Thursday, November 26, 2009

"This is not about Rob Anderson"

Streetsblog (http://sf.streetsblog.org/) provides a link to yesterday's decision by Judge Busch:

Judge Busch is allowing only 10 of the 22 projects the city proposed implementing between now and the hearing on the adequacy of the city's EIR on the Bicycle Plan, which will happen next June. The projects he's allowing were carefully chosen, since they are among the smallest, have the least impact, and are easily reversible, though I suspect nothing is going to be reversed once it's done. He's also allowing the city to install bike racks and paint sharrows on city streets, low-impact projects that don't take away street parking or traffic lanes to make bike lanes.

The bike zealots are already grumbling about the decision on Streetsblog.

From a brave anonymous commenter: "Rob Anderson and [his lawyer] already have blood on their hands, what's another seven months' worth?"
No blood on my hands. Mr. Anonymous should direct his ire at the city for trying to take a shortcut in the process instead of doing an EIR on the 500-page Bicycle Plan---clearly required by the law---more than four years ago, which is what we urged them to do at the time.

From Peter Smith:
"We knew the judge was going to endanger us for as long as possible. thanks, Judge!"
Typical ignorance about the judicial process from a fanatic whose shortlived bike website (http://bikeblogs.org/sf/ ) was so extreme it even embarrassed the other bike people in the city, which isn't easy to do.

From Greg, who does the NJudah Chronicles: "It really sucks that we have a judge determining bicycle policy. People who use the courts because they can't win at the ballot box or the support of the majority suck ass!"
More ignorance, along with a big dollop of vulgarity. When have city voters had a chance to vote on the Bicycle Plan? Never. I suspect that a majority of city voters would reject it if they had the chance, which of course they never will.

From another anonymous bike guy: "I have said it before...this is not about Rob Anderson. Rob Anderson is irrelevant and people like him are dime a dozen. The city should have done their homework, part of which would have been to fully expect a dimwit like him to materialize and work against their plan."
Actually, this is close to the mark, except for the personal aspersions on yours truly. The city didn't do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan simply because they thought they could get away with rushing it through the process without doing what the law clearly required. After all who's going to challenge the Bicycle Plan here in Progressive Land? At least we now know the answer to that question.

Mark shares his ignorance of the law:
"I'm not sure people like Rob Anderson are a dime-a-dozen. How many crackpots have a lawyer willing to work pro bono for years on nuisance injunctions? In civil court, these are called 'nuisance lawsuits' and you'll face sanctions if you file them."
There's no such thing as a "nuisance injunction." In fact it's not easy to get an injunction on any project, since you have to convince the judge that you're likely to prevail on the merits of the case when the hearing is held. We showed Judge Warren and then Judge Busch that the city was busily implementing the Bicycle Plan before the hearing on the merits of the litigation. Since the city had done no environmental review of what was obviously a major project, the judges rightly assumed we would prevail at the hearing.

Diane comes in late and wonders what's going on:
"Why does the judge get to select which projects to go forward with immediately, and which to put on hold? (I know, because he has all the power...) But is he any kind of expert? Which leads me to a question: Who assesses the EIR---him? Or people who really know about such stuff?"

The courts get to decide these issues under CEQA because that law has no other enforcement mechanism. People have to sue the government if it insists on ignoring the most important environmental law in the State of California. I've been at all the hearings on this litigation, and actually Judge Busch has expressed some irritation at being forced in effect to become a city traffic engineer. He too seems to wish that the city had simply done an EIR on the Plan in the first place. In any event, the so-called traffic experts in city government have, to put it mildly, been unreliable sources of information on the Bicycle Plan.

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17 Comments:

At 8:45 PM, Anonymous random said...

Happy thanksgiving, Rob!

 
At 8:21 AM, Blogger Mike Kim said...

