Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jason Henderson: Big Thinker


A reader writes:

This Henderson guy is amazing, he just moved to SF and already is solving all its problems! Thank god he arrived just in time!

He came from New Orleans where he left them with the blueprint for post-Katrina development based on all the New Urbanist cliches: 
"Bus rapid transit, with priority bus lanes, signal priority, proof-of-payment and low-floor platforms would be constructed throughout the city. The city would also build a comprehensive network of bike lanes" etc, etc.

But his Big Vision is that "the balance of the New Orleans population (approximately 500-600,000) would relocate to Baton Rouge, Hammond, and Lafayette"!

(One wonders how this genius can stomach being relegated to teaching undergraduates at a second rate junior college when he has the vision for saving whole populations.) Will these relocation areas be called "re-education camps" or "reservations"? Will blacks and Mexicans get priority for all this wonderful new housing hundreds of miles away? Will there be no parking lots at the grocery stores because everyone will be walking, biking or taking BRT?

You can read his brilliance here: Saving New Orleans

Rob's comment:

Thanks for the link, Anon. Actually, Henderson has been here for several years. Oh yes, we're so lucky to have him and all the other "new urbanist" carpetbagging Big Thinkers to show San Francisco how to deal with its traffic: 

"the funding for the rebuilding of New Orleans, including densification of Baton Rouge, Hammond, and Lafayette, should be financed by a nation-wide 50-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline"

People must be punished/fined for driving motor vehicles to pay for this bullshit. Of course that tax will never happen, but Congestion Pricing in SF will be the ultimate trump card played by Henderson, the Bicycle Coalition and their enablers in PC City Hall. 

The SFCTA is working on Congestion Pricing now, and the Golden Gate Bridge system is a trial run for the system City Hall plans to install---for our own good! 

More importantly for City Hall, it will provide an endless flow of revenue to support the city's burgeoning bureaucracy, especially for the MTA, which already has more than 5,000 employees.

The main obstacle to Congestion Pricing is the people of San Francisco, who perversely oppose being charged to drive downtown in their own city.

City Hall will get around that by not allowing SF to vote on the issue, just like they did with the Bicycle Plan and the ongoing redesign of city streets on behalf of the 3.4% of city residents that ride bicycles.

Actually, it's worse than you think: Henderson teaches at SF State, not at a community college. SF State has evidently gone downhill since I went there. I've been reading his book, Street Fight, and will eventually deconstruct it chapter by chapter, which, as you can imagine, is a tedious task, given his clunky, pretentious prose. 

Henderson didn't like the original plan for the Haight/Stanyan Whole Foods because it had too much parking.

Henderson tried to rewrite the history of UC's ripoff of the Extension property on lower Haight street.

Henderson also opposes parking for all the new housing being built in the Market and Octavia neighborhood.

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9 Comments:

At 8:29 AM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

Hey, how are the anti-car policies doing with the BART strike? Have car owners ever gone on strike and refused to drive to work?

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Can anyone explain what this comment means?

 
At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy sound like another "true believer". If ever I chat with such folks they will never bother to entertain my thoughts about alternative means to solve problems....its their way or the "highway"...opps sorry for that.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

I made a timely comment on how vulnerable a population can be by relying greatly on one form of transportation or another and not having "excess" transportation capacity able to withstand unavailability of a major highway, subway, railway etc. Transit worker strikes happen all around the globe, so one should not be a shock. Today's problem is the policy of intentionally creating road transportation shortages to discourage people from using what they prefer and instead rely on rail or bicycles. The plan fails when a road or rail line goes out. This model is much like living paycheck to paycheck, creating nightmares when everything isn't to plan.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Your comment may have been timely, but it was so cryptic it was unintelligble.

Of course our transportation system is made up of a number of different "modes." What the BART strike shows is how fragile the whole system is if one of its most important pieces shuts down.

Another lesson: that BART must be governed by a mandatory arbitration system on its labor contracts. We can't allow a small minority to hold the whole Bay Area for ransom any more than we can allow a minority of Republicans to hold the whole country hostage for political reasons.

A final lesson: the BART strike shows how trivial as a transportation mode bicycles are in a regional context. We already know how insignificant they are for the city.

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

Timely NY Times article: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/how-safe-is-cycling-its-hard-to-say/?_r=1&

"...although there is a widespread perception that bicycling is becoming more popular, data from the National Sporting Goods Association show that the sport’s peak — as measured by the number of people who say they ride — was in 2005, when it reached 43.1 million Americans. Last year, the number was 39.3 million."

Bicycle sales are also down from 2005 levels, which never reached those in 1973.

Like the political arena exhibiting increased polarization and fanaticism, a tiny minority group of bicycle zealots are having disproportionate influence on transportation.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, and they and their enablers in City Hall are in the process of redesigning city streets on behalf of that small minority based on nothing but the hope that that will result in a lot more people riding bikes, thus taking pressure off Muni and mitigating city traffic.

 
At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Bicycle sales are also down from 2005 levels, which never reached those in 1973.

Unless we count the 100,000 bike share bikes being used by several people per day...

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

Are there actually 100,000 bike share bikes in the US? How many are added every year? That is insignificant compared to annual US bike sales, thus irrelevant. Bike share has revolutionized transportation about as much as Segways were supposed to!

 

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