Monday, June 17, 2013

More lies about bike projects


There's a story in this morning's Chronicle about the Grand Jury report on bikes in the city I wrote about recently. It's not clear that the reporter even read the report:

The spike in injuries has left cyclists wondering where to place blame. "My frustration is split 50-50 between motorists and other cyclists," said Heather Hunsinger, who commutes from the Mission to downtown by bike four or five times a week.

 
As I pointed out in my post, the Grand Jury report on page 25 actually reprinted page 24 of the latest 2010-2011 San Francisco Collisions Report that says that cyclists, by their own reckless behavior, are responsible for more than 50% of their own injury accidents. Obviously, that doesn't mean that the city should stop doing what it can to reduce cycling accidents---most of the Collisions Report in fact analyzes problems with specific intersections---but the story leaves the impression that we have only Heather's frustration to go on, that there's no information on why these accidents happen.
 
The story also says that the city is somehow dragging its feet and delaying shovel-ready bicycle projects:

"This city has a definite project delivery challenge," said Shahum. "Even when the political support is there, there seems to be a disconnect on project delivery." Supervisor Eric Mar, who reviewed the grand jury report, said he recognizes the need for safety improvements that could include things such as separated bike lanes, but said that the supervisors cannot do it alone. "My office is working with the MTA, the Bicycle Coalition and the Transportation Authority to identify and aggressively seek funding to get the projects delivered," he said. Supervisor David Chiu agreed that more cooperation is necessary. "It's entirely appropriate for us all to work together with all the agencies involved," he said. "We've all been calling for this, both publicly and privately, for a long time."

This is simply untrue. Note that no specific city department is named for not "cooperating," and no specific projects are identified that are being delayed because all the people quoted know that it's not true. Except for the Masonic Avenue project, there are no other proposed bike projects that I know of that include "separated bike lanes." Nor are there any city streets identified where separated bike lanes are even possible, since few city streets have enough space for that.

Shahum of course knows the notion that there's a bicycle "project delivery challenge" is a lie, but that's what representatives of special interest groups do for a living. Supervisors Mar and Chiu, alas, demonstrate that's also true of our elected officials.
 

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14 Comments:

At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who grew up in San Francisco, I find it interesting how someone like Leah Shahum can move to the city from Florida (I believe) and within a short time, start working on an agenda to change San Francisco into her idea of what the city should be.

Has she ever owned a business here? Has she ever tried to have a dialogue with business owners? Does she own property in San Francisco, or even live in the city for that matter?

When did Leah Shahum decide she knows best for the rest of us?

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

She had her life-changing epiphany at a Critical Mass demo. Yes, I first moved here in 1960, and I thought---still think---San Francisco is a great city, even without bike lanes. To deliberately make traffic worse in the city for more than 90% of the population on behalf of 3.4% seems nuts to me.

This bullshit about a City Hall that's been laggard in implementing bike projects is a straight-up lie, just another way Shahum can picture her special interest group as somehow neglected, victims of an indifferent city bureaucracy. The opposite is the truth, since City Hall has long given the Bicycle Coalition everything it's asked for, going back to Mayor Newsom.

What they're worried about is that their defeat at the battle of Polk Gulch is a bad precedent before the looming battle of Masonic Avenue, where they want to take away all the street parking---167 spaces---on Masonic between Fell and Geary to make bike lanes.

No, of course she has no sympathy with small businesses. She's trampled their interests on 17th Street, Ocean Avenue, Market Street, and---unsuccessfully so far---on Polk Street. Bikes uber alles!

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I should have mentioned the latest party line from City Hall, that somehow that the bad behavior on city streets is all the fault of the SF Police Department because it isn't enforcing traffic laws. But one of the main reasons cops hate to give cyclists tickets is that they get no support from the pro-bike City Hall when the bikeys complain loudly. After all, they aren't burning fossil fuel when they run stoplights and scatter pedestrians.

 
At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are no other proposed bike projects that I know of that include "separated bike lanes."

Market Street. Which was supposed to happen in 2015 and is now slated for 2019.

But I guess that's just a tiny, out of the way, useless street.

Cargo way includes separated bike lanes, that project was delayed. No matter how you categorize Fell/Oak, that project has not met the original timetable (once the project was shovel ready and the various legal challenges were no longer in play). Cesar Chavez - delayed. No, not because of the changes, once the project was finalized, it was late. Etc...

 
At 9:55 PM, Anonymous R Johnson said...

"As someone who grew up in San Francisco, I find it interesting how someone like Leah Shahum can move to the city from Florida (I believe) and within a short time, start working on an agenda to change San Francisco into her idea of what the city should be."

Because Harvey Milk was born and raised in San Francisco. Because Adolf Sutro and hell, Emperor Norton were from San Francisco. Oh no, wait. The idea that someone who isn't born and raised in SF can't have a major role in shaping the city is downright silly. I believe Leah was in SF for almost 9 years before she headed up the bike coalition. That's not "a short time working on an agenda to change San Francisco."

Even with all that, the bike coalition was indeed founded by and continues to be supported by native (born and raised) San Franciscans.

"Has she ever owned a business here?"

No, as long as a nonprofit doesn't count as a business.

"Has she ever tried to have a dialogue with business owners?"

I'd wager hundreds of times. I'm one of them.

"Does she own property in San Francisco, or even live in the city for that matter?"

I have no idea if she owns or not, but that's a pretty shady question to ask... She lives in SF, yes.

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The opposite is the truth, since City Hall has long given the Bicycle Coalition everything it's asked for, going back to Mayor Newsom."

And that's why we have 100 miles of continuous bikeways, like the bike coalition has been asking for since 1999. Oh wait, no, we don't at all. I believe 30 miles of theoretical approval is all the city has opted for, and that happened after 10 years of fighting, and still appears to be years out. That's less than 1/3 of what the bike coalition has been pushing for.

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

But the point is that the Chronicle story implies that the delay is caused by city departments, which is simply untrue. There's no agreement about what to do on Market Street, but the rest of the projects mentioned by the previous comment were delayed because instant gratification and installation of these projects is not possible.

Cesar Chavez has only been delayed because, once the street was dug up, PG&E and the PUC joined up to do their thing, etc. All these "timetables" are artificial in the first place, since no bureaucracy can move as fast as you bike nuts would like.

If the Bicycle Plan and these projects was on the ballot, they would all be rejected by city voters, which is why City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition will make sure that never happens.

Better push these projects through as fast as you can, Anon, since the Polk Street uprising may be the first of many.

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

Ms. Shahum also probably mostly associates with non-natives, as many non-natives tend to do. And probably associates with bicyclists, as many bicyclists tend to do. Which makes the blanket statements by her and the SFBC that all of their ideas have "overwhelming community" support, because they don't dare engage in conversation or polling with folks who may just not be happy with their ideas. Confirmation bias at its absolute worst.

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

A reminder to gutless Anonymous: You can't indulge in insults here unless you provide a name and an email address.

 
At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Confirmation bias" says the guy posting on Rob's anti-bike blog. Pot meet kettle.

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

The vast majority of SF residents are non-natives...

 
At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure if this is the right place to post this story, but the removal of parking and access for cars to streets continues. There is a plan being floated by the city called "Living Alleys" where almost all of the Alleys in central FiDi and SOMA are to be converted into pedestrian and bike passages with all street parking including commercial deliveries being prohibited from the alleys.
They first "community workshop" is July 9th.

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, you've come to the right place. City Hall is now redesigning city streets and neighborhoods as per the specifications of the Bicycle Coalition.

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This report puts the lie to the claims by Shahum and Mar that bike projects are being delayed. On the contrary.

 

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