Saturday, May 07, 2011

How dumb does Streetsblog think its readers are?


Pretty dumb, evidently. A man on foot was hit and killed by a drunk driver the other night on Masonic Avenue, and Streetsblog immediately enlisted the incident in the "fix" Masonic movement, as if jamming up traffic on that busy north/south city street will somehow prevent accidents caused by drunk drivers at 2:30 in the morning:

"It was the second death of a vulnerable road user on this stretch of Masonic Avenue in less than one year, and comes one week before a crucial engineering hearing on a long-awaited plan to upgrade the notorious traffic sewer. Last August, 22-year-old Nils Yannick Linke was riding his bicycle on Masonic Avenue near Turk when he was killed by 36-year-old Joshua Calder, who was driving a Mercedes-Benz after an evening a heavy drinking with his girlfriend."

Every busy street in San Francisco is dubbed "a traffic sewer" by the bike people. They hate it that Masonic carries more than 32,000 vehicles a day with few accidents. Yes, last year Nils Linke was riding a bike on Masonic when he was hit and killed late at night by a drunk driver. The anti-car, "fix Masonic" zealots quickly and shamelessly used that incident---which also had nothing to do with street design---in their cause. (Young Linke wasn't wearing a helmet, which is why he died of "blunt-force injuries to his head."):

"Advocates and some elected officials said Hudson’s death this morning was another harsh reminder that traffic calming efforts on Masonic Avenue are moving too slow, and that enforcement efforts by SFPD have been insufficient to change the behavior of motorists on a street that was designed for speed despite the 25mph limit. “I don’t know why it takes so long to fix streets that we know are dangerous,” said Elizabeth Stampe, the executive director of Walk San Francisco. “There shouldn’t be multiple deaths that occur in the same way and in the same places.”

The Streetsblog story doesn't quote any "elected officials"---why didn't they call Supervisor Mirkarimi?---but Stampe can be relied on to provide a stupid sound-bite to fit the party line. How exactly would Stampe "fix" city streets to foil drunk drivers at 2:30 in the morning?

Suspicious too that I've had problems recently commenting on Streetsblog. They claim that my earlier problems were due to their new comment system, but yesterday my comment spent a lot of time in cyber-limbo before it was posted---if it was posted---and all I can see now is a truncated version.[Later: It was all my fault! My old computer's server was apparently unable to communicate properly with Streetsblog]

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12 Comments:

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The drivers on Masonic have decided they can't follow the rules of the road by repeatedly driving drunk. If they wanted to keep the road a wide open speedway, maybe they should have been better drivers. As it is, I don't feel sorry for them.

 
At 3:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It's not a matter of feeling sorry for anyone, except the victim of the latest accident. It's only a matter of sensible traffic policy in the city.

More than 32,000 drivers a day who now use Masonic---and the more than 12,000 daily passengers on the #43 line---must be punished because a drunk driver killed a pedestrian on the street?

 
At 3:05 PM, Anonymous kenneth said...

Thanks for posting this. Even though I ride in SF a lot I keep finding myself more and more distanced from people who are supposed to be evangelists for biking (not that I wanted to get lumped in with them).

But as you've been continually point out a lot of their rhetoric is hot air that just can be distilled down to your 3rd paragraph. Keep up the good work.
-K

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I assume that many---perhaps most---cyclists in SF are like you, going about their lives and using their bikes without acting like jerks. You understand that the people who claim to be your leaders, whether on Streetsblog, at the SFBC, or in City Hall, are doing a lousy job. What they are doing is making all cyclists look like stupid jerks.

 
At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though I ride in SF a lot...

a.k.a. "bullshit alert"

More than 32,000 drivers a day who now use Masonic---and the more than 12,000 daily passengers on the #43 line---must be punished because a drunk driver killed a pedestrian on the street?

This logic is perfectly sensible in a world where "We need more bike lanes to make it safer to ride" is responded to with "Cyclists don't obey the law"

 
At 8:12 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

A straw man cobbled together with of bullshit. Who's response is that supposed to be? Please provide a single citation for this crybaby crap.

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even the oft-used (by the bike nazis) phrase "traffic sewer" is a bit ridiculous. I like the idea of a traffic sewer. Sewers are pretty efficient systems for transporting waste, and they rarely back up. I'd support keeping streets which work as efficiently as sewers exactly the way they are.

 
At 4:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Good point. It's meant to be derogatory, but I bet the folks who use the "traffic sewer" term would be very disappointed if, when they flushed the toilet, their shit came back up on their shoes.

What they really hate it any street in the city that works well for motor vehicles. Masonic now carries more than 32,000 vehicles a day, (see page 26 in this city Powerpoint presentation.) which is what they'd like to put a stop to, so to speak. Fell Street is next on the anti-car agenda, and, who knows?, maybe Gough and Franklin will be next. They want to turn San Francisco into Peking circa 1964, with everyone riding bikes.

But they hate the fact that people in China get cars as soon as they can afford them, just like Americans did in the last century.

 
At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good comments by Kenneth. I agree completely.

The minions over at streetsblog continue their rant against all streets, all cars and all traffic.

When will they learn that this is a CITY with cars that use streets to get around. And will continue that way. When will they get it?

Also, a little footnote. Some commentators today over at streetblog actually started complaining about TOO MANY PEOPLE at the Sunday Streets in the Mission and the cyclists had NO WHERE TO RIDE!!

Good grief! They cannot be satisfied with anything!

Hot air, and bullshit rhetoric.

 
At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, you sure seem to have Coprophilia. Everything is shit, or crap, or shit over flowing from toilets.

But hey, to each their own. Be a shame if someone did an EIR on your Coprophilia and prevented you from enjoying.

 
At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, I don't own a bicycle and haven't cycled in this city for over 25 years, but you don't need to be a bicycle zealot to understand that the streets here have become exponentially more dangerous in the past few decades.

As best as I can tell from reading your blog for the first time, you seem upset with Streetblog's virulently anti-car rhetoric, which you feel is short on facts.

Yet, you imply that Nils Linke death was caused by "not wearing a helmet", when the reality is that poor Nils was struck with such force by a drunk driver wielding a weapon of some several thousand pounds.

Seems like there is room on both sides of the argument for dialing down the hyperbole.

Would I like to see less cars on the road? Absolutely.

I've lived in SF my entire life and never owned a car, because it just isn't necessary.

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I "feel Streetsblog is short on facts" because that's obviously the case. Your comment is typically uninformed. Why don't you folks make any effort to inform yourselves? Am I the only one who reads the annual collision reports the city puts out? Go to the MTA's website,scroll down and click on "reports," and you will find them. Fatalities and accidents for everyone---motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists---have been trending steadily lower in SF for years.

Obviously the drunk driver was responsible for Linke's death, but he would have had a much better chance of surviving the accident if he'd been wearing a helmet. But even wearing a helmet is controversial among cyclists in SF, which only goes to show how far out of touch with reality they can be. The SFBC's Andy Thornley and Critical Mass founder Chris Carlsson don't wear helmets for some goofball reason or other. Studies show that more than 90% of cycling fatalities happen to people not wearing helmets.

 

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