Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bike to Work Day costs city taxpayers $50,000

Below is a copy of a page from a two-year contract the city has with the SF Bicycle Coalition to stage Bike to Work Day. I bet most people in SF assume that the Bicycle Coalition pays for the annual promotional event. Wrong! City taxpayers foot the bill to the tune of $50,000 a year. In effect city taxpayers are paying the bike zealots to propagandize the public about bikes.

Bike to Work Day is next Thursday:

Exhibit B
Compensation and Payment
Personnel Hourly Rate (including overhead and profit), Estimated Total Hours and Total Amounts

Position Hourly Rate including overhead
Executive Director $50/hr
Program Director $45/hr
Membership Director $45/hr
Operations Director $45/hr
Bike To Work Day Intern $500 stipend per intern each event

Estimated total hours for SFBC Staff each event year 710 hours
Estimated total salary for SFBC Staff each event year $32,545
6 Interns each annual event $3,000

Subtotal Labor Costs each annual event $35,545

Total Labor Costs for two annual events $71,090

Estimated Direct Cost for Print Materials, Supplies. Equipment Rentals etc
(subject to approval by SFMTA Liaison)

First annual event $4,455
Second annual event $4,455

Total Direct Cost for two annual events $8,910

Other Reimbursable Costs for Supplies/Equipment Rentals. etc.

(subject to approval by SFMTA Liaison)

Additional reimbursable expenses subject to approval by SFMTA Liaison $19,000

Total Reimbursable Cost for two annual events $19,000


Contract No. CS-157
Page B-1



At 6:01 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

I wish they would pay me directly to proselytize about bikes.

In fact, I should be getting paid to comment on this blog.

At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll bet most people don't assume that - why would they? Bike to Work Day is much larger than San Francisco. Over 200,000 people participated in the Bay Area last year.

The City pays to promote BTWD just like most large cities in the US. Thanks for helping to spread the word Rob!

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Surely you qualify as a $500 dollar-a-day intern. I'm thinking about applying for that one myself.

At 1:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Bike To Work Day Intern $500 stipend per intern each event" is clearly a mistake, as that number would mean the intern gets paid more than anyone else. It's either $500 per intern for all events, or $500 per event for all interns.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Maybe, but the "mistake" is then repeated with this projection three lines later: "6 Interns each annual event $3,000."

"I'll bet most people don't assume that[the SFBC pays for it]---why would they?"

People in SF---including me---didn't know exactly what it cost city taxpayers for the SFPD to babysit the monthly Critical Mass demo either until Channel 5's Joe Vasquez got the numbers for a story last year: $10,000 every month. (

Recall too how you bike people and your collaborators at City Hall tried to push the 500-page Bicycle Plan illegally through the process without doing any environmental review. Like all fanatics, you think you know best and can't be trusted to do the right thing in pursuing your agenda. Among other things, my role is to inform city taxpayers exactly who's paying for the great anti-car movement that's determined to screw up traffic in SF: they are.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

I agree, Rob. For your tireless effort to educate people about the bike plan, you definitely deserve some sort of stipend.

You've probably helped more people find out about it than even the SFBC! And you know what they say about the only bad publicity...

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Alas, most people in SF have never heard of me or my blog. Besides, the bike people are their own worst enemies with how they behave on city streets and, of course, Critical Mass.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

I saw a very scary thing two mornings ago. I was walking east on 24th at Valencia, waiting for the light to change for me to cross safely. the traffic was flowing thru a green light going east.

All of a sudden a woman on a bike with a CHILD IN THE TANDEM SEAT fly thru the RED light, narrowly getting hit by a car...

MY god, has it come to this? She completely ignored the red light..WTF was the doing?

What kind of irresponsible people like that are owning and riding bikes. What lesson is she giving to her young son on the bike.

This is one reason why many cyclists and the entire biking movement in SF is so hated.

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Rob. I'll pay your 10 cents if you don't want to.

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Darien Raysk said...

Rob - is there a way to contact you other than via comments? I am working on a ballot measure to ban loud motorcycles and filthy two-stroke mopeds in San Francisco.

Actually both are already illegal, but the cops won't enforce the law.

Are you interested in helping me get the word out?

- Darien Raysk

At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Dr. Garr said...

Propagandize? Rob, have you actually been to San Francisco? Biking is the future man, the city is spending its money wisely. Surveys already show 75% of voters agree with this. What in the world are you upset about?