Rob you need to stop this now. People are getting hurt so you can make your point that you don't like cyclist. Your argument is that the city needs to follow the letter of the law. Well the intent of the law is to protect the people but your use is getting people hurt. The advantages of more cycling are so numerous I'm not going to list them here, your arguments against just reinforce your obvious disdain for cyclists.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This is not about my not liking cyclists, Mike. There are serious legal and environmental issues at stake. Nor is there a shred of evidence that our litigation has injured anyone. The "intent" of the California Environmental Quality Act is to protect the environment by giving projects a proper environmental review before they are implemented. The city deliberately violated that lawl by not doing an EIR on the massive Bicycle Plan. I only have "disdain" for cyclists who misbehave on city streets and those who want to impose their risky hobby on the majority in SF who don't ride bikes.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger Mike Kim said...

Rob

Having worked as an air quality expert for the past 13 years I can tell you the intent of CEQA is to protect human heath and the environment. You are forcing the city to waste money and time to serve your own agenda. The bike plan will encourage more bike commuting within the city of San Francisco. Increasing bike commuting decreases cars and the demands on mass transit. Cars and buses are dangerous and pollute. Human health and the environment within San Francisco will be best served by decreasing the number of cars and buses on the road. Since it is obvious to anyone who works in the environmental field that a bike plan will not have negative impacts to human health or the environment within SF the lead agency assumed that a full EIR was not warranted. You have probably wasted more tax money by demanding an EIR be written then the bike improvements would have cost.

The bike ridership within SF has increased 53% in spite of your efforts. By delaying the much needed improvements to the cycling infrastructure you have delayed many safety improvements, some went in anyway because the intersections were too dangerous and common sense prevailed. Most of the safety improvements are sitting idle waiting for your little coup to end. By not making the needed improvements people are getting hurt and even killed, this is directly linked to your actions there fore you are responsible. You will try to justify this by saying that you did not make them go ride or that the cyclist did something illegal. Well, if that is enough to satisfy your sense of what is right then I feel for those around you.

In my experience as a bike commuter and avid cyclist I find that the vast majority of cyclists I encounter within San Fransisco are commuters or messengers. I also see most cyclist obeying the laws of the city streets I would go as as far to say that the cyclist I encounter are more consistent at obeying the law as the motorists are. "Hobbyists" are more than likely either leaving the city or just returning from a ride. It is no fun to ride in traffic and bad for ones health breathing the exhaust form cars and buses.

I would also like to point out that people like you who so desperately cling to the familiar, like your cars, should support others finding alternate means of transportation ever cyclist you encounter is one fewer car in your way. Your logic is skewed and your hate is driving you to do something that actually negatively affects you in many ways.

Mike

 
At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rob. I'm not trying to attack you personally here but I really don't understand the logic behind your argument. How are people imposing their "risky hobby on the majority" by implementing a plan to share the road more safely between both cars and bikes?

It seems disingenuous and a bit mean-spirited to suggest that bike riding is only a hobby, especially for people who use bikes as their primary (or only) form of transportation. If somebody rides his or her bike to work, I don't understand how that qualifies as a hobby. To me, a hobbyist is the person riding through Golden Gate park on a Saturday, not the one on Cesar Chavez at 7:30am on a weekday. The entire bike plan seems to be targeted at the latter, not the former.

The other thing I don't understand is your position on the risk associated with bike-riding in the City. You seem to think that it's quite risky, and many of us who have tried to ride a bike in the City agree. Unless I missed it somewhere, you don't seem to offer any constructive solutions for cars and bikes to safely coexist. (This could be why people conclude that you don't like cyclists. Do you actually have a position here or do you just think that bikes should be banned from all City streets?)

When it comes to public safety, it seems to me that nearly everything we do as a society is designed to protect the minority so I also don't understand your preoccupation with "the majority". The majority of us aren't violently assaulted in the street but we do pay taxes to prosecute on behalf of those who are. Most of us never require an ambulance ride so why subsidize them when a lot of us have cars? There are countless other examples but the point is that society constantly make compromises to protect the safety of minority populations. Your suggestion that we should not--because majority rules--doesn't seem to be based in reality.

If you're whole argument is based on the notion that riding a bike is the exact equivalent to playing frisbee or flying a hang glider, then I guess I'd have to agree with you that it should only be done in parks rather than in the middle of the freeway... In fact, I think that's the only way that one could reasonably reconcile your logic. But I have I hard time understanding how you can completely reject (with a straight face) the notion that a bike can also serve as an effective means of transportation, especially for anyone who doesn't have the means to afford motorized transportation. Do you really believe this or am I misinterpreting?

