Thursday, March 23, 2006

Anti-Car jihad targets Golden Gate Park

SF Examiner columnist Ken Garcia gets it right in his column this morning ("Another Spin Cycle in Latest Try to Ban Cars in Park on Saturdays," March 23, 2006). (Later: The link doesn't work on that Garcia column, but here's one a month later with similar contents: Special interests on cusp of hijacking Golden Gate Park). 

He understands that the latest attempt to ban cars from Golden Gate Park on Saturdays---they are already banned on Sundays---is just another front in the anti-car movement in SF, a movement that is profoundly elitist: "Funny that elected officials[Mirkarimi and McGoldrick] would have such disdain for voters that they feel free to ride circles around them."

But the truth is that the anti-car folks have disdain for regular people who need to drive into the park for access---people with families, the elderly, the handicapped. (And there's the monthly Critical Mass, listed on the Bicycle Coalition's online calendar, where the same people think it's cute and cool to snarl rush-hour traffic for working people trying to get home.) 

Now that the underground garage is operational, the anti-car folks are insisting that it be the only access to the eastern end of the park on Saturdays, too. The Bicycle Coalition's Leah Shahum told Garcia that the city lacks "safe, affordable recreational areas in The City." Garcia rightly scoffs at this fanciful notion, pointing out that the city has huge recreational areas available, including the whole western part of the park, the Marina Green, etc.

As Garcia also points out, city voters "overwhelmingly" rejected both ballot measures on Saturday closure in 2000. (The numbers: Proposition F---which progressives supported---lost 55% to 45%, and Proposition G, which they opposed, lost 62% to 38%. And let's not forget that the anti-car folks have consistently opposed the underground garage, both before and after city voters passed Proposition J in 1998, 58% to 42%.) 

Now the anti-car progs are trying an end run around the will of the voters via the Board of Supervisors, with the help of District 5's Ross Mirkarimi and District 1's Jake McGoldrick. Mirkarimi got the sole endorsement of the Bicycle Coalition in 2004, and McGoldrick chairs the little-known San Francisco City Transit Authority, which hands out millions of dollars to the bike fanatics every year so that they can put their anti-car jihad into practice on the city's streets, taking away traffic lanes for bike lanes, eliminating parking wherever possible, etc.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating about the anti-car movement, recall that the Bicycle Coalition's Andy Thornley indiscreetly tipped us off to their strategy last year: "We've done all the easy things so far. Now we need to take space from cars." (SF Bay Guardian, May 18, 2005) Which means taking away traffic lanes and parking spaces and whatever else they can do to make it as expensive and difficult as possible to drive in the city---a strategy, by the way, that also affects Muni, emergency vehicles, and trucks trying to deliver goods to the city's many small businesses. (Text of Prop. J)

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