Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Bike Debate: "You seem to be pushing this issue a little too much..."

bikefridaywalter wrote:
Again, as both Joel and I asked on my blog, what is your real agenda, Rob? You're so busy covering your ass against all these allegations and claims people make you're simply avoiding it. You seem to be pushing this issue a little bit too much just because you think that that the process was badly followed. Maybe you have a beef with someone at SFBC? Maybe Critical Mass pissed you off one day? But, really, what the hell is the inspiration for all this? I kind of get the feeling like you don't have a vested interest in protecting the resources available to automobile drivers. I do get the feeling like you're not saying what the real deal is.

Rob Anderson
My "real agenda"? You mean it's not enough to have the facts and the law on my side in the discussion about an ambitious project that will change---for the worse, in my opinion---many of the city's streets based on a PC fantasy? You guys are too politically infantile to understand the difference between the political and the personal? Is that how you deal with other issues? You're evidently so unused to having your political beliefs challenged that you are incapable of dealing with the facts at hand. Take a quick spin through my blog archives, Walter, and you will notice that I write about other issues besides the bike bullshit: UC's attempt to cash in on the old Extension property; Octavia Blvd.; the Market/Octavia Plan; city progressives, like Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi; the SF Bay Guardian and the SF Weekly; the Rincon Hill developments and the We Need Housing movement, etc. What's the "real deal" with you, Walter? Your posting on the litigation was uninformed, as I pointed out in my comment. The city was acting unlawfully in how they were implementing the Bicycle Plan. Superior Court Judge Peter Busch agrees and has reprimanded them with his decision, which means that the city is going to have to do an EIR. Instead of trying to psychoanalyze me, this is the reality that you should be finding out the "real deal" about.



At 12:55 AM, Blogger bikefridaywalter said...

Your defensiveness sure makes you a funny guy, Rob. You tell me how you pointed out how clearly uninformed I was and yet in reviewing said comment you didn't really back up the statement at all. Just because some judge agrees with you, then you're necessarily in the right? Shall we have the old arguement about what truth is? You tell me I should stop psychoanalyzing you, but then you psychoanalyze me and tell me how clearly uncomfortable I am about having my beliefs questioned. Why would I encourage this dialogue if that was the case? Look, man, no one has convinctions just for the hell of it. What are you trying to accomplish? To stick it to the SFBC for getting involved in something they shouldn't have? To keep cyclists off the streets? To keep more automobiles on the streets? To make sure that everyone, I mean everyone, and especially the city, upholds every letter of the law? Because you got nothing better to do? Really, get off your high horse and be a man. Quit talking around it. Maybe you should start by explaining the "PC fantasy" and why you think this project will necessarily change for the worst. Seems to me that this is ultimately what you're opposed to-- not actually the fact that they didn't do an EIR. Therefore, as I originally said, this seems to be a totally politcal move. If that's the case, why? I'm surprised you have such difficulty backing up your opinions. Perhaps you're the one who's too politically infantile to deal with have your beliefs challenged? Sure seems you're doing a good job of avoiding it.

At 6:07 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You take the time to write these comments, but evidently you still haven't read my earlier posts on the subject, especially the one on Judge Busch's decision. What are anyone's motives for doing anything? Why did Judge Busch write the decision he wrote? What is his real agenda? Questions like that are not on the table here. I've explained my position in great detail on this blog. Either you aren't a very close reader, or you simply aren't reading the material, including the links that expand on points I'm making.

Let's go over it one more time: In a relatively small city with 452,813 registered vehicles, we can easily make traffic worse if we take away traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes without doing the right traffic studies beforehand. We all have to share the limited street space we have in this city---cars, buses, bikes, pedestrians, etc. In beginning to implement the Bicycle Plan, the city did no environmental study at all, as Judge Busch indicated in his decision. What I'm "trying to accomplish" is to have the city to an EIR on the whole Bicycle Plan,so that traffic is not screwed up in a city that I've lived in off and on since 1961. I kind of like this city and am concerned with its welfare. Since I live here and use the streets myself every day, I have a direct interest in how traffic is managed in the city.

