Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Andy Thornley is a liar

Chris Roberts quotes Andy Thornley in the current SF Weekly (The S.F. bike plan and its surprising discontentson the Bicycle Plan's impact on Second Street:

Andy Thornley, program director for the Bicycle Coalition and the plan's most vocal supporter, defends the decisions made for Second Street. He says the proposed setup is a "sophisticated" solution that preserves curbside parking while making room for cyclists' right-of-way and better Muni service.

Thornley is a liar, since the EIR on the Bicycle Plan tells us that it's going to have "significant unavoidable impacts"---that is, it will slow down---both regular traffic and Muni's #10 line on Second Street. That means that the Plan is going to screw up traffic on that important street for everyone but cyclists, which is the whole point of the Bicycle Plan all over the city. (See the Draft Environmental Impact Report on the Second Street project, Project 2-1, pages ES-14 through ES-25; and pages V.A.3-211 through V.A.3-233. Go here and click on "BIKE" at the top of the page.)

However, the bike plan doesn't equal better Muni service in other parts of town, according to the EIR---and that's the crux of the second appeal filed by attorney Mary Miles on behalf of infamous curmudgeon Rob Anderson, a Panhandle blogger, Muni rider (he does not own a car), and anti-bike-plan crusader, whose lawsuit in 2005 temporarily derailed the plan. Anderson says the EIR shows the plan will bog down traffic for motorists and Muni buses. And while he expects the plan to sail forward, he says he isn't done fighting "the crackpot assumption" that San Franciscans will abandon cars, Muni, and their feet "in favor of bikes."

Okay, but I don't know where Roberts got the idea that I live on the Panhandle, since I live near Alamo Square and the Divisadero corridor. Nor is anyone claiming that people are going to abandon Muni in favor of bikes. The bike zealots are arguing that people are going to abandon cars in favor of bikes in significant numbers once the Bicycle Plan is implemented. There's zero evidence for that fantasy, which surely qualifies as a "crackpot assumption." Since Second Street is mostly a traffic artery for people heading for the Bay Bridge, it's particularly unlikely that commuters are going to abandon their cars and trucks in favor of bikes to get to the eastbay.

Roberts writes as if my saying that "the EIR shows the [bicycle]plan will bog down traffic for motorists and Muni buses" is nothing but my unconfirmed opinion, which means that he did nothing to verify that fact and, while he was at it, learn that Thornley is lying about Second Street---even though the EIR is available online through the MTA's website (see link and page numbers above). The Bicycle Plan's EIR does in fact tell us that it's going to screw up traffic and Muni lines on Second Street, Fifth Street, Masonic Ave., and Cesar Chavez, among others.

As we predicted more than four years ago---and were vilified for doing so---the Bicycle Plan is going to make traffic worse for everyone but cyclists in San Francisco by taking away traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes.

The next scandal: the city is going to implement the Bicycle Plan anyhow, even though they now know that it's going to screw up traffic.

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