Monday, August 11, 2008

SFBC's 2008 election questionnaire

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Board of Supervisors Candidates Questionnaire November 2008 Election

Please return this questionnaire no later than Friday, August 15th by 3pm via email to

The questionnaire is 8 pages long. Please respond to all general questions and the questions associated with the district you are running for, not the other districts’ questions.

If you have questions, contact Leah Shahum, 415-431-2453, x-306 or

Please respond to the following questions. For those questions asking for a Yes or No answer, please mark either Yes or No (no additional comments will be considered). For other questions, please limit each response to 300 words (anything over that word limit will not be considered).

Candidate’s Name: Rob Anderson
District: 5
Campaign Manager name:
Campaign Manager phone number:
Campaign Manager email:

1. Do you use a bicycle in the city? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? Please indicate how you most commonly commute to work. (300 words or less)

No, I don't use a bicycle in the city or anywhere else. I either walk or ride Muni wherever I need to go. Cycling isn't safe enough for me to give it serious consideration.

2. In the next year, the City’s Bicycle Plan should be re-instated after a 3-year delay in physical bike improvements on city property, which was caused by a lawsuit and a slow Environmental Review process. The silver lining to this frustrating situation is that a significant package of Bike Network improvements---50+ proposals for bike lanes and intersection improvements throughout the city---will be fully analyzed and ready for legislation and implementation. Will you support approval and implementation of this full package of projects, which will fill significant gaps in the Citywide Bike Network and which, in some cases may include removal of existing on-street parking or traffic lanes?
YES _______ NO ___X____

How can you ask anyone to approve a "full package" when supposedly no one knows what's in it yet? (I know: Mirkarimi will give you a blank check regardless of what's in the final package, and other candidates will, too, simply because they perceive the SFBC as a powerful interest group.) Recall that the only reason there's been a delay in "bike improvements" is that your "progressive" collaborators at City Hall failed to do the required environmental review of the massive, 527-page Bicycle Plan before the city began implementing it. If the city had done the legally required environmental review three years ago when we warned them about it, presumably some version of the Bicycle Plan would have been implemented by now. Instead, the city arrogantly assumed no one in Progressive Land would challenge their clearly illegal approach to an ambitious project to redesign many city streets on behalf of a small minority with the dangerous hobby disguised as a serious transportation "mode."

3. Specifically included in the package referenced above are proposals for adding bike lanes on the following streets, some of which may require removing traffic lanes and/or parking spaces, in order to make room. Will you support legislation to add bike lanes on these streets, all of which are part of the official Citywide Bike Network but lack specific safety accommodations for the growing number of bicycle commuters?

2nd St. YES ___ NO __X_
5th St. YES ___ NO __X_
17th St. YES ___ NO ___
Masonic Ave. YES ___ NO __X_
Cesar Chavez Ave. YES ___ NO ___
Bayshore Blvd. YES ___ NO ___
Illinois St. YES ___ NO ___
Portola Ave. YES ___ NO ___

4. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was designed to help citizens and policy makers understand the environmental impact of development proposals by requiring environmental impact reports (EIRs) for projects with potentially significant environmental impacts. Currently, the SF Planning Department regards the convenient movement of private automobiles as an environmental concern, increasing the cost and delaying the implementation of dedicated transit lanes, bike lanes, and even sidewalk widening, even though these projects are clearly beneficial to the environment. Would you support changes at the local level to reform environmental review to facilitate transit-first projects?
YES _______ NO __X_____

This is a crude, inaccurate account of what CEQA is really about, which is determining the effects of proposed projects before they are implemented. The Planning Department, though staffed with many bike zealots---there are also 10 people working in the Bike Program in MTA---is obligated to follow CEQA, because it's a state law that requires calculating the impact a project will have on traffic, among other things. If a project will clearly make traffic worse in the project area, the developer and the city must mitigate that impact. If you take away traffic lanes and/or street parking---which is what the Bicycle Plan wants to do on many city streets---obviously you might make traffic worse. Just because bikes don't burn fossil fuel doesn't mean you have the right to screw up traffic for everyone else in the city.

