Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bike vs. anti-bike: Are we having dialogue yet?

News flash to Andrew Leonard (see below): No matter how high the price of oil goes people in the US are going to use motor vehicles. After all, the hybrid engine technology is getting pretty close to being practical for everyone. Do you really think cars are ever going to be obsolete in the U.S.? This is the type of fantasy held by the bike zealots in S.F. Yes, of course, "the city is not designed to accommodate cyclists," which is my point: The bike zealots---at most 2% of the city's population---want to redesign our streets to accommodate a tiny minority, taking away traffic lanes and parking in a city that has, according to the DMV, 452,813 registered motorized vehicles. 

As a matter of fact, I don't own a car and take Muni or walk everywhere I go in the city. Taking away parking and traffic lanes in the city is only going to make traffic worse for everyone, including those who ride Muni---not to mention emergency vehicles. All I'm saying is that before the city implements this radical project, it should do an EIR so that the people of the city know what the city and the SF Bicycle Coalition plan to do to the streets in their neighborhoods.

Like my other critics, you feel compelled to mention that I'm old, that I'm a mere dishwasher, and that I'm a failed candidate for office, a not-so-subtle variation on an ad hominem argument. Guilty to all three charges! The implication: Why should anyone listen to an old failure who is a dishwasher? Nevertheless, I'm proud to be a member of the working class. As for my "failure" in my two campaigns---I ran in 2000, too---for D5 Supervisor, people can go to my campaign website to judge whether my candidacy was serious or not. I think politics is ultimately about ideas, and my campaigns were designed around specific ideas about local issues. The fact that I didn't get many votes won't discourage me from running again in 2008, since the ideas I tried to advance are just as relevant today as they were then.

Bike vs. Anti-Bike
by Andrew Leonard

Somehow, it only seems right and fitting that San Francisco, home to some of the world's most aggressive bike activists, has spawned one of the world's most determined anti-biking activists. For every pedal action, there's an opposite and equal reaction?

Rob Anderson, described by the
San Francisco Guardian as a "63-year-old dishwasher, blogger and failed District 5 supervisorial candidate," who is motivated by a "deep animosity toward the bicycle community," has succeeded in bringing the city's ambitious Bicycle Plan to a screeching halt. In response to a lawsuit filed by Anderson claiming that the plan had not received the level of environmental review required by the California Environmental Quality Act, a judge issued a preliminary injunction halting any further action on completing bicycle-related projects that are part of the plan---including, says the Guardian, any new bicycle lanes anywhere in the city or plans to allow more bikes on mass transit.

If you're thinking that using environmental legislation to stop bike lanes sounds kind of wacky, well, you're not the only one. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, naturally, is upset, as is the SF Weekly's Matt Smith, who
wrote a column last week calling Anderson "mean" and "spiteful."

On his own blog, Anderson, who happens to be the brother of Bruce Anderson, the notorious gadfly founder of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, appears to be enjoying the attention. Most of his recent posts are devoted to poking at his critics and elaborating on his opinion that biking is inherently dangerous and will never be a suitable transportation option for the masses of San Francisco.

Of course, one of the reasons why biking is dangerous in the city is because the city is not designed to accommodate cyclists. Which is what the Bicycle Plan is attempting to address.

News flash for Rob Anderson: The price of crude oil spiked to a record high today. Smart cities should be looking for ways to enhance public transportation and make it easier for people to get around on non-fossil-fuel-consuming vehicles, like bikes. Getting in the way isn't mean, or spiteful.
It's just dumb.

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At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really believe people are going to continue to use cars no matter the price of oil? You think they'll be able to afford cars? Not to mention those alternative fuels nut jobs like you advance, despite requiring enormous amounts of energy to create -- energy provided by those diminishing fossil fuel supplies. Think again. It's time to start giving up a traffic lane to bikes. Soon, that's going to be a highly desirable mode of transportation. In New York City, a group lobbied successfully for a buffered lane on Eighth Avenue, removing a lane of traffic to create the space. Nobody cried. Nobody had an injunction filed. To be so naive and believe that automobiles are going to continue to play as major a role in Americans' transportation modes is just plain foolish. Don't worry though, when the price of oil gets too high and more folks start losing their jobs and foreclosing on their McMansions in the suburbs, because they can't afford the mortgage, heat or the fuel to drive in to work, we can always look back and point a finger at people like you. Then again, you're just a dishwasher, so you probably had nothing to do with it.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, I really believe that, because I apparently believe more in American ingenuity and the American people than you do. Your dystopian vision is common among bike zealots, because that's what you folks want to happen: You really want the whole American way of life to come crashing down. I don't. Nor do I think it's going to happen.

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are NAIVE at best, completely stupid at worst. There is no way people are going to be able to afford gas if it gets to be $20/gallon. Beyond that, at some point, there simply won't BE any gas anymore. Get it? No more gas. And if you had done your research, you'd learn that there's no good alternative fuel that doesn't use petroleum to create it, and that "American ingenuity" is on the downturn thanks to our shoddy educational system and lack of scientists compared to other countries.

That you have stopped improvements for cyclists in the Bay Area, as one lone wingnut, sickens me. Do you NOT have anything better to do with your damn time? Find someting to do with yourself that doesn't involve screwing with other people's lives and making them miserable just because you are.

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You need to get a grip, Anon. $20 a gallon? When is that going to happen? Not any time soon, I suspect. Most of the recent so-called shortage of oil has been due to political circumstances in the Middle East. I'm assuming there will be a more or less lengthy transition period that will allow the world to make the necessary social and behavioral changes.

I have not "stopped improvements for cyclists in the Bay Area." I know it's hard for you bike fanatics to focus on the facts, given your irrational belief system, but the injunction only applies to San Francisco's Bicycle Plan. And it's only in place until September, when the case will be heard in court. If the judge agrees with us that the city needs to do an EIR on the plan, then that's what will happen and the injunction might be in place until the EIR is completed.

The point that none of you crackpots address is this: The city's neighborhooods have a right to know if the city and the SF Bicycle Coalition are planning to take away their traffic lanes and their street parking to make bike lanes. Get it? Should that even be controversial? And, in fact, that's what the CEQA law is all about---requiring developers and governments to study projects and let people know the facts before they are implemented and it's too late. I am in fact performing a public service by being a party to this litigation.


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