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I live in SF, Doc. Where do you live? What "surveys" are you referring to? The David Binder polls commissioned by the SF Bicycle Coalition, where the questions asked are softballs designed to get the right answers? But city voters will never get a chance to vote on the Bicycle Plan, because even the bike zealots and their enablers in City Hall understand that even in SF the bike people aren't universally popular.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Rob - is there a way to contact you other than via comments?"

You can contact me at the email address on top of the blog:

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bike lanes are a good use of space.

5' wide in each direction.

Try that with lanes designed for cars.

At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bike lanes waste parking space and drive lanes.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The point is that taking away existing traffic lanes to make bike lanes in SF will screw up traffic for everyone, except cyclists, who will smugly weave in and out of the traffic jams and thereby show the superiority of their "mode" of transportation.

At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

When I can get to work faster on my bike than by foot, car, rail, or bus, and essentially for free, yes, I'd say that's a superior mode of transportation. And no, that's not by weaving in and out of traffic, through red lights, etc. That's stopping at stop signs, red lights, and obeying all traffic laws. I'm not the Critical Mass kind of cyclist, so a lot of their tactics piss me off, but I'd love to see more, safer bike lanes throughout the city. It's such a great city to bike in, and will be even better when made safer for cyclists.

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no price tag for the lives of humans on our green planet. Enough said. You know better.

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous devon warner said...

a bargain, considering what we spend on accommodation for cars and trucks. but we all expect those expenses, don't we? isn't that what we pay taxes for?

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Riding a bike will never really be a safe form of transportation---or safe enough for a large percentage of the population. Most cycling accidents have nothing to do with other vehicles, and cyclists themselves, according to the city's own reports, are responsible for half of their own injury accidents due to their reckless behavior on city streets.

The issue that you cyclists refuse to come to grips with is that redesigning our streets is a zero-sum game. If you take away a traffic lane on a busy SF street to make a bike lane---on Second Street, Fifth Street, Masonic Ave., or Cesar Chavez, for example---you are going to make traffic on that street and contiguous streets worse for everyone else, including Muni passengers. This is what the EIR on the Bicycle Plan tells us---"significant unavoidable impacts," is the phrase the report uses.

And anti-car SF policymakers think our city is so special that it doesn't have to study the impact of taking away 2,000 street parking spaces as proposed in the Bicycle Plan, even though case law says that parking is indeed an impact under CEQA in the rest of the state. The city only gets away with this policy on parking because no one has challenged it in court until now.

So the question is not simply whether the city can or should try to make cycling safer on city streets but at what cost and inconvenience the attempt will mean to the rest of us and, ultimately, to the city's economy.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Rob would you mind clarifying your opinion a little bit? Are you saying that everyone in San Francisco should drive? Do you have some kind of problem with bicycles in general? Or do you just dislike the stereotype of a San Francisco bicycle rider?

I just started riding my bike to work in the financial recently, and I'm really glad that I started. I get to work faster then when I was riding the bus. I'm getting exercise during my commute. It's incredibly more economical. And obviously it's a lot more earth friendly.

I don't blow through red lights and I try my best to stick to streets with bike lanes. I feel a lot more safe on those roads then on streets without.

I'm not an expert on SFBC's whole scheme for the city, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't call for bike lanes on every street in the city. What's wrong with having a connection of bike lanes around the city so people can safely ride their bikes around? It might even encourage those reckless cyclists to ride much more safely if a solid system is set up for bicycle traffic in the city.

It seems to me like the better fight would be to create some kind of enforcement against those bicyclists who choose to ride unsafely. Although that would most certainly be a tougher fight since it seems like if someone is going to drive badly they're going to do it no matter what kind of wheels they're controlling.

Any way I would really appreciate some clarification on this. Thanks!

At 4:40 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"I'm not an expert on SFBC's whole scheme for the city, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't call for bike lanes on every street in the city. What's wrong with having a connection of bike lanes around the city so people can safely ride their bikes around?"

You're coming in late to this discussion, Jonathan. I've been writing about this issue for five years now. Check out my previous comment for a brief account of the problem in SF.

"There is no price tag for the lives of humans on our green planet. Enough said. You know better."

What lives? I don't think a single cyclist has been killed on city streets this year. Anyhow, as I've pointed out a number of times in recent posts, according to the city's latest accident report---available on MTA's website---cyclists are responsible for half of their injury accidents due to their own recklessness on city streets. It's that sense of entitlement that rankles. The city is somehow supposed to make your PC transportation "mode" safe by screwing up city traffic for everyone else---that is, for the more than 90% of the people who now use city streets, including passengers on public transportation.

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

I'm curious how much your lawsuit cost the taxpayers.