5. Would you support a citywide goal to decrease the number of private motor vehicle trips in San Francisco, understanding that in addition to improving transit, bicycling, and walking, the goal would be met by also making motor vehicle trips and parking less convenient in some cases?
YES _______ NO ___X____

6. Poor pavement quality is a major hazard and common complaint for bicyclists in San Francisco. Do you support more funding, from the City’s budget and/or a new bond measure, for street repaving, with a priority on bicycle & transit routes?
YES _______ NO ___X____

7. Model bicycle-friendly cities around the world (including American cities such as Portland, OR, New York City, and Chicago) follow the standard practice of using colored pavement to demarcate bike lanes. These colored bike lanes help delineate space for bicyclists, increase awareness of bike lanes among drivers, and discourage cars from double-parking in bike lanes. Would you support the use of colored pavement in bike lanes in San Francisco?
YES _______ NO _______ MAYBE__X___

8. Would you support the implementation of “bicycle boulevards,” traffic-calmed streets that function as bicycle priority routes, similar to street designs in use in Berkeley and Palo Alto, even if this means restricting continuous automobile access at some intersections (while still allowing auto access to all homes and places of business)?
YES _______ NO ___X____

9. Do you support the creation of a bicycle/pedestrian/maintenance pathway on the Bay Bridge’s West Span (understanding that such a path is already being built on the East Span)? And will you support local funding and advocacy for additional regional, state, and federal funding, to build the pathway?
YES _______ NO ___X____

The bike path on the East span is already costing taxpayers $100 million!

10. The popular car-free space in Golden Gate Park (which the SFBC helped expand from Sundays to Saturdays) and the new "Sunday Streets" initiative to pilot a 5-mile car-free space on city streets are both part of a worldwide trend to increase car-free space in urban areas to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and, more fundamentally, city life itself. As Supervisor, would you be willing to significantly increase car-free spaces in San Francisco?
YES _______ NO ___X____

11. If you are an incumbent running for office, did you vote for the Healthy Saturdays car-free legislation in Golden Gate Park last year?
YES _______ NO _______ Not an Incumbent ___X____

Of course Supervisor Mirkarimi will continue to give you everything you ask for, since you gave him your sole endorsement in 2004. Like you folks, he even supports Critical Mass!

12. Market St. is the city's most well-used street for transit riders and bicyclists. Bike traffic has jumped 30% on Market St. in the past year alone, and now makes up a significant amount of usage during the commute hours (bikes often outnumber cars). The SFBC and many other community-based organizations believe that measures to prioritize transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the eastern part of Market St. by banning private auto traffic will improve MUNI performance, transform Market Street for the better, and encourage more San Franciscans to walk and bicycle to work. Various details remain to be worked out (we support allowing access for taxis, vehicles with disabled placards, and deliveries at certain hours). Do you support measures to prioritize transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians on Market St. east of Van Ness Ave. by banning private auto traffic, as described above, as other American cities have done successfully?
YES _______ NO ___X____

13. If the proposal above were not politically feasible at this time, would you support measures, within your first year in office, to significantly lessen auto traffic on Market St. (such as forced right-turns for private vehicles), based on the recommendations from a comprehensive Market St. Action Plan developed by the community and the Transportation Authority?
YES _______ NO ___X____

14. Would you support a proposal to dedicate 1% of the City’s transportation funding to bicycle facility improvements and safety projects?
YES _______ NO ___X____

15. Presently, traffic law enforcement in San Francisco is given a low priority, leaving vulnerable users (pedestrians and bicyclists) to fend for themselves and discouraging increased walking and bicycling. Would you direct the SF Police Department to more assertively enforce aggressive and dangerous driving within the City by placing traffic safety as a higher priority within the Department?
YES _______ NO ___X____

16. In recent years, childhood obesity has been identified as a significant health risk, particularly for America's children. One important component to improving the health of our children is encouraging walking and bicycling to school, activities which have dropped precipitously in the past 50 years as cars have come to dominate streets. As a Supervisor, would you champion and fund a "Safe Routes To Schools" program, which has proven successful in other communities to encourage more kids to walk and bicycle by creating safer space on our streets, which may require the removal of parking and traffic lanes, and developing more supportive policies?
YES _______ NO __X_____

This is the most irresponsible part of the Bicycle Plan---encouraging children to ride bikes to school, even though your organization itself acknowledges that city streets aren't even safe enough for adult cyclists. It's one thing for adults to risk their lives on bikes; it's just a terrible idea---and shows what fanatics you are---to want to put children at the same risk. Riding a bike is an essentially dangerous activity, and it always will be, even after the Bicycle Plan is fully implemented.

