Another Rodriguez puff-piece on Masonic Avenue
|Have to give the Examiner's Joe Rodriguez credit for consistency. When he writes about Masonic Avenue, he writes nothing but poorly-informed puff pieces that only cite supporters of the project. And he never questions the city's party line on the project spoon-fed to him by the MTA.|
Rodriguez always uses the MTA's terminology that calls this project the Masonic Avenue Streetscape Project, though it's essentially a bike project with some landscaping added. The same deception is applied to the Polk Street bike project, which the MTA calls the Polk Streetscape Project.
The "eight years of outreach" on the Masonic project featured a long campaign of lies and hysteria by the Bicycle Coalition and its City Hall allies:
That's the unexamined lie the MTA feeds Rodriguez, but there's no evidence that Masonic is particularly dangerous, especially considering the volume of traffic it carries. The only in-depth study the city did on Masonic---The Masonic Avenue Street Redesign Study---actually showed the opposite, as I pointed out in my analysis several years ago:
This muddled paragraph shows that Rodriguez still doesn't really understand what the project involves. Those traffic lanes that will be eliminated are in fact now parking lanes on both sides of Masonic that are converted into traffic lanes during the morning and evening commute.
Anyone at all familiar with Masonic knows that its sidewalks between Fell and Geary are already among the widest in the city. There's no evidence that they now pose any safety problems, though the few cyclists that now use Masonic often ride on the sidewalks which endangers pedestrians:
That's a lie that Rodriguez is clearly not equipped to challenge, since he hasn't read either the Redesign Study I linked above or my analysis. When I talked to him the other day, he claimed that he read my blog posts criticizing his reporting on Masonic, but that's apparently untrue, though his problem may be some kind of reading disorder:
What part of this "community" helped locate this garish art work there? This is a typical Rodriguez touch, as he routinely adopts the MTA's fatuous happy-talk terminology about "outreach" and "improvements." People in the city really should have the right to vote on this stuff, since they're going to have to look at it for years:
That's surely a lie, but Helquist is a pro-bike demagogue who has a sketchy relationship with the truth. (For more on Helquist's campaign to screw up Masonic, click on the "Michael Helquist" label below.):
The "collisions" terminology is part of the Vision Zero fantasy mindset at the MTA. We're now all supposed to pretend there's no such thing as "accidents." But the 113 number is in no public document I know of, though on page 14 of the Redesign Study there's a similar number for an earlier six-year interval. Not at all clear that this is a particularly big number for a street that carries more than 32,000 vehicles a day.
But what we really need to know is exactly where and why those accidents happened---and how serious they were. Since the MTA now has 5,745 employees, surely it can spare a few people to do that and, while they're at it, analyze every traffic accident in the city so we can know what's really happening on our streets. The MTA used to do this kind of analysis in its annual Collisions Reports, but it doesn't issue those anymore. It is systematically limiting the information it provides the public, as it also no longer issues its informative Transportation Fact Sheet.
Instead, the MTA now simply hands out accident numbers to lazy, credulous reporters like Rodriguez to bolster its unsupported safety justification for this project (The MTA also used the safety lie to justify the Polk Street bike project):
Linke was hit by a drunk driver while riding a bike in the Turk and Masonic intersection, and Hudson was was hit by a drunk driver in the crosswalk of the same intersection.
Nothing in the Masonic Avenue bike project will protect people in intersections from drunk drivers, whether they are on a bike or on foot. This is the kind of demagoguery typically used by project supporters like Helquist and Streetsblog:
Needless to say Rodriguez didn't press Golier for any specifics about "similar projects" and the 400 percent claim. The truth is that the city has no idea how many people will use the separated bike lanes after this project is completed. There's not any evidence that there are a significant number of cyclists who even want to use this North/South street.
For Rodriquez's other crappy stories on Masonic, see this, this, this and this.