Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mayor Newsom: "There will be a lot of parking spaces removed..."


The Bay Guardian's Steve Jones and other journalists cornered Mayor Newsom last week as the city implemented one of the Bicycle Plan projects allowed by Judge Busch. The mayor talked (below in italics) about implementing the rest of the projects in the Plan: "Newsom said he was supportive of the projects in the Bike Plan, even though many of them will cause the loss of traffic lanes and parking spaces, something he had decried in the past."

That Mayor Newsom has ever been an opponent of the bike people is pure mythology. The leftist Guardian has criticized Newsom on many other issues, but, except for his veto of Healthy Saturdays in Golden Gate Park several years ago, Mayor Newsom has given the city's bike people everything they've asked for, even appointing the SFBC's Leah Shahum to the MTA board of directors. I've been following this issue for years, and I've never heard Mayor Newsom "decry" the loss of parking spaces or traffic lanes in any context.

But it's interesting to note that the mayor admits he's a little uneasy about implementing the rest of the Bicycle Plan: "There will be changes[to the Plan]. There will be good ideas that we all agreed to and then we’ll go, wow, this has had unintended consequences, we’ve got to pull back. That doesn’t mean you’re going to reduce necessarily the amount of bike lanes, but it just might be that bike lanes that we do, based upon circumstances that we weren’t aware of that unveil.”

The mayor may have been thinking of the push-back the city has already gotten on the proposed Second Street project. Or he may be rightly worried about planned projects on, for example, Fifth Street, Masonic Avenue, and Cesar Chavez, projects that, according to the EIR, will have "significant unavoidable consequences" on traffic and Muni lines on those streets. Judge Busch is allowing the city to implement only ten small, low-impact projects before a hearing on the adequacy of the Bicycle Plan EIR next June, which shows that he too is concerned about the impact implementing the rest of the Bicycle Plan will have on city streets. He probably doesn't want to be known as the judge who allowed the bike nuts to screw up city streets.


If the mayor and Judge Busch are worried, the people of San Francisco should be worried, too.


But once the topic of the budget was exhausted and the questions turned back to bike and greening issues, the mayor seemed to brighten up. Newsom said he was supportive of the projects in the Bike Plan, even though many of them will cause the loss of traffic lanes and parking spaces, something he had decried in the past.

“There will be a lot of parking spaces that will be removed and there’s a lot of controversy. But I think they’ve been very judicious, the MTA, in having public hearings and engaging the community. I like the idea of broad strokes implementation as opposed to project by project. I think, to our credit, the city has done a very good job at doing more outreach than we have in the past,” he said. “But until you actually do it, then in abstract terms people may be accepting of it, until their parking space is gone and they say what they heck is this. But I feel much more confident than I have in the past that we’ve done the appropriate amount of outreach.”

But he also left the door open to modifying the plan. “There will be changes. There will be good ideas that we all agreed to and then we’ll go, wow, this has had unintended consequences, we’ve got to pull back. That doesn’t mean you’re going to reduce necessarily the amount of bike lanes, but it just might be that bike lane that we do, based upon circumstances that we weren’t aware of that unveil.”


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5 Comments:

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another Fact Free blog post.

"Mayor Newsom has given the city's bike people everything they've asked for"

http://sf.streetsblog.org/2009/10/01/mayor-newsom-still-opposed-to-extending-parking-meter-hours/

"Mayor Gavin Newsom has been quietly pressuring MTA Chief Nat Ford to delay or prevent proposals to extend parking meter hours on weeknights and Sundays, despite a looming mid-year MTA budget deficit and studies that show it's good policy, Streetsblog has learned."

Though one could in theory claim that this is Newsom not giving the "MUNI People" what they asked for.

Cesar Chavez? The only bus line on Cesar Chavez is the 27, and it's rarer than a dodo bird. When the Transit Effectiveness project is fully implemented, the distance the 27 spends on CC will be cut in half, and the frequency cut in half as well. You probably don't know this because you've probably never been on that street since it was called Army St. Or did you even know that Army St. was renamed?

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You link a Streetsblog piece on extending the hours of parking meters, which of course you bike people support. Since it doesn't involve taking away street parking or traffic lanes, it's not clear what that has to do with my post about how Mayor Newsom has, until now, consistently supported pretty much everything the bike people want. He's clearly worried that the rest of the Bicycle Plan is going to create some political problems down the road, so to speak.

There are several projects in the Bicycle Plan that affect Cesar Chavez. According to the EIR, project 5-6 involving Cesar Chavez will cause "significant delays" to Muni lines #12 and #27.

 
At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with a cautious implementation of street changes. That's the way it should be done.

Caution, by itself, does not portend of any deep skepticism by the judge or the mayor. What else have you got?

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The judge's careful selection of projects he's allowing before the hearing next year shows that he understands what's at stake when he contemplates the EIR on the Bicycle Plan. Mayor Newsom's caution is political, since he's warning that he'll sound the retreat if bicycle "improvements" screw up city traffic so badly that it becomes a political problem.

There was no caution at all before and during the litigation, as the city and the bike people tried to illegally rush their radical plan to revamp city streets on behalf of a small minority of cyclists. Nice try, though.

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Start your protest engines - Newsom has removed parking spaces on Powell, and I certainly haven't seen an EIR...

 

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