17. Would you support legislation to require commercial buildings (with appropriate exemptions and alternatives) to allow bicycle access and secure parking/storage?
YES _______ NO ___X____

18. This year, the Board of Supervisors enacted the "Climate Change Goals and Action Plan" ordinance, which commits the City to greenhouse gas reduction targets of 20% below 1990 levels by 2012, with progressively larger targets in subsequent years. Given that roughly half of San Francisco's greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, and that the vast majority of those emissions come from private automobile use, what specific legislation or plans would you implement to reduce our green house gas emissions in the transportation sector? (300 words or less)

Muni should replace all its diesel buses as soon as possible. Otherwise the market system is already causing people to adopt motor vehicles that are cleaner/greener and more fuel efficient.

End of general questions.

District Questions: Please answer only the questions for the District in which you are running for office.

District 5:

1. The SF Bicycle Plan Update has identified Masonic Avenue, between Fell and Geary Streets, as one of the top 20 corridors urgently in need of bicycle improvements. The city is working on plans to improve bike access on this route. Would you support bike lanes even if it entails removing some on-street parking spaces or traffic lanes on Masonic? (Learn more at
YES _______ NO ___X____

2. Would you support creating a bicycle boulevard on Page St. even if it meant prohibiting through auto access (i.e. not allowing cars to drive directly between Golden Gate Park and downtown on Page St.; instead, non-neighborhood car traffic would be diverted at some points along the way).
YES _______ NO ___X____

3. Would you support efforts to reconfigure Masonic Avenue as a "complete street," serving pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and private motor vehicles, even if it means eliminating some curb parking and/or travel lanes?
YES _______ NO ___X____

4. Would you support an expansion of the popular, new car-free space on Saturdays on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park (from Transverse Drive to 8th Avenue) to a longer stretch (from Transverse Drive to Kezar Drive, as it is on Sundays) to expand recreational opportunities for San Franciscans, while still allowing for transit and disabled access through the Park?
YES _______ NO ___X____


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At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Cycling isn't safe enough for me to give it serious consideration."

Sheesh, what a pansy you are.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, I guess I'm a wimp for not wanting to risk life and limb every time I go out to do some errands.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger jt said...

Really, Rob, why do you waste yours, theirs and our time by even pretending to respond to a questionnaire of an organization that would never consider endorsing you. This is truly infantile behavior. I read your blog for an alternate opinion to my own, not to see you silly pranks.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

So don't read my blog then, asshole.

At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, you haven't come close to establishing, with any empirical evidence, the proposition that cycling poses a greater danger than driving, particularly when you take the proven health benefits of cycling into account. Those of us who encourage our children to bicycle rely on the objective evidence that physically active people, including cyclists, enjoy a longer and higher quality life. You, by contrast, have produced no evidence that people dependent on cars for transportation suffer a lower rate of any category of injury.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I have in fact posted evidence that cycling poses special risks for childre. From the CDC's website: "Children are at particularly high risk for bicycle-related injuries. In 2001, children 15 years and younger accounted for 59% of all bicycle-related injuries seen in US emergency departments."

That you are tryng to push your dangerous hobby onto the city's school children just shows how goofy and irresponsible you are, like the cyclists who tow their children behind them in those little canvas trailers.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"I read your blog for an alternate opinion to my own, not to see you silly pranks."

You completely misunderstand the value of these questionnaires. The point is not that I'm wasting time with interest groups that aren't going to endorse me. I understand that no one is going to endorse me. Instead, I use the questionnaires as an opportunity to tell these groups---and readers---things that no one else is going to tell them.

Also, if you had read my response to the SFBC questionnaire carefully, you would have noticed that I linked a bunch of other posts that discuss the issues the questions raise, like the LOS (level of service) issue, which the SFBC calls "CEQA reform," which is important if you want to understand what the bike lobby really wants to do to our streets and how they hope to achieve it.

Finally, the SFBC questionnaire tells us what that organization thinks is important. Bike lanes on Second Street and Fifth Street! I think that's simply nutty and a prescription for gridlock downtown.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Karl Rove would be proud of you Rob.

"In 2001, children 15 years and younger accounted for 59% of all bicycle-related injuries seen in US emergency departments."

This fact is a complete strawman.

1) Children cannot drive, therefore they are more likely to ride bikes, Given that it is more likely that someone who crashes a bike is a child.

