Tuesday, January 03, 2012

District 5 Diary's Year End Awards for 2011


Ed Lee: Liar of the Year

Most Implausible Cover Story of the Year: The District Attorney on why no charges were filed before the election against the cyclist who killed a pedestrian:
"According to[spokesman] Talai, the coroner's office didn't finish Cherney's autopsy report until Oct. 31st, which delayed the police department's investigation. Talai said that police gave the D.A.’s office a complete report on the incident on Nov. 9, the day after Gascon was elected to his first full term. Gascon's office made the decision to charge Ang the next day..."
Bullshit.

Good News Story Ignored: The increasing safety of city streets
Instead of celebrating this progress---and giving the MTA credit for a job well-done---the SF Chronicle publishes scare stories based on misinformation from the Bicycle Coalition and WalkSF. The latest SF Collisions Report with the numbers on accidents on city streets shows that our streets have been getting steadily safer for years.

Honorary Person of Color: Randy Shaw
White guy Randy Shaw apparently thinks people of color---especially people of Asian descent---make better political representatives than white people. Based on her performance so far, Supervisor Kim, one of Shaw's successful candidates, demonstrates that people of Asian descent aren't necessarily any smarter than, say, Randy Shaw.

The Most Bogus "Preservation" Fight: Prog Opposition to Richard Johns
According to city progs, being president of the Historical Society for years didn't qualify Johns for the Historical Preservation Commission. Progressives would have more credibility on preservation if for years they hadn't been supporting destructive development policies---"smart growth," highrise development, transit corridors, etc., including the Market/Octavia Plan, which failed to do a legally-required historical resources study of the project area until after the Board of Supervisors okayed the project's EIR.

The Vancouverization of SF: A Warning from Vancouver
John King and the Planning Department may be surprised to learn that highrise-dominated downtown Vancouver isn't universally admired in Vancouver itself.

Bogus Multiculturalism: Mirkarimi, Mayor Lee, and Japantown
Supervisor Mirkarimi and Mayor Lee tour Japantown with journalists to affirm that Japantown will be "preserved." According to the Japantown Task Force, only 10% of the residents of that neighborhood are of Japanese ancestry. But why should we preserve ethnic enclaves? Isn't assimilation what the United States is about? During that tour---really just a photo-op---Mirkarimi mentioned again the idea of eliminating the underpass at Geary and Fillmore, which in 2008 the Examiner accurately called "the worst idea of the year."

Democratic Party's Shame of the Year: Support for high-speed rail
Like William Grindley, as a Democrat I'm ashamed of my party for continuing to push a project that would be ruinous for California. Of course the unions are for it because even bad/dumb projects create jobs. Bay Area politicians---all Democrats---continue to support high-speed rail. California's high-speed rail project: Debra Saunders aptly called it the Democratic Party's Bridge to Nowhere.

Anti-CEQA alliance: Republicans, Developers, and Bicycle Coalition
The inevitable alliance of developers, Republicans, and bike fanatics to undermine environmental rules. These folks all have their own reasons for joining this alliance. The Bicycle Coalition finds itself in this dubious company because it's always been narrowly focused on pushing its agenda regardless of the consequences. 

Dumbest Development Project of the Year: Parkmerced
The Parkmerced project will add more than 15,000 new housing units to an already dense housing development near an already-congested traffic corridor. The supervisors who voted for the project will be retired before that part of the city is gridlocked with traffic generated by this long-term project.

Dumbest Project, Runner-up: Treasure Island
Treasure Island now has 2,300 residents. Think traffic on the Bay Bridge and in downtown San Francisco is bad now? Wait until this project adds 16,000 more residents to the island.

Elitists of the Year: LA's MOCA for its graffiti/tagging exhibition
What's a little surprising about LA's exhibit is that they beat SF MOMA to the punch, since this form of vandalism gets widespread approval among SF's political elite.

History Rewrite, Foreign Affairs: the SF Bay Guardian
We learn from the Guardian that War is Bad, especially wars involving the United States. Turns out that Osama Bin Laden wasn't in Afghanistan after all, and maybe the 9/11 fanatics weren't trained there, either, since the Guardian doesn't mention it. And the Guardian knew that Iraq didn't have any WMD, but for some reason the president didn't consult Brugmann, Redmond, and Jones before invading Iraq.

Best Execution of the Year: Osama Bin Laden
We finally got the bastard.

