Randy Shaw, Ed Reiskin, and the Bicycle Coalition
|Ed Reiskin: Bike guy|
Randy Shaw throws a bouquet to Ed Reiskin:
Current Municipal Transit Authority Director Ed Reiskin...is likely the best MTA leader the city has had in decades and his leadership has made a difference for Muni. Improving a government agency’s performance starts at the top. San Francisco is like a small village when it comes to gossiping about leaders of city bureaucracies, yet one hears little negativity about Reiskin.
Where would one hear gossip about Reiskin unless one hung around City Hall? And how would Randy Shaw know about how well Muni operates in San Francisco? He lives in Berkeley.
How is Muni doing under his leadership? On page 31 of the MTA's 2014/2015 annual report, we find this:
Stakeholder Rating: In a survey of 1,672 San Francisco residents, 42% were satisfied, 45% were dissatisfied and 13% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the job the SFMTA is doing managing transportation in the city.
Seems like a mediocre rating by the "stakeholders," that is, people who use a system that averages 700,000 boardings every weekday.
Shaw likes Reiskin in part because he okayed removing some parking in the Tenderloin, where Shaw runs the Tenderloin Housing Clinic:
Reiskin impressed me with his handling of the Tenderloin’s request in late 2013 to prohibit parking on the first block of Turk Street. The MTA chief could have told residents that their concerns that parking was facilitating drug dealing and crime was a police matter, but he did not pass the buck. Reiskin instead agreed to a two-month pilot program banning parking. The pilot began in February 2014 and was so successful that it is still in effect.
Big deal. Who would oppose that, except the drug dealers themselves? Reiskin mostly has a talent for self-promotion---and for pumping up the bloated agency he runs. As of the end of 2014, the MTA had 5,745 employees.
He also has a talent for composing deceptive op-eds, like the one he did touting a phony "public health emergency" on city streets.
Reiskin, like the rest of the bobbleheads in City Hall, has been dumb about the "improvements" the city is going to make to Masonic Avenue:
Ed Reiskin, transportation director of the SFMTA, stressed the importance of the Masonic Avenue improvements, saying years ago his wife would not let him ride his bicycle along Masonic Avenue with his then-young daughter in tow because it may be unsafe. Masonic Avenue has long been one of the most dangerous streets in San Francisco. From 2007 to 2012, according to the SFMTA, 117 people were injured and two people were killed in traffic collisions. “It’s like a minifreeway,” Reiskin said. “It’s really uninviting [to bicyclists]. Even crossing Masonic on foot is not a great experience.”
That must have been a sobering moment for Reiskin's wife, as she realized she was married to someone who was ready to risk their child's life on busy city streets.
The quotation above also shows how Reiskin has benefited from a housebroken local media that uncritically parrots City Hall's lies about Masonic Avenue.
Reiskin also presides over an agency that increasingly hoards useful information about safety and transportation in the city, since it no longer publishes its annual Collisions Report or, apparently, even the informative Transportation Fact Sheet. Instead, it puts out bloated publications full of useless information like this.
What it should be doing with some of its 14,745 employees: analyzing every accident on the streets of the city and figuring out what happened and why and how it might be prevented in the future---and then publishing the results so everyone can understand what's happening on city streets.
Shaw also credits the Bicycle Coalition for supposedly improving Muni system:
The second reason for Muni’s improvement is that the system is less crowded due to increased bicycling. Chief credit goes to the SF Bike Coalition, whose efforts enable thousands to bike to work rather than add to the commute crowds on Muni. The SF Bike Coalition’s biggest commuter impact has been on facilitating safe bike traffic down Market Street, the corridor where Muni trains are most jammed. The Coalition also promotes flat and safe bike routes on its website that encourage people to ride rather than be a passenger on a bus. It also spreads the word about The Wiggle, which enables riders to bypass hills. This also replaces bus passengers with bike riders.
That does read like it was written by someone from out of town. Oh, yes, that cool Wiggle, which is all about allowing cyclists "to bypass hills"---and scatter pedestrians while they speed through a densely populated residential neighborhood on their bikes. Shaw links a Wikipedia entry on the Wiggle apparently written by cyclists.
Shaw can be credible when he writes about something he knows about, like SROs in the Tenderloin. His thoughts on Muni and bikes are a poorly informed mish-mash of PC bullshit.