2) You try to imply that the reason children end up in the emergency room is because they crash their bikes. This fact does not support that - it doesn't say anything about the percentage of ER visits by children that were the result of bike accidents.

100% of people injured on the Bay Bridge were drivers. We should ban driving on the bay bridge!

At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad to see such an angry disgruntled man running for Supervisor. As a person who has commuted by bike every day for the past 10 years without an accident, I view you as one of the most dangerous men in San Francisco. Maybe you should rethink your position on bicycling. Prove that you're not running for Supervisor because you're an egomaniac but because you want to help improve life in SF. If, as you've repeatedly stated, you don't ride or commute by bike because you think it's too dangerous, why not be open to ideas that would make cycling safer in SF? Why be so bitter to cyclists? I commute by bike because 1) it pains me to see the pollution caused by oil, 2} I live close to work, 3} I save lots of money, and 4} it keeps me in shape. The bicyle is one of the greatest inventions ever made by mankind. Why not wake up tomorrow with a new platform of creating a San Francisco where it's even safe for a Rob Anderson to ride a bike. Now that would be change we can believe in!

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Michael: You couldn't be from my branch of the family, because you're such a poor reader. It's not that people like you want to ride a bike in SF that bothers me; it's the arrogance of so many individual cyclists, the many with the chip on their shoulders and contempt for everyone else on the streets. The "ideas that make cycling safer in SF" are even now being studied by the folks who are working on the EIR for the Bicycle Plan. Some of the ideas they come up with will be bad ideas, and some even may be good ideas. In the meantime, why don't you brush up on your reading skills so that you don't have to move your lips when you read my blog?

At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also from the CDC:
In the United States during 2005, 1,335 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 184,000 were injured. By contrast, in the same period, according to the same source about 140 children died on bicycles, and 15,400 suffered injuries. In other words, the number of children killed and injured in reportable bicycle crashes comes to 10% of the number of children killed and injured in reportable car crashes.

Given the rate and intensity of bicycle usage among children, these figures hardly paint a picture of the bicycle as a dangerous mode of transportation. In any case, you cannot dispute (and I don't believe you've tried) the health benefits of an active lifestyle, including active transportation. The mortality and morbidity from the effects of inactive lifestyles, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes exceeds the accidental death rate by orders of magnitude.

The facts simply don't back up your arguments here.

At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cars are the biggest killers of children. Where is your outrage, Rob?

At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is bicycling so dangerous?

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You bike fanatics automatically bring up the dangers of automobiles every time I make the point that cycling is dangerous. The subject of child endangerment comes up in the SFBC's questionnaire in discussing getting kids to school. Got it? We're not talking about the relative dangers of cycling versus driving a car, and it's not a choice between cars and bikes. The safest way to get children to school is either by foot or by bus. Neither bikes nor cars are the safe and sensible options here (true, the way the SFUSD makes it difficult for kids to enroll in schools near their homes makes it sensible for some parents to drive their kids to school across town).

Encouraging the city's school children to ride bikes to school on streets even the SFBC admits aren't safe is the triumph of BikeThink over common sense.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason people bring up cars in bike discussions is that cars are almost completely taken for granted, depite their obvious danger to everyone on the roadway.

Bikes are not treated the same way. We constantly have to make a case for bikes: why they are good transportation, why they have a right to the street space, why we should encourage their use, etc.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Thanks for sharing your aversion to cars, but the topic under discussion is the safest way to get children to school in SF. Encouraging kids to ride bikes to school in the city is dumb and irresponsible.

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The school bus solution doesn't address the problem of sedentary kids. Kids rarely die (right away) from riding the bus, but sedentary kids and adults do suffer from life-long and debilitating physical problems which shorten their lives and dramatically reduce their quality of life. And I don't believe young cyclists with proper safety equipment suffer from injuries more often than kids participating in other physical activities.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Children have been walking to school for centuries, and the last century, before the advent of childhood obesity, they have also been taking the bus to school. "Safe Routes to School" is something that is impossible for anyone to guarantee, especially on city streets that even the SFBC complains are unsafe even for adults. A few months ago, by the way, an 11-year-old boy was killed riding his bike to school ( Getting them to walk would be a better solution, since it's safer than a bike and it would also help address the obesity issue.

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walking safer that cycling? Not necessarily. This source on pedestrian safety says:

In 2001, 669 children ages 14 and under died from pedestrian injuries. Of these, 521 died in motor vehicle-related traffic crashes. One-fifth of all traffic fatalities among children ages 14 and under is pedestrian-related.