Worst City Legislator of the Year: Supervisor Scott Wiener
First Wiener proposes legislation allowing City Hall to tamper with initiatives passed by city voters, even though he couldn't provide a single example showing why that legislation was needed. Then, instead of an ordinance to ban public nudity, he proposed legislation to require the Castro's nudists to put napkins on public seating before they sit down.

Grand Jury Award to C.W. Nevius
For failing to criticize a single important city policy or project in 2011.

C.W. Nevius Award to the Grand Jury
For its report on the Parkmerced project that fails to challenge this dumb project for its inevitable impact on city traffic. The Grand Jury is probably reluctant to challenge City Hall's traffic policies because it would then have to criticize other important city projects, not only Parkmerced but Treasure Island, the Market/Octavia Plan, and UC's massive housing project on lower Haight Street. The Grand Jury couldn't bring itself to criticize how the city handled the Bicycle Plan, but it did do a good job on the shortcomings of the Central Subway project, though it provided a pathetic pre-emptive roll-over on the first page: "The project will proceed." If the project is so poorly designed and such a drain on the city's transportation revenue---which it clearly is---why not call for it to be stopped? Because that might have made some members of the City Family cross.  

Best Exposure of a Lie by a City Department:
MTA's collisions report showing that the Masonic/Fell Intersection is not particularly unsafe. On page 16 we learn that the number of accidents at that intersection have been remarkably consistent over the last ten years. Too bad Judge Busch didn't see those numbers before he lifted the injunction to allow the city to redesign that intersection. Turns out that the City---led by City Attorney Dennis Herrera---lied to Busch to pander to the Bicycle Coalition, since Herrera didn't want to antagonize the city's bike people before he ran for mayor.

MTA's Lie of the Year: Covering windows with ads doesn't obstruct views of the city
That this is a lie is obvious to anyone who rides Muni. The question is, Why does MTA have such contempt for its passengers in our supposedly transit-first city?

Suspicions Confirmed: the Demographics of Cycling in SF
Most cyclists in SF are young, white, transient, and 72% are guys.

Suspicions Confirmed, Runner-up:
People drive to work because it's a lot faster than public transportation, which isn't available for most commuters anyhow: the Brookings Institution and the Census Bureau.

A Trifecta for City Firefighters: Bullies, Crybabies, and Scammers
The union leaders bullied Jeff Adachi when he attended a funeral for firemen killed on duty and whined about pension reform, even though in 2010 the Grand Jury revealed that firemen are the worst gamers of the city's retirement system.

The Unlikeliest Claim of the Year: SPUR's Metcalf is a dissident!
Still waiting to learn about a single important city issue that Gabriel Metcalf has dissented on.

Worst Appointment of the Year: Bike Guy in Charge of screwing up Masonic
Screwing up traffic on Masonic Avenue on behalf of the city's bike people is a terrible idea, but I suppose it's appropriate that a bike guy be put in charge of the project, since he and his comrades will be its primary beneficiaries.

Liar of the Year: Ed Lee

Congratulations to the folks at Save Muni for their consistent, principled, and well-informed opposition to the Central Subway.

Worst Promotion of the Year: Ed Reiskin
The City That Knows How puts someone who wants to slow down city traffic in charge of our transportation system.

Lemmings of the Year: The candidates for mayor
They all pandered shamelessly to the Bicycle Coalition.

Better Late Than Never Award:
Dennis Herrera, Jake McGoldrick, Tom Radulovich, Jeff Adachi, and Aaron Peskin for their belated opposition to the Cenral Subway project.

Not Better Late Than Never Award: Michelle Alioto-Pier
Asked about the impact of the Market/Octavia Plan on transit---which, as a supervisor, she voted for---Alioto-Pier's answer: “I would certainly like to know before we start some of these larger projects that we have an idea of how we’re going to get people to and from them...We didn’t pay as much attention to the types of impacts on our neighborhoods and our communities as perhaps was needed.”

Identity Politics Award: City Hall for UC's massive housing development 
For allowing identity politics to trump the interests of the people of SF. UC played the gay card by including housing for gay seniors in the UC Extension project, even though UC had the property tax-free from the city for more than 50 years only because of its education "mission." City Hall---with Supervisor Mirkarimi leading the way---has now allowed UC to privatize that property to fatten its bottom line with the gay housing as a PC figleaf for betraying the interests of the people of San Francisco. An individual award to Ross Mirkarimi, who talked tough when UC first proposed this bad project, but of course he eventually rolled over.