If we're even a little bit honest about the utility that biking affords to many people in many cities around the globe--especially in cities where safe cycling is a priority--then it seems kind of obvious that more people would ride bikes, if we made it safer to do so in San Francisco. (Would not be absurd to reasonably conclude that more cars would be off the road and more parking would be available for drivers if more people could rely on their bikes instead, but I'm no expert on this...) Making it unsafe seems to only ensure that bikers remain marginalized. Is that your goal? I'm not suggesting that it is; I'm just trying to understand.

As a sometime biker, frequent walker, muni/bart/caltrain rider, and SUV-owning driver, I'd really like to see the City do things that make all of these activities safer. Even when I'm driving, I would prefer that bikes be in their own dedicated lanes to eliminate ambiguity and protect them from my vehicle. As a car owner, I would gladly put up with a little more inconvenience to make my fellow citizens safer. Again, I'm not attacking you personally, but your argument seems to be making the opposite case: that you'd rather some people be less safe in exchange for making others less inconvenienced. I think reasonable people would agree with my assessment. Am I wrong?

-Jason in Noe Valley

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

In spite of your alleged expertise, Mike, this is the same old crap we've heard for years from you bike people.

"Human health and the environment within San Francisco will be best served by decreasing the number of cars and buses on the road."

Nice to hear a bike nut admit that you don't really care about Muni, which is the only realistic alternative to driving in the city. Maybe you should apply your expertise to reading the EIR on th Bicycle Plan, which tells us that it is in fact going to have "significant unavoidable consequences"---that's negative consequences, Mike---on traffic, loading, and a number of Muni lines. Maybe you can also use your so-called expertise to calculate the impacts cars and buses idling in traffic jams will have on our air quality.

"Since it is obvious to anyone who works in the environmental field that a bike plan will not have negative impacts to human health or the environment within SF the lead agency assumed that a full EIR was not warranted."

As I just pointed out, the EIR found just the opposite, as we predicted more than four years ago. The city simply didn't do the EIR because they assumed they could get away with not doing it here in Progressive Land. The city would have saved a lot of money if they had just followed the law in the first place and done the EIR.

"The bike ridership within SF has increased 53% in spite of your efforts."

My "efforts" have nothing to do with preventing people from riding bicycles in SF, which they have always had a perfect right to do. If in fact bike ridership has increased---and the way the city conducts its counts leaves a reasonable doubt about that---all it shows is that riding bikes in SF has nothing to do with bike lanes or sharrows. It's the PC thing to do for thousands of young people who parachute into SF to work on their Mommy and Daddy issues on the streets of our city. Bikes are nothing but an accessory to a political lifestyle, just as tie-dye shirts, long hair, and beards were 40 years ago.

"By not making the needed improvements people are getting hurt and even killed, this is directly linked to your actions there fore you are responsible."

Bullshit. Please provide me with evidence of a single accident that would have been prevented without the litigation.

"I also see most cyclists obeying the laws of the city streets I would go as as far to say that the cyclist I encounter are more consistent at obeying the law as the motorists are."

You're obviously blinkered by your ideology, which I call "BikeThink." The behavior by cyclists I see every day on city streets is shockingly reckless about their welfare and that of others.

"I would also like to point out that people like you who so desperately cling to the familiar, like your cars, should support others finding alternate means of transportation ever cyclist you encounter is one fewer car in your way."

As a matter of fact, I haven't owned a car in more than 20 years. I cling to Muni and my walking shoes to get around the city, both of which work well for me. Again, Muni is the only realistic alternative to driving for most of us, which is why a small minority of bike nuts shouldn't be allowed to redesign the streets to screw up traffic for everyone else.

"Your logic is skewed and your hate is driving you to do something that actually negatively affects you in many ways."