The "PC fantasy" issue: Yes, I think the whole bicycle trip is a utopian, political/lifestyle fantasy. The city was in the process of screwing up city streets and making traffic worse for everyone based on a political fantasy. If you've read my post on "BikeThink" which I linked in the last post, you will understand that idea better.

The problem with your comments, Walter, is that you show no signs of having read and/or come to terms with the basic issues under discussion---the judge's decision, the Bicycle Plan, and CEQA. Instead, you leap over the tedious task of actually reading and thinking about these issues to speculate about my possible motives for writing what I write. See the problem? If we were in a psych class together, this kind of discussion might be relevant. There is nothing substantive about the Bicycle Plan litigation and the related issues in any of your comments. I'm not having any "difficulty backing up my opinions"; you are not even engaging them. Instead, you have raised a completely different issue---my motivation for writing/doing what I do.

Implementing the Bicycle Plan without doing the necessary preliminary studies is just bad public policy. It's bad for a relatively small city geographically that already has traffic problems to implement a major project like this without a lot more study and thought. And, according to Judge Busch, it's also illegal. Get it?

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Sharon said...

I know you VERY well, and I know that caring about an issue does not make you a selfish, agenda holding, sneaky, rat bastard. Why don't these distrustful folks just understand the simplicity of your actions? It seems no matter how many times you explain what you did and why - the PC Bikers refuse to listen. You are much more patient than I would be. And, what's with all the attacks and name calling - are you dealing with spoiled brats let loose from a play date?? Godallmighty!!!

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Here's a woman who actually knows me, and she says I'm not a rat bastard. (next time I run for the BOS, that will be my campaign slogan: "Vote for me. I am not a rat bastard!" I rest my case.

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know, whenever some serial killer or rapist is caught, the first thing hs neighbors say about him is... I knew him, he was such a nice man...

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Forcing the city to do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan makes me akin to a serial killer or a rapist? Isn't that a little over the top, even for a bike zealot?

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Tyrell Haight said...

Jesus man, the bottom line is this: There are a lot of people who want to make San Francisco a better place. They have actual hope and vision. And better bike infrastructure is a small part of making this city more livable, happier, and wealthier (in all ways).

Occasionaly cynical dickheads get in the way, that's all you are man. Fuck yourself. Sorry about the negativity, but that's what you're creating around yourself. You'll lose soon enough and this city will move on.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Depends on what you mean by "better" doesn't it, Tyrell? I don't think screwing up the city's traffic by taking away traffic lanes to make bike lanes will make the city better. It's your "vision" that's being challenged here. "Fuck yourself. Sorry about the negativity." Great example of passive-aggressive political behavior! But you understand, Tyrell, that you haven't addressed a single issue discussed in this post.

At 6:06 AM, Blogger bikefridaywalter said...

So you mean to tell me that when the city does the study and all is hunky dory and nothing changes, you're going to suddenly be elated to know that all is well?

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Dave Jowlles said...

Thank you Rob for bringing this issue to our attention. It's a small victory, but it helps a lot. The simple minded people who want to destroy our city with fantasty "bike lanes" have finally met their match.

It reminds me of the so called "Freeway revolt" of the 1960s, man I wish I had been around to fight that battle which we lost of course...

If we had decent freeways criss-crossing the city (imagine panhandle to ocean beach!) then we'd never have had these bike people pop up in the first place!

Ah well, to drive another day! Let's get 'em. Go Rob!

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

"So you mean to tell me that when the city does the study and all is hunky dory and nothing changes, you're going to suddenly be elated to know that all is well?"

I'm confident that during the EIR process---which requires "scoping" sessions that are public meetings---that the Bicycle Plan will get a much more intensive scrutiny than it has had to date. It will be covered in the media, and the public and people in the neighborhoods will be forewarned about what the city and the SFBC are determined to do to their streets---take away traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes for 1-2% fo the city's population.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"If we had decent freeways criss-crossing the city (imagine panhandle to ocean beach!) then we'd never have had these bike people pop up in the first place!"