Admission of the Year: Dennis Herrera
After years of misguided, expensive litigation on the city's Bicycle Plan, City Attorney Herrera told bike guy John Murphy that in the beginning he advised the city to do an EIR on the Plan: "He said that he had told the City to do an EIR, but they were so anxious to get the thing started that they took the shortcut."

Child Endangerment Award: Bicycle Coalition and City Hall
Even though experts agree that riding bikes is dangerous for children, especially the risk of head injury, City Hall joins the Bicycle Coalition in trying to get more children riding bikes in San Francisco. (How will the new state car seat regulations for children impact the parents who put their children in those canvas trailers and haul them around in traffic with their bikes? Not at all, I bet, since for bike zealots everything---even their children---is an accessory to their risky hobby.)

Most Deceptive Ballot Statement: City Auditor on the Street Bond
Compare the forthright statement by the Legislative Analyst in the 2008 voter's guide on the cost to taxpayers of high-speed rail bonds ("State costs of about $19.4 billion, assuming 30 years to pay off both principal ($9.95 billion) and interest ($9.5 billion) costs of the bonds. Payments of about $647 million per year," page 4) to the SF Auditor's murky, unhelpful statement (page 41) on the street bond in last November's voter's guide.

Worst Deal of the Year for City Taxpayers: the Street Bond
The $248 million street bond passed by city voters last November will end up costing city taxpayers $437,249,617 after the interest is included.

Ranked Choice Voting: Another Progressive Fiasco
Ranked-Choice Voting is another "good government" progressive idea that only confuses voters and needlessly complicates election results.

Masochistic Political Party of the Year: SF Green Party
The Green Party endorsed Supervisor Mirkarimi for sheriff even though he dumped them when being a Democrat became fashionable again in San Francisco. The Murk finally understood that being a left-wing Green wouldn't help him get elected to citywide office.

Dead Man Walking Award: California's High-Speed Rail project

Drop in the Bucket Award: Bicycle Coalition's Leah Shahum
Shahum thought that $225 million to put a bike/pedestrian path on the west span of the Bay Bridge was "a drop in the bucket," and she's unfazed by the latest $550 million estimate for that project.

Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry: Ross Mirkarimi
Since 2004 Mirkarimi has represented District 5 on the Board of Supervisors, where he's also represented the worst in San Francisco progressivism, consistently voting for projects that will damage the city for years to come.

Playing the Race Card Award: Rose Pak
Pak played the race card against Aaron Peskin and Dennis Herrera after they came out against the Central Subway, the political deal disguised as a transportation project. Why else would they not support such a great project?

Bike Demagogue of the Year: blogger Michael Helquist
Helquist provided his readers with a steady stream of misinformation on Masonic Avenue and, as a bonus, threw in some bullshit on the makeover of Divisadero.

2005 Awards

2006 Awards

2007 Awards

2008 Awards

2009 Awards

2010 Awards

Labels:

27 Comments:

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Turns out that the City---led by City Attorney Dennis Herrera---lied to Busch to pander to the Bicycle Coalition, since Herrera didn't want to antagonize the city's bike people before he ran for mayor."

4 years in advance, risking the project, to run for mayor. How's that tin-foil hat treating you, Rob?

 
At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MTA's collisions report showing that the Masonic/Fell Intersection is not particularly unsafe. On page 16 we learn that the number of accidents at that intersection have been remarkably consistent over the last ten years.

Once again, this implies that the only qualification for safety is "It's not getting worse". By that measure, Baghdad is a pretty damn safe place to be since the casualties there have stayed pretty consistent over the years. Consistently high.

Busch correctly agreed that the absolute levels of collisions at that intersection are higher than they should be.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"4 years in advance, risking the project, to run for mayor."

You mean Herrera didn't know he was going to run for mayor until after the litigation the Bicycle Plan? He tried to lift the injunction three times while the city was working on the EIR on the Bicycle Plan. The argument in the city's briefs: there was an ongoing safety emergency on city streets that had to be addressed before the EIR was completed, which was a lie. Nothing but pure political pandering to the bike people by Herrera.

"Busch correctly agreed that the absolute levels of collisions at that intersection are higher than they should be."

"Higher" than what? For a street that carries more than 32,000 cars a day, an average of six injury accidents a year is remarkably few.

 
At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Higher" than what? For a street that carries more than 32,000 cars a day, an average of six injury accidents a year is remarkably few.

Higher than Judge Busch believed they should be. QED.

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Busch made no such calculation, and neither did the city.

