Tuesday, July 30, 2013

C.W. Nevius's quest for the non-existent "middleground"

Photo by Luke Thomas for Fog City Journal

C.W. Nevius concludes in today's column (below in italics) that the latest MTA/Bicycle Coalition proposal for Polk Street is "a compromise," even though the Bicycle Coalition asked for everything and, and, with this version of the project, will get half of what they asked for. The small businesses and residents of Polk Gulch lose half their street parking on Polk Street, and in return they get bike lanes, some suburban landscaping, and other pseudo-"improvements" to the street.

Shilling for City Hall projects is not a new role for Nevius. He didn't like the litigation on the Bicycle Plan, which he knew nothing about, except what he learned talking to the Bicycle Coalition's Andy Thornley

Nevius sees himself as representing a middle path between extremes, but in practice he ends up supporting whatever City Hall wants. 

But on Polk Street it's City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition that are the extremists, as they relentlessly remodel neighborhood streets on behalf of a small, obnoxious minority against the interests of the overwhelming majority that uses city streets.

Nevius has a poor record in the last few years: wrong on Mirkarimi, wrong on Olague, wrong on the Americas Cup, wrong on Parkmerced, and wrong on the anti-Jihad ads on muni buses. He's hitting worse than the Giants.

The ongoing controversy over bike traffic along Polk Street will probably never be solved to the satisfaction of everyone. But there are signs of progress.

Polk is a primary north-south route to and from the Marina for cyclists, has a relatively gentle slope and isn't as clogged with high-speed traffic as nearby Van Ness. Bicyclists wanted two separated lanes on both sides of the street, but merchants complained that the plan would wipe out too much parking and kill business.

At present the plan---which is expected to be presented to the Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors in the fall---has a little bit for everyone. There is a separate bike lane on one side of a steep stretch between California and McAllister, with a raised "cycle track" on the other side of the street. That would mean removing almost all parking spots on one side of the street.

However, farther up, between California and Union, there would only be a painted bike lane on one side and shared lanes of bikes and cars on the other. That would retain most of the parking, although there would be a tow-away zone for a short time early in the morning. Cyclists don't think that plan goes far enough.

In other words, as an insider said, "Everybody's unhappy."

Perfect. Both sides get some of what they want and think the other camp is getting too much. It's called a compromise.

Labels: , , , , ,