screw it up for Muni.

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"Your claim that bicycle use will only increase at that magical moment when cycling is made safe in this major American city is not supported by any evidence I'm aware of."

I'm too lazy to google the stats, but it's pretty clear that ridership in the Mission went up dramatically after the lanes on Valencia were put in.

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Thanks for sharing your lack of information with us, Murph. The SFBC and the city claim that cycling has increased in the city over the last several years even with the injunction in place. How is that possible without the Bicycle Plan? My answer: riding a bike in SF is part of a smug, self-righteous political lifestyle for the young, the politically motivated, and the foolish. It has nothing to do with bike lanes.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger kit said...

@Rob:

You are SUCH a hoot! This theater! This exposition! Wonderful1

In any case your assertions as to the motivations of cyclists are of course thoroughly unfounded and you know that as well as we do or you wouldn't make your statements so grossly exaggerated. I think I'm beginning to understand you, Robert. I really do.

And I'm happy to hear your mother has lived to a ripe old age, of course probably thanks to the fact that she's never set foot on a bike pedal for fear that every bone in her body might spontaneously shatter.

 

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