Tuesday, November 19, 2013

City cyclist enlists in the bicycle war

Photo by betty x1138

A city cyclist's letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Dear Editors:

My best wishes to F. H. Buckley as he and his allies mobilize their defenses in Alexandria, Virginia's escalating "bicycle wars." As my city's recent history shows, the stakes are high.

Here in San Francisco the city will soon replace two traffic lanes and more than 150 parking spaces with segregated bike lanes on Masonic Avenue, an important through street which accommodates over 30,000 vehicles and more than 10,000 bus riders on a typical business day. All this for the few handfuls of cyclists that traverse the avenue during peak travel hours, according to the city's own figures. Like Mr. Buckley's King Street, Masonic is on a steep hill; even the project's advocates promise no substantial increase in bike traffic after the lanes are installed. Instead they have quoted exaggerated and irrelevant casualty statistics to portray a relatively safe street as a death alley in need of fixing. More than half of the project's $18 million cost, dear readers, will come from your federal tax dollars.

The "bicycle wars" ended here years ago when the city government adopted an omnibus bicycle master plan which promised the local bicycle coalition almost everything on its wish list. In 2010 the city's governing board of supervisors, in a remarkable act of neo-Stalinism, unanimously decreed that by 2020 20% of all trips shall be made by bicycle. The city's transportation agency, led by a man who boasts of having not owned a car in more than two decades, has treated the decree as nothing less than a diktat to be achieved no matter the cost to bus riders and motorists.

The local bicycle wars having concluded, residents and visitors to San Francisco are now dealing with the post-war occupation and the imposition of the new order by our collaborationist government. In a sign of hope, a small resistance movement, led by street-front merchants and neighborhood residents, has effected a reconsideration of a similar parking-to-bike lane project slated for commercial Polk Street. They must remain strong and vigilant. To the bicycle advocates, a bike lane denied is merely a bike lane delayed.

Regards,

Deane Hartley
8,000 mi/year bicyclist
San Francisco, CA

Citations for my facts:

The city's Masonic vehicle traffic counts (page 26, 27).

Funding for the Masonic Avenue Project$10 million of the $18 million cost comes from a "One Bay Area" grant, which is federally financed.



Car-free Ed Rieskin, director of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency.

Successful resistance to the Polk Street bike lane proposal.

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15 Comments:

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

Why we have a guy who is supposed to be for all citizens unabashedly elevating a tiny group and giving the finger to the rest speaks to the ridiculous fanaticism that's going on in SF politics.

 
At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing how the list of reasons the SaveMasonic lobbying group offers for reasons to oppose the bike lanes on Masonic are all reasons to build the bike lanes because more bike lanes means more people riding bikes and less vehicle traffic.

http://www.savemasonic.com/index.html

 
At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way Deane Hartley ends his note with "8,000 mile/year cyclist" reminds me of segregationists last century who would say "I know some black people". They even say this on their site: "Many of us are avid cyclists, and some commute to work on their bikes daily" as if their irrational fear is therefore justified.
Curious how many people in Savemasonic are white.

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Speaking of race and cyclists in SF, you should consult the city's Bicycling Study Report of 2011 on page 12:
"76% of those earning less than $70,000 per year never bicycle, compared to 56% of those earning over $70,000 per year...While 61% of whites say they never bicycle, so do 71% of Asians, 83% of African-Americans, and 75% of Hispanics."

And "Among San Francisco residents, 74% of women do not ride a bicycle at all (compared to 60% of men)."

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"It's amazing how the list of reasons the SaveMasonic lobbying group offers for reasons to oppose the bike lanes on Masonic are all reasons to build the bike lanes because more bike lanes means more people riding bikes and less vehicle traffic."

What's amazing is that City Hall is pushing this crackpot bike project even though Masonic now works well for more than 44,000 people every day. See the city's Masonic Avenue Redesign Study, pages 12 through 14, where we learn that Masonic now handles more than 32,000 vehicles a day and more than 12,000 people a day on the #43 Muni line.

Very few cyclists now use Masonic (page 12), and the city has no idea how many cyclists will use the street after the project is finished.

The city's claim about Masonic being unsafe is, according to their own numbers, a flat-out lie.

My favorite number (page 13) is about pedestrian safety:
"According to recent counts, the intersection of Masonic at Fulton Street has the highest volume of pedestrian traffic with an average of 1,013 people counted between 5-7 pm."

To the right of that sentence, under "Pedestrian Collisions," we learn that there's been only one pedestrian "collision" at that intersection for the years 2004-2009, a six-year period!

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of race and cyclists in SF, you should consult the city's Bicycling Study Report of 2011 on page 12:
"76% of those earning less than $70,000 per year never bicycle, compared to 56% of those earning over $70,000 per year...While 61% of whites say they never bicycle, so do 71% of Asians, 83% of African-Americans, and 75% of Hispanics."

And "Among San Francisco residents, 74% of women do not ride a bicycle at all (compared to 60% of men)."

_____

Why do you think those numbers are what they are?

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Because the bike fad is mainly about well-off white men.

 
At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have the race and income data for SF drivers?

 
At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because the bike fad is mainly about well-off white men."

1) "Fad". Not only has the bicycle been in San Francisco longer than motor vehicles, its rate of use is continuing to increase while car ownership is decreasing despite very few bike lanes being added in SF compared to other cities.

2) "Well-off white men." Amazing.

 
At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Gregski said...

Bicycling is a luxurious pastime and lifestyle. True, it would cost me $500/mo to own and drive a car for everyday purposes, compared to the few dollars per month in tires and depreciation it costs me to ride my bicycle.

But in order to live my self-propelled lifestyle I need to reside in an expensive coastal city like San Francisco, Brooklyn, Portland, Boston or in some elite college city like Ann Arbor, Austin or Madison.

So, I'm spending about $1,200/mo more for my housing, taxes and consumer prices than I would spend if I lived in, say, Plano, Texas or Manchester, New Hampshire, in order to save $500/mo in transportation expense.

I notice that it often seems like 50% of the cars that right-hook me across the bike lanes are Audis, BMWs and Priuses, cars that constitute only a tiny percentage of the fleet, nation-wide. But it really makes sense once I remember that, like it or not, utility cyclists like me run with the economically elite crowd on their (our) turf.

 
At 7:28 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

And "Among San Francisco residents, 74% of women do not ride a bicycle at all (compared to 60% of men)."

YOUR COMMENT ROB. YOURS.

All this blather about making changes for a tiny minority. Now you admit that 26 percent of women ride bicycles and 40 percent of men do.

 
At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deane Hartley
8,000 mi/year bicyclist

Spin class doesn't count, Deane.

 
At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob what is your plan to solve San Francisco's traffic problem we're the 3rd worst in the country: http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2012/05/22/san-francisco-ranks-no-3-in-the-nation-for-gridlock/

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

By some measures, the current bicycling fad is waning from the 2005 high, which in turn was below the previous fad in 1973. Recent mode shift has been fewer recreational cyclists and some more transportation riders. Asking people if they ride is as inaccurate as asking for example if they eat their vegetables. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/how-safe-is-cycling-its-hard-to-say/

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Recent mode shift has been fewer recreational cyclists"

Baloney. Paid entries to century events and triathlons is up by 5000% in the last decade.

 

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