If the Fell/Masonic intersection is so bad, why didn't the city include it in its annual list of "Highest Injury Collision Total Intersections" in its collision reports of 2006, 2007, 2008,and 2009? On page 16 of the current collision report, we have this sentence: "Collision Trend: This location has had a stable pattern since 2006 of 6 to 5 reported intersection collisions a year."

 
At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly Rob knows what Busch was thinking and CLEARLY it was "let's make it so bikes rule all!".

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The collisions referred to are not only between cyclists and motor vehicles, but all injury collisions, including between motor vehicles.

I don't know what Judge Busch was thinking, but i know what the city was saying in its briefs---the city tried three times to lift the injunction before the EIR was completed---and it claimed that there was a safety emergency at Fell and Masonic that had to be addressed right away.

Judge Busch gave the city the benefit of the doubt and allowed it to redesign the intersection, with the left-turn lane and changing the light sequence so that cyclists and pedestrians didn't share the green light with vehicles turning left onto Masonic from Fell Street.

But it's now clear that, based on the city's own numbers, that the number of accidents there has been steady, and there was no emergency when the city asked the judge to lift the injunction to allow it to redesign that intersection to deal with the non-existent emergency.

 
At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simple question: Red light camera at fell/masonic.

1) Good
2) Bad

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Do these cameras even work in reducing accidents? If not it's just another way for the city to raise money from motorists.

 
At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Your Neighbor said...

Anyone who has crossed Masonic from the Panhandle at Fell as either a pedestrian or a cyclist knows how dangerous it can be, or at least how it can seem; "dangerous" can be a measure of how unsafe people feel, not just how statistically likely they are to be hurt. It's no different than when people make judgements about which neighborhoods, blocks, or sides of the street to avoid when they're walking alone at night—except, of course, that cyclists very few (desirable) alternative routes for getting through the Panhandle.

And anyone who has walked or ridden through that intersection since the dedicated signal was installed can attest to how much safer it feels. I don't know why you think that advocates got away with something here. What would their motive have been in getting the new signal installed? To "screw up traffic"? Because if that was their goal, then they appear to have failed miserably.

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The SFBC got City Hall to redesign that intersection after years-long campaign whipping up hysteria about how allegedly dangerous that intersection was. With a quick search of the SFBC's website, I came up with this 2005 site, which says the campaign on Fell/Masonic went back ten years before that, which would put it back to 1995.

The point is, as the city's own numbers show, the number of accidents at that intersection have been remarkably consistent for years. In short the whole campaign was flim-flam and politically-motivated. To keep the pressure on City Hall to implement the Bicycle Plan and the rest of its agenda, the SFBC has created a myth about how dangerous city streets are, though the facts show the opposite is the case: the streets of SF have been getting steadily safer for years.

The city bought into that disinformation campaign when it got Judge Busch to lift the injunction, based on nothing but claims of a safety emergency, to allow it to install the new left-turn lane and the new traffic light. Judge Busch was snookered into allowing the changes.

 
At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Your Neighbor said...

I don't care about the SFBC or their "campaign of hysteria"; I'm speaking as a human being who has walked, run and biked through that intersection literally thousands of times before the signal was changed, and I can tell you that it now feels much safer. As a cyclist I had numerous close calls with drivers who failed (or just refused) to yield on the left turn.

I am thankful for the new signal because it allows me to pay better attention to the people on the path, rather than looking hurriedly over my shoulder several times to make sure there aren't any drivers flying around the corner from Fell Street.

I still don't understand what you think the SFBC or the city got away with here, though, because you didn't really respond to my comment at all. What do you think their motive was in getting the signal changed? If it was, in fact, to make the intersection safer, then it's impossible to say whether they were successful until they release the collision numbers for 2010 and 2011; and if you really wanted to know whether it's had an impact you would need to wait a couple of years for everyone to get used to it before declaring it a success or a failure.

Or are you suggesting that the light be changed back?

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You're apparently one of those "human beings" that are intellectually defective. Not sure I can break it down any simpler, but here goes: After a campaign about a completely bogus safety emergency that lasted for years, the SFBC and City Hall finally remodeled the Fell/Masonic intersection in 2008. According to the city's collision report, there were six accidents there in 2009, the first full year with the redesigned intersection, which happens to be the ten-year average for that intersection. Got it?

No, there's no point in changing the intersection back, since it makes no difference either way. Actually, I think the left-turn lane is a good idea, as is not having motorists turning left sharing the same green light as pedestrians and cyclists.

But many people, cyclists and motorists, still rush to beat traffic lights, whether or not that light is shaped like a bicycle.

