Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quintin Mecke: Bike guy and party line prog

Quintin Mecke has emerged as the progressive alternative to Mayor Newsom. After reading his website, one can see why he has Chris Daly's endorsement. Like Supervisors Daly and Mirkarimi, Mecke buys both the complete SF Bicycle Coalition line and the Green Party line, where there's considerable overlap with the SFBC line.

One of the first questions from the SFBC:

The SFBC is urging the City to take a new approach, legislating a package of bike lane projects to help fill multiple gaps in the Citywide Bike Network at once. Some opposition is expected to arise from recommendations to remove some parking and traffic lanes in order to accommodate bike lanes. Understanding this, will you support legislation for a package of multiple bicycle projects that create a safe and continuous Bike Network?

Mecke answers "yes" without even knowing what's in the hypothetical "package"! The next question: "Will you support legislation to add bike lanes on these streets?" The streets: Second St., Fifth St., 17th St., Bayshore Blvd., Cesar Chavez Ave., Illinois St., Masonic Ave., and Portola Ave. Mecke is ready to okay bike lanes on all these streets---taking away street parking and/or traffic lanes to do it---even though the city has done no traffic studies to determine whether it's even feasible to do so. A bike lane on Bayshore Blvd!

Where the city has done studies, problems arise. Here's what the Bicycle Plan itself says, for example, about removing lanes on Fifth St. to make bike lanes: "According to DPT's Level of Service Analysis conducted in 1998 of what is described here as Option 1, the reduction of a travel lane on Fifth Street would result in a Level of Service 'F' at Mission, Howard, and Harrison Streets, indicating that the demands of the intersection exceed capacity...lane removal is likely to create severe congestion along sections of the street."

Level of Service (LOS) is the time it takes traffic to get through an intersection. LOS "F" is the worst possible rating, aka a "traffic jam." Not surprisingly, the SFBC wants the city to completely eliminate---it's in the Bicycle Plan---using the LOS method of measuring traffic impacts of proposed developments. Why? Because then they could install bike lanes---by elminating traffic lanes and street parking---wherever they want in the city without having to account for and/or mitigate the traffic jams this would cause. That means that, once the city and the SF Bicycle Coalition do away with LOS, it can go ahead and jam up traffic on Fifth Street---and all the other city streets on its wish list---with impunity.

Read through the rest of the questionnaire, and you learn about some of the SFBC's other plans for San Francisco: bicycle boulevards on selected streets, "temporary or permanent closure of major streets to motor vehicles," congestion management in downtown SF, discouraging parking spaces in new developments, encouraging the city's children to ride bikes to school, and directing the SFPD to make traffic safety a higher priority. Mecke doesn't disagree with any of it; he's the ideal candidate for the SFBC. (District 5's Ross Mirkarimi had that honor in 2004, but, unlike Mecke, he doesn't ride a bike to work every day.)

From his answers in the Green Party's questionnaire, we learn that Mecke supports Chris Daly's Rincon Hill highrises, opposes Care Not Cash, supports amnesty for illegal in-law apartments, and supports giving the Board of Supervisors the power "to set policies and procedures for the SFPD through legislation." Mecke of course also supports Chris Daly's question time and promises "to prioritize women" when making appointments to vacant "elected positions, commission seats, department heads, etc."

Mecke believes too that "non-citizen residents should vote in all city elections," opposes the Blue Angels, supports the Geary Bus Rapid Transit (even though the EIR on the proposal isn't done yet), supports an increase in parking fees and fines, and supports higher residential construction along city "transit corridors," even though one of the originators of the transit corridors theory criticizes San Francisco for misunderstanding and misapplying his theory.

Under the "decentralization" category, Mecke supports raising the signature threshold for a recall vote from 10% to 20% of registered voters, thus making it twice as hard for people to recall their supervisors. How's that for decentralization?

Since this is the Green Party questionnaire, naturally there's some meaningless flab-gab: "Do you agree to seek solutions to problems based on communication and cooperation as opposed to pressure and status?" Guess how Mecke answsered that one!

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