Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Polk Street Lie goes national


Like the Valencia Street lie last year, the lie about Polk Street has now gone national in Planetizen. 

The Valencia Street Lie is about how creating bike lanes on that street has been good for business, that those lanes are a good argument for the Polk Street bike project, that all the small businesses and restaurants on Polk Street supposedly don't have to worry about losing all that parking for their customers. The reality: no street parking was eliminated to make the Valencia Street bike lanes, which means that they have had no impact on the businesses in the area.

The Polk Street Lie is that the street is so dangerous the city has to take radical measures by taking away a lot of parking on that street to make a protected bike lane. Except for a brief mention on page 25 of the last Collisions Report, Polk Street has never been listed as one of the most dangerous streets in San Francisco. The MTA conveniently found some accident numbers to make the safety case just when it began pushing the Polk Street bike project (The safety lie is also deployed to justify the Masonic Avenue bike project).

The Polk Street Lie is part of City Hall's new "high-injury corridor" strategy. Since that UC study told us that the city hasn't even been accurately counting injury accidents on city streets, it had to come up with a new justification for making bike lanes on busy city streets. 

Since every street in the city has had a lot of traffic accidents over the years, every busy city street can now be dubbed a "high-injury corridor" to justify taking away a lot of street parking to make bike lanes.

Unlike the old Collisions Reports, the "high-injury corridor" approach doesn't require that the city tell us anything about these alleged accidents---exactly where they happened, why they happened, or who was responsible. 

And the accident numbers can be impressive, since over the years every busy street in the city has had a lot of accidents. 

The SF Examiner reporter parrots the party line: "From 2006-11 there were 122 collisions on the small stretch of Polk alone, equating to two collisions per month, advocates say." They would say that, wouldn't they? Who collided with what and where? Apparently the Examiner reporter made no attempt to find out if that statement is true or even relevant. 

There's no longer any way for the public to verify those numbers, since the city no longer has to bother with analyzing accidents and intersections to figure out why accidents happen.

In fact if a city worker does any serious analysis of traffic accidents, he will be exiled to Siberia.

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17 Comments:

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

The reality: no street parking was eliminated to make the Valencia Street bike lanes, which have had no impact on the businesses in the area.

Really?

Valencia was a shithole before the bike lanes. Now it's the hottest corridor in the city.

 
At 4:56 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Correlation is not causation. Besides, Valencia was not a "shithole" before the bike lanes. It was a great---and affordable---neighborhood long before it was yupped up by the tech industry.

 
At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see. Your problem is not bike lanes, it's yuppies.

Those yuppies are paying a disproportionate amount of the taxes in this city, allowing you to leech off the taxpayer for your subsidized MUNI fares and your ripping off of the sweet sweet government teat you suck.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Is hatred for old people now in fashion? I went to work full-time when I was 17 and started getting Social Security when I was 66, 49 years of paying taxes. Who was getting "ripped off" here?

 
At 11:18 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

Ha, the yuppies are making out like bandits as they get their six figures and their companies get tax breaks and send their empty double decker busses careening around the streets.

Valencia, and San Francisco, existed and was healthy before bike lanes and definitely before yuppies. Welcome to San Francisco, BTW, from Ohio, or Minnesota, or whatever BFE you came from in the last 3 years.

 
At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes - Valencia was so great back in the 90's - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0RLHt594ZM

 
At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does a professional bike race have to do with Polk Street?

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Good question. Is this a common fantasy for cyclists, being in a race in full spandex regalia? That's the photo Planetizen used for the story. Maybe it's the only one they could find of cyclists on Polk Street.

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it really ironic that every year your risk of getting killed by a car continues to climb. The elderly are the people who suffer the most by having "accident" prone streets. Should being elderly on the streets be illegal like biking with a child? http://sfbay.ca/2015/03/12/traffic-deaths-stain-traffic-safety-event/

It begs the question as to why you hate yourself so much that you're willing to stick with Detroit style streets that cater to cars and not pedestrians.

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Ironic"? Where's the irony? Another semi-literate bike guy struggles to articulate his semi-thoughts.

And he rushes to this blog and tries---and fails---to score a murky point against me for whatever, as if I'm in favor of old people being run down by cars.

And of course he has the facts wrong. According to the city's last Collisions Report (page 17), pedestrian fatalities have steadily gone down since 2000.

Somehow I don't see old people walking on city streets comparable to risking the life of a child on a bike as you practice your risky, goofball hobby.

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Make that page 19 in the Collisions Report for pedestrian fatalities.

 
At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're becoming a bigger risk to yourself every year, Rob.

http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_safety/

Hopefully in few years it will be illegal for you to go and walk on your own, or you'll be required to wear a helmet.

http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html

Maybe you should just get a car so you're the one that causes the accident instead?

http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/Older_Adult_Drivers/adult-drivers_factsheet.html

Isn't the CDC fun?

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, it is. Here's their fun take on your goofball transportation "mode."

And there's The American Association of Neurological Surgeons on the same subject.

You of course ignore the most directly relevant document I linked, the city's Collisions Report, which shows that pedestrian fatalities on city streets have actually been going down over the years.

 
At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you keep telling us we can't trust the city's numbers!

 
At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you didn't even comment on those studies I mentioned. Did you read those studies? You should read those studies. Also explain how the city is getting safer yet we're not supposed to trust the numbers because we don't even know how many people really get hurt in the city. Do you want people to listen to you or not?

 
At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the hearing a speaker said bicyclists like to use Polk St because it is flat. In that case they can use Larkin St or Van Ness that are just as flat as Polk St. Due to the Van Ness BRT, bicyclists could share the bus lane.

Any reason why bicyclists do not want to use Larkin St or Van Ness?
Bicycle lanes on Larkin or Van Ness would be less disruption to businesses on Polk St.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"But you keep telling us we can't trust the city's numbers!"

Fatalities are a lot easier to count than accidents. The problem the UC study found: the city was relying on police reports and ignoring a lot of accidents treated at SF General. Almost all fatalities have police reports.

The topic discussed in the post is safety and Polk Street here in San Francisco, about which you apparently have nothing to say.

 

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