 
At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I think the left-turn lane is a good idea, as is not having motorists turning left sharing the same green light as pedestrians and cyclists.

So you like it, but you bitch about it anyway?

I'm starting to think you're really just a computer programmed troll.

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And you're just an asshole who never reads the post he comments on. It's not what they did; it's how they did it, using a bogus safety emergency to justify it.

 
At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Your Neighbor said...

What a misanthrope! So people have to get run over in order to justify the installation of a priority signal?

You're really just a conspiracy theorist. You claim that the D.A. delayed filing charges against the cyclist who killed a pedestrian, but you provide zero evidence of pressure from a single cyclist or advocacy group that would've provided a motive for doing so. You have absolutely no logical reason to believe that filing charges against a reckless cyclist would have endangered Gascón's election.

Then you cite the "increasing safety of city streets" and cherry pick stats from the city's collision report as if the collision totals told the whole story. But it's hard to say that things are getting much better based on Figure 2, "Fatal Collision Totals (1999-2009)", which shows that 2007 had the 2nd highest rate in 10 years. Or when you look at Table 4, "2009 Highest Injury Collision Total Intersections", which shows that the number of injury collisions at some of the city's most dangerous intersections was up at all but one by between 66% and 500%. Likewise, Figure 16, "Injury Collisions Involving Bicyclists", shows an upward trend in bicycle collisions. Figure 21, "Injury Collisions, Parties Ages 65 and Older" also demonstrates a spike in 2007 that defies the slow downward trend since 2000.

And of course you refuse to admit that any of the gains made in safety are the result of the decrease in driving (as a result of the financial downturn), an increasing presence of cyclists (which gradually improves the attention spans of everyone on the road), or any of the myriad "improvements" that MTA has implemented at the behest of the evil bike/ped/anti-car lobby.

Then you have the nerve to suggest that the city schemed to redesign an intersection that didn't need it ("it makes no difference either way") while simultaneously admitting that it's actually a pretty good idea. And you call me "intellectually defective"? Pot, kettle, black.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This is pretty stupid stuff, Neighbor.

"So people have to get run over in order to justify the installation of a priority signal?"

An intersection should be demonstrably dangerous to justify the campaign of hysteria about Fell and Masonic by the Bicycle Coalition. As the numbers show on page 16---good to see you finally actually looked at the report---that campaign of fear and misinformation was never justified. It was simply part of the larger, bogus safety hysteria fostered by the SFBC and SFWalk to justify still more anti-car policies by City Hall.

It's obvious to everyone but you why Gascon wouldn't want to antagonize the city's bike people before the election. The story about getting the report late from the coroner simply isn't credible.

You accuse me of "cherry picking," before doing that yourself by picking out 2007 from Figure 2 on page 5, even though that table shows a steady decrease in fatal collisions since 1999, with spikes in 2007 and 2003.

But you ignore Figure 1 on page 4, which shows a dramatic decrease in non-fatal injury collisions since 1999: there were 4,304 injury collisions in 1999 and 2,877 in 2009. "In general, injury collisions are a more reliable indicator of collision trends because fatal collisions, being fewer in number, are subject to sharper fluctuations from year to year."

You single out Table 4 on page 8 to conclude---what? That city streets are not getting safer overall? But Table 4 lists the intersections in SF that have the highest injury collisions, which means that they are not typical city intersections. You fail to quote this sentence above Table 4: "As documented in previous annual reports, the number of intersections with double digit annual injury collisions has decreased, thanks in part to San Francisco's targeted safety efforts."

In other words, that list simply shows the worst intersections that the city is now focusing on to make them safer, which is what they've done in past years with other intersections.

On Figure 16, you fail to cite the reason the report provides to explain why injury collisions involving cyclists have increased: "This increase in collisions has coincided with a statistically significant increase in the number of bicyclists riding on various city streets, as measured by annual counts taken by the SFMTA..."

And, according to the Executive Summary of the latest Bicycle Collision Report, cyclists are responsible for half their own injury accidents: "Of the 312 bicycle injury collisions in 2008 where fault was assigned, 49 percent of the time fault was assigned to a motorist, and 50 percent of the time fault was
assigned to the cyclist."

And on Figure 41 you cite the "spike in 2007," but by definition that year was an outlier in a steady downward trend in injuries.

I know of no evidence that there's been a decrease in driving in SF. The number of registered motor vehicles in SF has increased in the last ten years. Nor does the collision report cite any such decrease for the increased safety on our streets. On the contrary, the increased safety is evidently due to the city's concentration on streets and intersections with the most accidents to make them safer, either by design changes or traffic light changes.

