Monday, August 03, 2009

To the supervisors: "This is nutty stuff. Don't do it."

Hi Rob:

As the subject line would suggest, I'm doing a story for the SF Appeal ahead of tomorrow's hearing. I know we've discussed this multiple times, and your opinion on the bike plan is hardly secret, but I wanted to get in touch with you and see if you planned to attend and what you plan to say. And, if the plan sails through the BOS as expected, what you plan to do next. I also wanted to see if you'd given any thought to what I asked you earlier---if a revised bike plan in some form would please you, the hallowed, holy "middle ground." That's it. Let me know if you want to participate in the article.

Thanks,
Chris Roberts
 
Chris:

I want to attend the hearing, but since I'm caretaker for my 93-year-old mother, it's hard for me to take a big block of time to do that sort of thing. I just don't know if I can attend. And of course all the usual bike assholes will be there to comment, which will take up a lot of time. Planning will surely make a long, boring presentation of material that most people are already familiar with. They often literally read documents that are already in the public domain.

Once the supervisors certify the EIR, the city will return to Judge Busch's court to get him to certify it. We will contest that, and both sides will file briefs on the issue of the adequacy of the EIR. It will be up to him to make the final call.

As I've said before, I think it's bad public policy to take away traffic lanes and street parking on busy streets to make bike lanes. There are of course some streets that the EIR claims can be converted without any negative impacts on traffic, but the problem is that we can't trust the city to make these judgments, since it is now in the hands of the bike nuts. Planning lied about the Bicycle Plan in 2005, and the City Attorney lied in its paperwork during the litigation. Many of the people who work in MTA and Planning are bike nuts themselves.
 
I would say something like this to the supervisors:

"Both the Planning Dept. and the City Attorney lied four years ago when they told you that the Bicycle Plan only needed a 'general rule exemption' under CEQA, since that designation is reserved only for projects that can't possibly have any effect on the environment. They knew the GRE designation was untrue, but they simply figured the city could get away with it, whisk the Plan through the process and save a lot of money for the city by not having to follow the law and do an EIR. But---as we tried to warn you at the time---the litigation ended up costing the city a lot more, didn't it? Just as important, Planning and the City Attorney also knew that that's what you folks wanted to hear. The advice city departments give to you is often tainted by political considerations, as I'm sure you know.
 
Planning and the City Attorney are lying to you again about this EIR, which is inadequate on so many levels I don't have time to enumerate them. We have submitted a comment today that goes into more detail on the shortcomings of the EIR.

As elected officials you must know that if the Bicycle Plan was put before the city's voters it would probably be voted down. The whole bicycle delusion is an elitist, very aggressive political movement of a minority of city residents who want to redesign city streets in their interests at the expense of the overwhelming majority of city residents who don't ride bicycles.

You must be aware of the political dangers of implementing this Plan. If you screw up traffic on behalf of an unpopular minority of cyclists, you could get a lot of negative feedback from everyone else who uses city streets, especially since the EIR tells us, as we predicted years ago, that the Plan is going to make traffic worse all over the city. And, just as important, it's going to make it worse for a number of Muni lines, a system that already has serious ontime problems. You can't take away traffic lanes on busy streets without degrading Muni service, since Muni has to use the same streets as everyone else. This is nutty stuff. Don't do it."

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