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

It would have been a lot cheaper for city taxpayers if the city had just followed the law and done the EIR in the first place. It's really a kind of civic malpractice for the City Attorney's office to have pushed the losing Bicycle Plan case created by the Board of Supervisors as hard as they did.

At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

Let me ask a little more directly - how much has your lawsuit cost taxpayers? Please give us a dollar figure in your response.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Your question should be directed at the City Attorney's office, since I have no idea how many hours they spent defending the indefensible. My lawyer collected six figures from the city for handling the successful first phase of the litigation against the city. The reality is that the city dragged the case out a lot longer than it should have been by, for example, challenging on very sketchy legal grounds the administrative record we compiled. Until the bitter end, the city continued to argue that it didn't have to do any environmental review of the 500-page Bicycle Plan, even though the law clearly required that it do so, since the Plan proposed completely redesigning many of the city's streets.

As I've pointed out before, if a lawyer in private practice handled a case like the City Attorney handled this one, milking his client for fees and expenses along the way, he/she could be guilty of malpractice.

Why exactly did the city push a case that even its lawyers must have known they were going to lose? For political reasons, of course. Our ambitious City Attorney, Dennis Herrera, understood that the Bicycle Plan was/is very important to city progressives and that, if he expects to be elected mayor someday, he couldn't afford to be perceived as not pushing the case forward.

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if everyone who currently rides a bike switches to a car. How screwed up do you think traffic would be then?

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Grio Urio said...

"Riding a bike will never really be a safe form of transportation"

You're very wrong on that. Just ask anyone in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, or most of Germany. It's much safer than driving, for example, if infrastructure is built for it.

I, like you Rob, hate arrogant hipsters. Little slappers who run stop signs and provoke rage with critical mass and other silly things. Annoying little punks - who now ride those horrible 2-stroke MoPeds too.

But anyway, my point brother, is that I think your beef is with these simpletons, not with cycling.

Like the guy before me, I'm a reasonable cyclist.

The quicker we get a bike plan in place the more reasonable cyclists there will be and the fewer punks will be around.

I assume, since the EIR is done, you are now in favor of the plan?

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"But anyway, my point brother, is that I think your beef is with these simpletons, not with cycling."

The punks on bikes are only annoying, and I have no "beef" with cycling per se. The issue in SF is the nature of the Bicycle Plan, which the city tried to sneak through the process without doing the legally required environmental review. You can see my thoughts on the EIR for the Plan here:

"I assume, since the EIR is done, you are now in favor of the plan?"

No, I am not. In fact we have challenged the adequacy of the EIR, and there will be a hearing on that issue next month. Once Judge Busch ordered the city to do an EIR on the Plan, the city not only had to do the environmental review but it has to return to Judge Busch and convince him that its review is adequate. We say it's not even close to being adequate. In fact, all the EIR does is reaffirm what the Bicycle Plan will do to our streets with inadequate-to-no-mitigation and no realy justification.

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of your issues with cycling could be brought against vehicular traffic as well. I don't see what sort of moral high ground you think you have? You love to attack insignificant details of the bicycle plan, yet you provide neither clear alternatives, or any substantial data on city planning to back up your ravings. I would hate to commit a personal attack, but it seems as if you just relish the attention, rather than the accomplishment. I hereby grant you the title of "City Infrastructure Troll".

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It has nothing to do with morality, just stupidity on the part of the city and the bike people. Try to focus on the issue here, Anon: the city wants to take away traffic lanes on busy streets to make bike lanes, even though, given the number of cyclists in SF, that can't be justified. By doing so, as the EIR on the Bicycle Plan tells us, it will snarl traffic on a number of city streets---Second Street, Fifth Street, Cesar Chavez, Masonic Ave., to name a few--- including "significant" delays to a number of Muni lines. Those are not "insignificant details," those are major impacts under the law, which, in this case, is CEQA, the most important environmental law in California. Like a lot of your co-religionists, you don't know what you're talking about, and you're all too lazy to read the EIR or the Bicycle Plan, both of which are available online through the MTA's website.

The city's EIR tells us that these are going to be "significant unavoidable impacts," and the alternative is to not do it; don't make traffic worse for everyone else on behalf of your stupid, nasty, ignorant minority.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

I would just like to let you all know that I biked to work today.

Where do I apply for my check?

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Apply to the City of San Francisco or the SF Bicycle Coalition. And then talk to your scoutmaster for your merit badge.

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

A postscript to my reply to Anonymous's comment: Since I don't believe that all the people who ride bikes in SF are this intellectually dishonest and lazy, I'll assume that they don't submit comments to this blog.

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you build it, they will come.


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