Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Transit First or Bicycles First?

Photo from Streetsblog

A letter to the editor in yesterday's SF Examiner:


No more cash for SFMTA

Mayor Ed Lee is a skilled politician and he apparently hopes voters will forget why San Francisco needs a $500 million transit bond in the first place.

San Francisco voters voted for “transit first” and instead got “bicycles first.” The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency thought it important to request and obtain a $400 million federal grant to make San Francisco safer for bicyclists---who are only about 3.4 percent of commuters.

Also, the SFMTA and several generations of mayors accepted federal funding for the Central Subway, which requires matching funds by The City. Meanwhile, public transit and road maintenance are deferred. Then voters are asked to vote for a transit bond that appears to be in control of the same interests who contributed to the transit debacle in the first place.

Lee lost on the 8 Washington St. proposal (Propositions B and C). Maybe the mayor needs to lose on the transit bonds issue until transparency and accountability are introduced into city government and transit policy and practice.

Fiona McGregor
San Francisco

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13 Comments:

At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going to the wiggle meeting tonight Rob? I'm sure everyone's looking forward to your input.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

Just read something similar, that the Prop B street repaving bond that voters passed is not being used for street repaving. Large portions of the money from the bond is going to pedestrian bulbouts which greatly reduce the Level of Service wherever they are. So we drivers (the majority in SF) voted and paid for the roads to be fixed, but instead we got them slowed. And for as much as we paid, how many of the crappy streets have been repaved? A handful here and there, but most of them are still screwed up.

 
At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, for one, am glad that Rob continues to bring forth many of these issues re: cycling, streets and cars.

Others don't have to agree with him, but it's disgusting how many of you opponents continue to use vile language and verbal bullying. You add nothing to the conversation this way.

There are many many good citizens here in SF who believe the city has spent way too much money on JUST new bike infrastructure at the expense of roads, drivers and pedestrians.

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You're referring to the "Road Repaving and Street Safety Bonds" city voters passed in 2011.

The bonds were advertised as being for "repaving," but City Hall drafts these propositions like they did the City Charter's definition of "transit first" so that they're elastic enough to allow them to do whatever they want with this money.

From the voters handbook on Prop. B:
"If you vote yes, you want the City to issue $248 million in general obligation bonds to repave streets; seismically upgrade bridges, tunnels, and stairways; improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists; upgrade traffic signals;and improve sidewalk access and safety."

In the voters guide, this prefaced with "The Mayor and the Board of Supervisors would approve the final list of projects." That is, City Hall can spend this money anyway they want.

Proposition K back in 2003 (Sales Tax for Transportation), money administered by the SFCTA, was another blank check for City Hall:
"Maintenance of local streets; Transportation for the elderly and disabled; Construction of a Central Subway; Upgrades to the bus system, including new buses, stations and dedicated lanes; a Caltrain extension to a new Transbay Terminal; Projects to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety; Support for regional transportation systems (BART, Caltrain, and ferries); and Replacing the roadway to Golden Gate Bridge (Doyle Drive)."

This laundry list is prefaced with this: "The Transportation Authority could modify the plan if voters approved. The sales tax would continue as long as the new or modified plan is in effect."

The Board of Supervisors sits as the governing body of the SFCTA, so this means that they can use the money any way they want. "Maintenance of local streets" is at the top of the list, but obviously little of this money is used to pave our streets, which are among the worst in the country.

 
At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bicycles first.

 
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read something similar, that the Prop B street repaving bond that voters passed is not being used for street repaving.

No kidding. a lot of the money is being used for those nonsensical yellow plastic areas that are put at the edges of crosswalks. These are for blind people apparently but how many blind people are there, really? Who cares.

 
At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency thought it important to request and obtain a $400 million federal grant to make San Francisco safer for bicyclists---who are only about 3.4 percent of commuters.

No way in hell did the city get a $400 million grant for cyclists. How does the Examiner print such fact free bullshit. It's one thing when Rob lies on his blog but this is an actual edited paper.

 
At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"transparency" -- lol please tell us what exactly is being hidden.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"No way in hell did the city get a $400 million grant for cyclists. How does the Examiner print such fact free bullshit. It's one thing when Rob lies on his blog but this is an actual edited paper."

This post is a letter to the editor, not an article or op-ed in the "edited" Examiner. Please cite an example of my "lies" on this blog.

 
At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's irresponsible for the Ex to post a letter to the editor with an easily debunkable lie.

You posted that the city was going to make a park out of the ARCO station.

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The Arco station post was a message from someone else, with some comments from me. If it was a hoax, it had a plausible premise, since you bike assholes hate that Arco station so much.

The notion that newspaper editors should diligently fact-check letters to the editor is fanciful and not based on reality. They can't even fact-check stories by their reporters, let alone letters to the editor.

 
At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They can't even fact-check stories by their reporters, let alone letters to the editor.

True 30 years ago. Today, fact-checking requires a computer, an internet connection, and 10 seconds. Apparently the Examiner - and you - are too lazy.

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I don't fact check stuff written by others. Besides, the letter writer here is absolutely right on everything else.

 

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