Saturday, May 17, 2008

"Reading your shit just kind of makes me sick"

Justin Eichenlaub thinks I don't get it:
rob, you just do not get it. the point of adding bike infrastructure is to get more and more people biking---you add bike lanes, take away traffic lanes where they do not need to be (they are in excess already), and more people can then bike who thought they had to drive everywhere before. reading your shit just kind of makes me sick because you pretend to be even-handed but are incredibly close-minded. you know you are going to fail. the 'vocal minority' has the high ground here, not you. you cannot defend the supposed 'rights' of able-bodied people to drive recklessly on ill-designed streets by playing the 'all-drivers-are-in-theory-disabled-or-otherwise-NEED-to-drive-card.' i don't want you to go away, i just wish your criticism could be a little more intelligent.

Rob responds:
It may make you even sicker, Justin, but you need to read my "shit" more carefully. I understand the half-baked PC theory/fantasy behind the Bicycle Plan---make more bike lanes, and many more people will ride bikes in the city. And where exactly are all the "excess" traffic lanes in SF? I don't believe that enough people will ever ride bikes here to justify redesigning city streets to meet the anti-car specifications of the SF Bicycle Coalition. That will only make traffic worse for everyone else, including city residents who, according to the DMV, own the 465,905 motor vehicles registered here, not to mention the millions of visitors/tourists who drive into our fair city every year (tourism is our most important industry).

Of course I don't think all car drivers are disabled or absolutely need to drive, though there are many in both categories. I'm saying that not only are cars here to stay in a rapidly gentrifying SF but that our economy depends on allowing them to move more or less freely on our streets. Nor is it a good idea to make it more difficult for Muni's 1000 vehicles to move on city streets, since an efficient, convenient Muni system is a better bet than the bicycle fantasy to get people out of their cars.

On the other hand, Anonymous agrees with me:
On the Market/Octavia issue, I am confused as to how anyone thinks that keeping cars on market street for several blocks longer so they can turn onto Duboce helps traffic on Market Street. It seems like the best solution would be to get the cars off as soon as possible. Also, I am perpetually amused by the people who talk about "European" cities that are doing this that or the other thing for bikes. The assumption seems to be that because it is European it is better. But the deeper point is that beyond Amsterdam there is really not a lot of biking in European cities. In any case, all of this money would be much better spent on improving public transportation (something that Europeans have, so that should be OK). Public transportation is accessible to the vast majority of the population, in inclement weather and at all times of day and night. Much better than biking, which only a few percent of residents will ever want to do on a regular basis.

Rob responds:
Yes, nicely put. The bike people seem determined to turn this major American city into a cutesy little Amsterdam-like place. And yes, the assumption always seems to be that other countries are better at most everything than our rather vulgar United States.

The ban on the easy right turn onto the freeway at Market/Octavia is just one more anti-car policy instituted by the city at the behest of the Bicycle Coalition.

The idea is to make it as expensive and difficult as possible to drive in San Francisco, thus encouraging people to abandon their cars and use bikes instead. This is a fantasy pushed by people who don't understand the country they live in. Our Muni system mostly needs more money for buses and drivers to improve it enough to lure more drivers out of their cars. Otherwise, the city and the bike people should leave our streets alone. What many of our streets really need is some new pavement, which would be good for cyclists and motorists.

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