Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is licensing bicyclists the answer?

This letter appears in today's SF Chronicle:

Scofflaws on bikes

Re: "Bicyclists ignore sidewalk sign" (Chronicle Watch, Aug. 24): Scofflaw bicyclists routinely ignore traffic laws, which they are obligated to follow. The California Vehicle Code forbids riding on sidewalks unless the bicyclists are 12 or younger. Sidewalk riding is not a legal option for adult bicyclists. San Francisco does not require registration and licensing of bicyclists. However, Berkeley, Santa Monica, Davis, Alameda and other California cities do. California law needs to be changed to require registration/licensing of bicycles and bicyclists so the pedestrian public can be protected. Let's start a state campaign to require bicycles and bicyclists to be tested, registered, insured and licensed and pay appropriate fees for this regulatory service.

The free ride is over.

FIONA McGREGOR
San Francisco

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Randy Shaw: NIMBY

Back in 2005, BeyondChron's editor, Randy Shaw, wrote a nice critique of the proposed highrises for Rincon Hill in San Francisco.

He now praises what he calls "Berkeley’s civic awakening," a successful initiative campaign by Berkeley progs to put a plan to overdevelop that town's downtown area on the ballot. Judging from the success these folks had in gathering the necessary signatures, it's entirely possible that the plan will be rejected by Berkeley's voters:

The campaign finally brought together the type of diverse coalition capable of defeating [Mayor]Bates, and could possibly only have emerged through a measure that specifically rejects an easy-to-reject plan. The prospect of highrise towers across Berkeley’s downtown appears to have awakened people (even I made sure to sign a petition!). The election will not occur until either June or November 2010, but it appears that many of those involved in the referendum plan will stay involved until the issue is decided.

Shaw has been mum on the highrise issue in SF ever since his political ally, Supervisor Chris Daly, announced his supposedly great victory for a progressive housing policy---giving the Rincon Hill highrises a green light in exchange for $58 million in development fees.

(It would be interesting to see an accounting of how much in development fees the city has earned so far from Rincon Hill and where the money went. Into the black hole of the Mayor's Office of Housing?)

Since then SF progressives have rolled over for the University of California by allowing that predatory mega-institution to rip off the old extension property on lower Haight Street for a massive housing development that will trash that state and national landmark. And they have pushed through the Market/Octavia Plan, which will bring 40-story highrises to the Market and Van Ness area.

Too bad Shaw and SF progressives can't see fit to bring together "a diverse coalition" to oppose overdevelopment and highrises on this side of the bay.

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