Your logic is faulty, Mike, and you evidently haven't even read the EIR on the Bicycle Plan, which contradicts what you're claiming here. It's not about "hate" at all; you bike nuts are the ones who bring a surprising amount of emotional baggage to what is, after all, only a public policy issue, because, like all fanatics, you get mad when your religion is questioned.

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Mike Kim said...

All other curious text aside. I have to comment on:

"...here in Progressive Land..." is being progressive bad? This really makes no sense.

"...Mommy and Daddy issues on the streets of our city." Wow this is truly reveling you don't hate cyclist you hate young people in general.

"...you get mad when your religion is questioned" "...Muni is the only realistic alternative to driving" I'm not wasting piles of tax payers money getting riled about my religion.

You don't care about the issues only your little war, so have a nice life.

 
At 9:26 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Is being progressive bad?"

As progressivism is commonly practiced here in SF, yes. It's the official ideology of this one-party town. It's a mindless, default political perspective for the unreflective. See the SF Bay Guardian and BeyondChron for the party line on specific issues.

"Wow this is truly reveling[sic] you don't hate cyclist[sic] you hate young people in general."

I don't hate anyone, but the armies of young people who come to SF seem to assume they have the right---nay, the duty---to rearrange the city to conform to their half-baked political ideas. And the constant round of demos and displays of exhibitionism on city streets is also symptomatic of the newly-arrived. I wish them well in general, but they shouldn't be surprised that those of us who have been here a long time don't embrace fringe-left ideas as public policy.

"I'm not wasting piles of tax payers money getting riled about my religion."

No, you're just riled about my scorn for your religon, aka BikeThink. Again, if the city had simply followed the law and done an EIR four years ago, it could have saved city taxpayers a lot of money in legal fees with their unsuccessful attempt to circumvent the law.

"You don't care about the issues only your little war, so have a nice life."

I care enough about the issues to do my homework on the Bicycle Plan issue and a lot of other issues I write about on my blog. You're not going to read the EIR on the Bicycle Plan, are you Mr. Expert? It's typical of the juvenile politics of SF that I get a lot of comments like yours when I write about the bicycle fantasy but few when I write about how city progressives have screwed on other issues, like homelessness and development.

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger Mike Kim said...

I admit to not reading the whole EIR my job and life has gotten in the way. I have read the AQ section and some others of interest and would be willing to discuss these at great detail but since the facts are not your point it would be a waste of time. These comments are not about what you write about nobody gives a shit about your writing as you yourself point out they are about safety and money. Your comment on not hating is full of hate. You are the problem not the solution. You don't care what others have to say you are a closed minded sad little man. By the way single mindedness which is how you describe SF is not progressive. If you are so upset with SF politics and the people in the city why don't you pack up and move to Anaheim I'm sure everyone there would agree with you.

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You're just another bike nut and a phony, Mike. I'm a hater because I don't accept the great bike movement? The "facts" are exactly my point. The EIR says that the Bicycle Plan is going to screw up traffic and delay a number of Muni lines. I've posted on this subject in some detail on my blog. It's all supposedly about the "facts," but you don't read my blog? Now there's some real expertise!

"If you are so upset with SF politics and the people in the city why don't you pack up and move to Anaheim I'm sure everyone there would agree with you."

You provide a good example of the bike movement's mindset: contempt for average Americans who are so barbarous as to live in so unprogressive a place as Anaheim! What about those who live in the avenues here in the city? Or in Marin County or the other suburbs around SF? Are they all living in darkness?

 
At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Ruprecht M. Van't Hoff said...

Oh, Rob! You must just hate getting old. From reading the blog, I can clearly see your "old guard" stance. You remind me of the old villain in the Scooby Doo cartoons..."if it wasn't for those meddling kids I would have gotten away with it..." Your disdain for progressive ideas is simply reactionary so as to impose your "wizened" and "sensible" dogma on our population. You are not in the majority of "old timers" in the city. You are just a very loud and annoying "conservative" dinosaur who will one day fade into oblivion no matter how much you try to leave your mark. The sooner you accept this, the sooner the rest of us can try new ideas in order to make a better world. Please help us and get the hell out of the way.