Thanks for the input, Dave, but I disagree about the desirability of having freeways "criss-crossing the city." Just because I'm critical of the bike fanatics doesn't mean I'm pro-car. The city just needs to do the proper study before it does things that make traffic worse, especially if their motivation for doing those things is based on a political fantasy.

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason only 2% were 'regularly commuting by bicycle' in the year 2000 was that there's not enough bike infrastructure.

Putting in more bike lanes so people can ride bikes would be simplest and most cost-effective way to alleviate motor traffic imaginable. Not to mention the benefit of cleaner air and happier, healthier people.

Remember that the 1-2% number comes from the year 2000; six years ago AND that it represents only the number of COMMUTER trips. What is the proportion of bike trips for recreation/leisure, for errands, for socializing? These, of course are UNKNOWN.

But we do know that tourism is, in fact the biggest industry and that one of the main activities that tourist want to take part in when the come here is the renting of ________ (hint: sounds like ice-cicles) to ride around on. All one has to do is count the number of rental outfits to get an idea of this activity.

People that live here want bicycles; people that visit here want bicycles; politicians want bicycles; there are even advocacy groups devoted to bicycles. SF is also the birthplace of what's known as "critical mass". I'd say it's pretty clear what we want.

Undoubtedly, you will point out the number of registered automobiles as an indication of what we want. I agree it's a good indication, but sentiment suggests that many of those cars are for taking out of the city on weekends and not for daily use. Furthermore, in a city of 750,000 if only 400,000 cars are registered, I'd interpret that as a sign that 350,000 ARENT INTERESTED in daily car use.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"The only reason only 2% were 'regularly commuting by bicycle' in the year 2000 was that there's not enough bike infrastructure." Do you have any evidence for that claim? Sounds entirely speculative to me, but I know that's the dubious assumption behind the Bicycle Plan.

If you take away traffic lanes on busy streets to make bike lanes, you are going to make traffic on those streets worse, not better, unless you assume---without any evidence---that former car/truck/bus drivers will automatically morph into a comparable number of cyclists---a very large and biased assumption.

The thing about the 2000 Census is that it came before the big dotcom bust and 9/11, after which a lot of people simply left town for economic reasons. The real number of bicycle commuters may be a lot lower than the 2000 Census numbers.

Citing "unknown" figures on cycling other than commuting is not a very convincing argument.

Tourists ride bikes? Like to see some evidence for that. There is evidence that tourists rent cars: According to the info on the SF Convention & Visitors Bureau website, 25.8% of the 4.5 million visitors who stayed in city hotels rented cars, not bikes. That makes well over one million tourists driving in and about SF in cars, in addition to the 452,000 motor vehicles registered to SF residents, the 1000 Muni vehicles, and the thousands of commuters who drive into the city every day.

According to the SF County Transportation Agency, there are 1.08 cars per household in SF now, and that number will go up to 1.11 in 2025, as will the total number of cars per 1,000 population. They attribute this to the seemingly inexorable gentrification trends. (Countywide Transportation Plan, July 2004)

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only way to see how many people will use bikes is to put in some bike lanes.

We have to actually give people a CHOICE about how they get around before they can start exercising that choice.

And bike lanes ARE traffic lanes. And don't forget that the need for road space for bikes and cars is not a one to one ratio. Bikes require much, much less space than cars do. So the bicycle only needs a minimal amount of space. Unfortuantely, nearly all of the road space is currently given over to car use.

Also remember that it wasn't always so. We had to widen streets and narrow sidewalks to accomodate the car. Now people are starting to demand different things (neighborhoods you can walk in, for example) and we will adjust the city landscape accordingly.

Of course if you build the streets entirely for cars to the exclusion of all else, you're going to get a bunch of peoplw driving them. But people respond to infrastructure. The bike lane is a way for use to say, "yes, you can bike here", and the absence of a bike lane means that we probably won't think about biking there.

Remember also, that if such a time comes that the bike lanes arent being used or that traffic doesn't get any better, we can always take them out again and make room for more automobile traffic(jams)!!!


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