Yes, the evidence shows that the city, at the behest of the Bicycle Coalition, made the changes to Fell and Masonic only because of political pressure, not because that intersection was any more dangerous than many others in the city. The numbers in this collision report on page 16 bear that out.

The left-turn lane and the new traffic light seem like sensible changes at that intersection, but, as I pointed out, in the first full year of the changes the number of accidents was the same as previous years. So, yes, apparently the changes made no difference.

 
At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know of no evidence that there's been a decrease in driving in SF.

Bullshit. Yes you do.

You yourself posted stats that showed a decrease in people driving alone to work, a decrease in people carpooling to work. The vast majority of transport is going to work and back.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Commuting is only a subset of the overall transporation system. You'd have to have traffic counts on city streets to verify that people in general are driving less in SF.

 
At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Commuting is only a subset of the overall transporation system. You'd have to have traffic counts on city streets to verify that people in general are driving less in SF."

Applies to driving, but not to cycling? You ALWAYS cite low commuter count gains to show that no one new is cycling.

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No, I don't. Typical falsehood. At least you didn't put it in quotation marks. But the rise in cycling in the city really is insignificant in the context of the city's transportation system. Look at the latest Transportation Fact Sheet, and you find that commuting by bike has gained only 1.9% in ten years, which isn't very impressive even as a subset of city transportation as a whole.

 
At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Commuting is only a subset of the overall transporation system.

It is the dominant majority of the transportation system.

 
At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"commuting by bike has gained only 1.9% in ten years"

"Commuting is only a subset of the overall transporation system. You'd have to have traffic counts on city streets to verify that people in general are driving less in SF."

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Speaking of traffic counts, where's the latest bicycle count? It was done last August, and we still don't have the city's report. Whether considered as commuting or as part of the overall transportation system, only City Hall and you bike nuts think cycling is a significant means of transportation.

 
At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Your Neighbor said...

Try quantifying how "significant" even a 1.9% increase in cycling is and get back to us. VTI's study is a good place to start, e.g.:

In Portland: "This analysis indicates that by 2040, [bicycling] investments in the range of $138 to $605 million will result in health care cost savings of $388 to $594 million, fuel savings of $143 to $218 million, and savings in value of statistical lives of $7 to $12 billion."

In Wisconsin: "[T]he economic value of bicycling in the state of Wisconsin, including economic activity from bicycle manufacturing and sales ($593 million), tourism and recreational value ($924 million), health benefits of increased physical activity ($320 million) and pollution emission reductions ($90 million). Total estimated benefits average about $360 per resident."

It's not hard to imagine that the benefits in San Francisco would be much higher than Wisconsin, given the high density and more dramatic effects of, for instance, traffic congestion. I plugged some relatively conservative figures (including the 2009 and 2010 census/ACS ridership stats) into the WHO's Health Economic Assessment Tool and arrived at the following for an increase of 3,841 people riding an average of 45 minutes, 124 days per year, and a $6.9m VSL:

"The reported level of cycling in both your pre and post data gives a reduced risk of mortality of: 25%, compared to individuals who do not regularly cycle.

Based on a 5 year build up for benefits, a 1 year build up for uptake of cycling, and an assessment period of 10 years:

the average annual benefit, averaged over 10 years is: $32.4m
the total benefits accumulated over 10 years are: $324m
the maximum annual benefit reached by this level of cycling, per year, is: $43.5m
This level of benefit is realised in year 7 when both health benefits and uptake of cycling have reached the maximum levels.
When future benefits are discounted by 5% per year:
the current value of the average annual benefit, averaged across 10 years is: $23.6m
the current value of the total benefits accumulated over 10 years is: $236m"

And that's just based on the "value of statistical life", which is a pretty poor unit of value measurement for anyone but the most heartless economist. Or a jealous misanthrope who denies the "significance" of even a couple thousand people who decide to make a dramatic change in their lives by biking to work.

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You can get similar health benefits by taking a brisk walk every day. There's still no excuse for making city traffic worse than it has to be based on the fantasy assumption that that will persuade people to turn en masse to riding bikes.

 
At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Your Neighbor said...

That's actually not true–you simply can't get the level of cardiac exercise walking as you can cycling–and ignores the fact that taking a "brisk walk" doesn't preclude driving to work, which costs the individual and society time, money, and both physical and mental health. Why don't you run the walking figures through the WHO tool and see if an increase in walking has the same economic benefit?

 

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