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You're going pretty deep here, Ruprecht, with the citation to Scooby Doo. As a matter of fact, I'm a Democrat and pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-labor, etc. Except for the bike fantasy, public power, and legalizing prostitution, could you provide some specific ideas you progs have that I disdain? A big part of the problem with SF progs is that you have no ideas, and the few that you do have you are evidently too inarticulate and illiterate to defend. Too many videos and too much crappy music piped into your empty heads, leaving little room for actual ideas. Thanks for providing the middle initial to your name, though; that will distinguish you from all the other Ruprecht Van't Hoffs out there.

 
At 9:37 AM, Anonymous david l. said...

wow, only in san francisco would you get this sort of crazy. like seriously, who opposes bikes? why not just move to antioch or somewhere like that?

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Where do you live that it makes you this stupid? This is about a plan that will radically redesign city streets on behalf of a small minority of cyclists, even though the vast majority of citizens don't ride bikes. The EIR on the Bicycle Plan tells us that the Plan is going to make traffic worse on a number of city streets and delay a number of Muni lines in our "transit first" city.

 
At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Shawn Allen said...

This isn't about "progressivism", Rob. Most people don't give a rat's ass about "saving the planet" or making some sort of political statement. Do all the Latino men riding their bikes to and from work in the Mission identify as "progressive"? Of course not; they're just looking for a cheap and practical way to get around the city. Is everyone in this city—let alone on a bike—"mindless" and "unreflective"? What a ridiculous assertion. I don't automatically assume that everyone behind the wheel of a car is as ignorant or stupid. In fact, most people in this city are perfectly respectful if you give them the chance to be. You, on the other hand, have nothing but vitriol to spew, and it's a shame that any reasonable discussion about the bike plan in which you take part inevitably devolves into another episode of Rob Anderson's Ad Hominem Culture War.

You think it's silly for twenty-somethings to "work on their mommy and daddy issues on the streets"? That seems a lot more benign to me than one antisocial old man acting out his political temper tantrum in the courts to the tune of over $1 million in costs to the city and over 4 years' delay of infrastructure intended to improve personal mobility and public safety.

Muni is in the hole and has recently raised fares while simultaneously cutting service. The city's busiest lines, which service a sizable portion of its commuting population, are routinely late, uncomfortably overcrowded, or both. Do you, an aspiring politician, have some ideas about how to solve some of the many transportation-related issues this city faces? Because all I've ever heard from you is violent defense of the status quo. No wonder you so despise "progressives"—you're not really interested in progress at all.

I'm going to quote one of the first entries from this blog in the hopes that you take your own words to heart:

If you can't concede that your political opponents are sincere in their beliefs and actions, you are essentially dehumanizing them: they are simply Evil and no longer part of a civil dialogue. Just as important, you tend to then indulge in a self-righteousness that corrodes your own political sensibilities. Something like this psychological process seems to underly a lot of political and religious fanaticism.

Cyclists (or "progressives") don't have a monopoly on self-righteousness, Rob. Your complete unwillingness to take anyone else's view prevents a civil discourse from taking place. It's clear from the way you talk down to anyone who disagrees with you that you don't give a shit about anyone else. You're just a sad and angry old man sucking on the government teat and using the legal system to antagonize people who piss you off because they're not as sad and angry as you are.

It may take new leadership in City Hall, the Planning Department, and the City Attorney's office to fix the mistakes made by our current administration. It may take changing CEQA to ensure that nuisance challenges like yours don't hold up similar improvements elsewhere in California. But the history of bikes in San Francisco will be written by the victors, and we'll be here a long time after you're dead and gone.

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Lex said...

Congratulations Rob.

The people directing all their venom towards you have a big problem. They have to square their belief that you're a misguided obstacle to "progress" with the fact that the judge continues to largely rule in your favor. When the bike fantasy meets reality, reality wins.

 
At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CA Poised to Reform Auto-Centric Level of Service Environmental Rules.
A wonderful result of your lawsuit is the reform of CEQA which will benefit bicyclists throughout the state! Thank you Rob Anderson !!! As it turns out, despite the vitriol you spew, you truly are a friend of cyclists!

 

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