Friday, September 05, 2014

Bike/anti-car movement worried about Prop. L


Joel Ramos, Mayor Lee's anti-car appointment to the SFMTA board, is worried about Prop. L, the initiative that opposes the City Hall, Bicycle Coalition anti-car policies that are increasingly unpopular in the city. He now returns whence he came, to Transform, with an anti-L op-ed that preaches to the choir.

Ramos struggles to simulate even-handedness with this:

There has been an understandable backlash as plans for protected bicycle lanes (e.g. on Polk Street, Masonic Avenue, etc.) and high-quality transit-ways (e.g. bus rapid transit on Geary Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue) have required the removal of curbside parking. But without these improvements, even those who are angry about the loss of public space for private cars will suffer down the road. If Prop L passes, streets will continue to get more clogged and more dangerous as car traffic increases with population growth.

Of course Prop. L is only an advisory measure that won't have the force of law. But the anti-car folks are apparently beginning to suspect they and the bike people really aren't very popular in the city, and this is the first chance city voters have had to express that antipathy. If the initiative passes in November, it will be a major turd in the punch bowl for the anti-car bike movement. Until now City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition have been pushing bike lanes through the process even when they are unpopular in the neighborhoods, like the nutty Masonic Avenue and the Polk Street bike projects Ramos mentions.

Only our successful litigation forcing the city to do the legally required EIR on the 500-page Bicycle Plan has slowed the city's anti-car movement.

Ramos supported the East Bay BRT project that was rejected by Berkeley and San Leandro, and he was annoyed when neighborhood opposition to parking meters surfaced two years ago. The Van Ness BRT project will make traffic worse in that part of town not only because it takes away street parking but because it will divert traffic onto the already busy Franklin, Gough, and Polk Streets.

Streetsblog announced last month the campaign in opposition to Prop. L:

The campaign is being managed by Peter Lauterborn, an aide to Supervisor Eric Mar, though Mar’s office isn’t officially affiliated with it. Lauterborn said endorsements are still being gathered, but that it’s already backed by Supervisors Mar, Jane Kim, Scott Wiener, John Avalos, and David Chiu. No currently elected officials have come out in support of Prop L.

Lauterborn is still listed as a "Legislative Aide" to Supervisor Mar, which seems like Mar's office is in fact "officially affiliated" with the anti-L campaign. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Lauterborn wrote that silly letter justifying the Masonic Avenue bike project, since he's also on record supporting the equally silly idea of filling in the underpass at the Fillmore/Geary intersection.

Speaking of that part of town, people are still wondering about that Planning Dept. map of Japantown that extends two blocks across Geary. Could this be part of the city's attempt to "preserve" Japantown---which has few Japanese residents---by expanding it? Who exactly will benefit from this subterfuge?

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12 Comments:

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous sfthen said...

Ramos said, "If Prop L passes, streets will continue to get more clogged and more dangerous as car traffic increases with population growth."

If Prop L doesn't pass, streets will continue to get even more clogged and even more dangerous because the bike crowd will continue their "road diets" that cram cars into even less space, make more single lane streets for bike lanes where every delivery vehicle, every cab, every driver dropping off a friend will block all the following vehicles.

These people are not from San Francisco and know nothing about vehicular movement in the City. Almost everything they do will clog up traffic even more. Except for the bicyclists, smug jerks running red lights while swerving between drivers just trying to get home.

 
At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that you pointed out he claims "the wife owns a car". I was arguing with a SFBC person regarding Polk Street and asked if they owned a car, and he responded "no, but my wife does because of the children"....as if somehow that gives him a pass? The bike crowd is like people in the past who were for prohibition of alcohol but secretly drank booze down in their basement when nobody was watching.

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sort of like how anthropogenic global warming is a lie because Al Gore flies in airplanes.

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

One more thing these streetsblog genius types always scream about is the supposed "high cost of free parking" (academic babble from Donald Shoup, one could just as easily use his "scientific techniques" and produce "The enormous economic benefits of free parking."), here it is noted that the US Postal Service has a huge economic advantage over FedEx and UPS in package delivery because the USPS doesn't pay parking tickets:
Free Parking For Some.

These Ramos types will clog up the streets even more and get more money that Muni can squander from the increase in parking tickets these delivery vehicles will incur.

 
At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Gore flies in airplanes all right "anonymous @ 9:27am", but NOT commercial PUBLIC airplanes. He charters, or asks for use of any Gulfstream or Citation he can. His best buddy Prince Charles recently spent a holiday on a 225 private yacht in the Greek Islands... do you know how much more fuel these private planes and yachts use? Charles always flies private, but I do have to compliment William and Kate who have chosen to fly public. Also Anonymous at 9:27am, nobody brought up Global Warming but you, and like all SFBC/Streetsblog types, you always want to change the subject.
Also, if you attend any neighborhood meeting regarding SFMTA planning issues, like I did regarding Polk Street, please note how many MTA officials arrive in private or city owned automobiles, instead of walking, taking MUNI or riding a bike.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, and those MTA officials with the six-figure salaries are often driving cars paid for by city taxpayers.

 
At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Only our successful litigation forcing the city to do the legally required EIR on the 500-page Bicycle Plan has slowed the city's anti-car movement."

Wait. I thought this was about following the state's most important environmental law, not about slowing the anti-car movement!

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I bet that's only one of many dumb thoughts you have, Anon. Our litigation was about both, of course. CEQA doesn't necessarily stop a project; it just makes the project's sponsors go back and do the required environmental studies correctly. But it's always good to delay bad public policy whenever possible.

 
At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Gregski said...

Peter Lauterborn is one of the best reasons I know of for favoring proposition L and transportation balance.

He has received plenty of written complaints from me and other cyclists about the idiotic JFK bike lane and has acknowledged to me in writing the backlash, even from cyclists, against the faith-based bike-lane policy with which the city has saddled itself.

But his boss, Supervisor Mar, has taken no action and now Lauterborn himself is dedicating his personal energies against transportation balance.

When proposition L passes perhaps our supervisors will think twice about keeping religious cyclpaths on the public payroll in politically-influantial positions.

 
At 1:37 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, it's not right and illegal for Lauterborn to work against the initiative while he's being paid by the city. I guess we're supposed to assume that he's off the city's payroll until after the election, but I'm not so confident about that, since these people are the real fanatics.

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I just sent this to Mar's office:

"Can your office assure the public that Peter Lauterborn is not being paid by the city while he leads the campaign against Proposition L?"

Let's make them clarify the issue.

 
At 6:46 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

agoulatos, Nickolas (BOS) From Mar's office:
3:28 PM (3 hours ago)

Mr. Anderson,

On behalf of Supervisor Mar, I can assure you that Peter conducts all work related to the No On L campaign and all other campaign volunteering on his own time. We appreciate your inquiry.

Rob's comment:

I appreciate his appreciation of my inquiry.

Lauterborn is supposedly doing the anti-L campaign on his own time.

 

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