I reiterate my point: when you balance the safety and health considerations, the safety records of cycling and walking simply do not back your claim that promoting cycling among children constitutes an irresponsible act. Believe it if you insist, but don't pretend you have the numbers to prove it.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Joe said...

So, basically you're annoyed that your tax dollars might go to something you don't support, as in bike lanes. You are further annoyed that people who ride bikes sometimes have a bit of attitude.

I completely understand this, I mean, after all, you drive a car, and expect that they never ever be in your way, and of course should never be upset. How dangerous would cycling be if people weren't constantly taking their SUV's 1 mile to get a quart of milk?

This type of attitude is what annoys many of those cyclist. The very reason cycling is dangerous is largely due to the fact that the majority of Americans will gladly fire up a several thousand pound vehicle, and go to get a gallon of milk, while texting their friends, and putting on makeup, and reading the paper, and drinking coffee, and shaving, and, well, you get the idea. Oddly enough, these rather large vehicles collide with people who are not in any type of vehicle, and then this gets reported for someone like you to include on your blog and say how dangerous bikes are.

I doubt they'd be half as dangerous if a few more people would ride them to get their milk once in a while.

I have no doubt you'll have tons of reasons you disagree, because you have your mind made up, and I'm not here to change it. Carry on with your bike hating.


At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a complete fucking douchenozzle. Go fuck yourself.

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob you are correct in stating that I couldn't be part of your side of your family. A person so bitter, angry, disgruntled and self-righteous, and a person who believes that public service is simply a venue to criticize and attack others could never be part of our Anderson family. But you know something Rob, maybe there's still hope that one day, those dark stormy clouds that forever follow you, will one day part. If you ever need to talk about your life's frustrations, i'll loan you a bike and we can ride together on a Sunday in Golden Gate Park. How about it?

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You still show no signs of coming to grips with what I've actualy written. And of course you assume that whatever the bike people want to do to our streets are ipso facto "improvements." Congratulations for having found happiness and fulfillment with your bike, but the issue is how/what changes are going to be made to city streets on behalf of the cycling minority. I'm not bitter or angry at all; you are apparently so unaccustomed to being criticized that it's apparently rattled you. You have to focus on the actual issue on the table in SF, which is the massive Bicycle Plan and the changes you folks want to force on the rest of us.

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say you hate all the self rightous cyclists that have a air of entitlement to the roads. You also say that you have had more near misses with cyclists as a pedestrian. We all hear you talking about the hateful arrogant riders.

Why do you get a free pass as a hateful pedestrian with a chip on your shoulder?

Where do you get off telling everyone that their life decision to bike is wrong and to dangerous an activity. This mentality of the government having to micro manage every part of the publics life is perpetuated by the ignorant selfish pigs that feel they have to empose their view on everyone around them.

Why can't people like you understand that every activity has its dangers. You say that cycling is dangerous, ok you are entitled to your opinion. Just don't shove your opinion down the throats of everyone that disagrees with you by using the legal system.
I am a commuter by car and a recreational cyclist. Even I can see that you are a jerk who has taken a stance against cycling and you aren't willing to accept anything that has to do with it. Every single one of your bullcrap answers to that questionaire was no. Even the questions that make sense were dismissed as wrong.
Question number 6: you said you wouldn't support repaving bike paths which would reduce the number of accidents. This had no relation to creating new paths or environmental studies and shows exactly how you feel. You hate cyclists and don't care about their well being. Good luck with getting elected, I just hope for the good of the community you die of old age before that happens.

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"You say you hate all the self righteous cyclists that have a air of entitlement to the roads."

Where do I say anything about "hate"? Nowhere, in fact. I don't hate anyone. I do think cyclists are often are a pain in the ass and a menace to pedestrians.

"Question number 6: you said you wouldn't support repaving bike paths which would reduce the number of accidents. This had no relation to creating new paths or environmental studies and shows exactly how you feel."

Wrong again. Check out how the question was actually phrased: "Do you support more funding, from the City’s budget and/or a new bond measure, for street repaving, with a priority on bicycle & transit routes?" Why should priority be given to "bicycle & transit routes," when the surfaces of so many city streets are in such terrible shape? If the question hadn't included the gratuitous "priority" phrase, I would have said yes. It's that cener-of-the-universe attitude that rankles.


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