Saturday, May 02, 2009

Follia Urbana

Dave sends the article below with a note: "I thought you'd enjoy this article, which paints a picture of what SF may be like in 30 years if the bike crazies and anti-parking activists continue to get their way."
Peter Popham

Rome Notebook: It is quite common to have to drive around for half an hour looking for a scrap of asphalt in which to stuff one's vehicle

Monday, 20 April 2009

Last Wednesday, a few hundred yards from my home in Rome's garden suburb of Garbatella, two men got into an argument over a parking space. The quarrel escalated, both got out of their cars to explain their respective positions, then the younger man drew a knife and stabbed the older three times in the chest. Aldo Murgia, the 44-year-old victim, was taken to hospital but died soon afterwards.

The contretemps, explained as a case of "follia urbana" or urban madness, was particularly sad because Mr Murgia was only a week away from fulfilling his life's ambition: he was bass player in a rock band called Orchydea, a Deep Purple tribute band, and was looking forward to playing in Sicily next week alongside Ian Paice, the real Deep Purple's original drummer. The concert is going ahead anyway, dedicated to his memory.

Reporters in Rome recalled the last such case of "follia urbana" was in 2005 when two drivers vying for one space got into a fight which ended with one shooting the other dead. But the real cause of amazement is that this sort of thing doesn't happen twice a week.

In Rome there are never any parking spaces. Every park-able kerb space, and many where parking is banned, is occupied all the time. It is quite common to have to drive around for half an hour looking for a scrap of asphalt in which to stuff one's vehicle. When the effort ends in failure you double-park, and every day the air is rent by the horns of the cars trapped by double-parkers. It's surprising they don't kill each other, too.

A new report by a national tourism research organisation which canvassed 34,000 tourists on their feelings about Rome identified car chaos as one of their main beefs.

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Rob Anderson: Killer of cyclists

To some cyclists here in Progressive Land, I've got blood on my hands. On SFstreetsblog "the greasy bear"---another anonymous jerk among many---had this to say in the wake of another accident at Market and Octavia: "And Rob Anderson's blood-stained hands just got a little more crimson."

"Out, damned spot!...What, will these hands ne'er be clean?" Unlike Lady Macbeth, I don't lose any sleep over this sort of thing because I'm innocent of the charge. Typically, the greasy bear doesn't know that the Market/Octavia intersection isn't even in the Bicycle Plan that was the subject of our successful litigation against the city.

It's still not clear why the city didn't alter the stoplights at the intersection so that cyclists and motorists don't share a green light like the changes that were made to the Fell/Masonic intersection. It's not clear yet that the Fell/Masonic light changes are going to make that intersection any safer, but it's worth trying at Market/Octavia. 

In any event, the stupid ban on the easy right turn onto the freeway from Market Street has only made the traffic in that part of town worse than it has to be, especially considering that the awful, redesigned Octavia Blvd. that replaced the Central Freeway is now carrying 45,000 cars a day through the middle of the Hayes Valley neighborhood.

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