Thursday, August 26, 2010

Newsom: "This is not the old days when it was about bikes versus cars"

Mayor Newsom spoke too soon. He assumed that once the injunction was lifted on the city's Bicycle Plan, the whole bike versus car thing would fade as an issue, while he would get green points for "democratizing" the streets of San Francisco. But the city's militant bike people will never be satisfied, because being anti-car is just as important to them as being pro-bike. Taking "space from cars" to make bike lanes is no longer enough to satisfy the bike people. Now they are moving on gas stations that provide fuel for cars and trucks, aka "death monsters." The Arco station at Divisadero and Fell is the new front line in the bike people's anti-car war, and the radical fringe of the bike movement is determined to close the station.

Streetsblog is where you go to monitor the radical fringe of the city's bike movement and learn that they are now using civil disobedience against the Arco station.

It's a little surprising to see David Baker, a member of the Bicycle Coalition's Board of Directors, supporting the lawbreakers. Baker even seems to think those arrested for blocking the entrance to the gas station are the real victims:

Anyone really wanting to gas up could go around the block and enter from Divisadero. Also the police seem to ignore the common sidewalk blocking by cars here, so it seems like a discriminatory action to arrest people but take no action to others violating the same law. Treatment of the protestors, handcuffed for hours, held in jail overnight, etc, seems out of proportion to the "crime." Pretty much groundless harassment.

Oh, the injustice! After being arrested they actually had to go to jail!

Karen points out the problem with closing the Fell Street entrance to the Arco station:

I'm a little disappointed there was no mention of what effect taking away the curb cut for the gas station on Fell Street might have on the 24 Divisadero bus, though. I've taken that bus about twice a week for a few years now, and can report that it already has some trouble getting through that stretch of Divis (at any reasonable speed). If all of the gas station customers were entering and exiting on Divis, I suspect the bus would often get stuck behind them.

Well, yes, but the bike people don't care about Muni in our supposedly transit first city. After all buses are "death machines," too. Let them ride bikes!

Baker compares the arrests at Arco with the protesters in the ADA movement: "FYI, I just learned that in 1977 the ADA (American Disabilities Act) was signed into law after a 29 day sit in by disabled advocates at the Federal HEW offices in SF. Hard to equate these two issues, but civil disobedience has had it's successes."

Yes, it is "hard to equate" the two movements, but Baker does it anyhow. The bike movement has also been compared to the Civil Rights movement, thus trivializing a great human rights movement and elevating a risky hobby to an unlikely moral and political level.

Supervisor Mirkarimi, who has dedicated his years on the Board of Supervisors to advancing the Bicycle Coalition's agenda, showed up at the demo to show his support, to the approval of the bike people. John C: "I appreciate Mirkarimi's approval of the protesters and his vow to improve Fell St. Can you imagine Bevan Dufty doing the same? Let's get Mirkarimi to run for mayor in the next election." Mirkarimi's support for this sort of thing is why he'll never be elected Mayor of San Francisco, not to mention his support for those who attack cops.

Joshua Hart, one of the leaders of the anti-Arco movement:

"The important thing is that we have a level direct route to the Panhandle," said Hart, who noted the green bike lanes were still being blocked by cars entering the station. "The green bike lane is a step forward, but it's not enough, it's still being blocked. It's still the same conflict."

So why not put the bike lane on the other side of Fell Street? Because then the bike militants couldn't blame the Arco station for blocking the bike lane, and don't forget: Arco is owned by BP.

Once the bike people have shut down the Arco station, Fran Taylor suggests the next target:

If the City ever starts addressing gas station hazards, I have another candidate for attention at the corner of South Van Ness and Cesar Chavez. This station is practically all driveway along both streets, where day laborers congregate and not far from a school, health clinic, and daycare center. For now, cyclists are less at risk than pedestrians, but both groups will be affected if bike traffic picks up when the Cesar Chavez lanes are striped.

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