Friday, July 30, 2010

A how-to-fuck-up Masonic meeting

The city is determined to fuck up the traffic on Masonic Avenue on behalf of a militant minority of bike people. The second "community workshop" in the ongoing effort to achieve that goal will be held on August 10 at 350 Masonic. I was at the first workshop and wrote about it here. At that meeting the city provided some numbers that put the effort in a reality-based context: Masonic now carries more than 32,000 vehicles every day, and more than 12,000 people ride the #43 Masonic bus every day.

Mike Helquist, a bike guy who does the Bike Nopa website, has some questions for workshop participants to ponder: "Is there space for a landscaped median and a left-turn lane and a bike lane while keeping a steady traffic flow for Muni and motorists? In the midst of all that, can Masonic traffic be calmed so residents can enjoy the street and pedestrians can choose to walk along it?"

My answers: no and no. Masonic now works very well for more than 44,000 people every day. I often "choose" to walk on Masonic to and from the Trader Joes at Masonic and Geary and have never had any problems doing so. At the first meeting the city's numbers also showed that Masonic isn't really dangerous for anyone, except for motorists at Fell and Masonic.

In short, it's all bullshit and just another selfish attempt by the city's bike people to screw up city traffic for everyone but that obnoxious, anti-car minority.

For the context of the movement to screw up Masonic, click on "Masonic Avenue" below.



At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These people don't understand - there will always be cars. Especially now that Chevy has come out with the Volt.

Volt to the Rescue

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ride my bike on Masonic all the time (admittedly, not usually during rush hour, but there's always lots of traffic on Masonic) and I don't think it's particularly dangerous for cyclists. If they'd repave the road, it would do a lot more for bike safety than taking a lane away from cars for a bike lane would ever do.

I hate to quote Star Trek, but one of the Trek movies had an applicable line: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Let's hope they don't succeed in screwing up traffic on this important corridor.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Excellent quote..That's exactly why the Bike Plan that Rob challenged is so important to ALL citizens of San Francisco; those who choose to use a bicycle for transportation must not be allowed to dominate our roadways..which are used by a majority of auto users..

Thanks to the chevy volt and other electric cars of the future, cars will continue to be here. Bikes need to deal with it.

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody is arguing that there won't be cars.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave it to rocky's dad to misinterpret that article pointing out what a fiasco the Volt is.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And leave it to an anonymous bike nut to make an irrelevant comment about electric cars. The stupidity of jamming up Masonic on behalf of the bike fantasy is irrefutable, so let's change the subject!

"Nobody is arguing that there won't be cars."

This is offered in the spirit of compromise! Gee, thanks, Anon. The point is that the city and the bike nuts want to turn Masonic into a long traffic jam, which they call "calming"!

At 3:20 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Oh, there are some bike nuts over at Burrito Justice that do in fact argue that the end of cars is, yes, they do say that.

As for the chevy volt, it's your opinion that it's a fiasco..tell us why, instead of just pontificating.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

They don't understand the country or the world they live in. The fantasy about the demise of cars is tethered to the peak oil bullshit. They desperately want something like that to happen, so that we can all go back to living like Chinese peasants in 1964, scratching a subsistence living from community gardens and riding bicycles.

At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

rocky's dad - the reasons are already given, it's that thing called a "hyperlink"

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Still not clear what that has to do with screwing up traffic on Masonic, but thanks for sharing.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Rob: I agree. The bike nut rants have nothing to do with screwing up Masonic ave..they love to rant about the demise of cars..and how we should all go back to living on grubs and worms, riding our bikes all over creation to eke out a living on the land...yea. sort of like peasants did a hundred years ago...what a great life. If they like bikes so damn much, maybe they should all move to China and live that way...and deal with the chaos..and wonderful living conditions..

or maybe shut up.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Jesse said...

As someone who lives on Masonic and occasionally drives, bikes and walks the avenue, I find myself driving way too fast down the road even when I'm fully aware of the noise and danger it can bring to the neighborhood. I think it's a ill-designed corridor that does nothing but creates a freeway like atmosphere.

I think that there are some very reasonable things that could be done to make it a better corridor for everyone. I'd like a road that I could drive, bike, and walk safely.

This Us vs. Them" type attitude that I see from bike advocates, and from your very blog just shows what's really fucked up. There's a solution here that wont be found by fighting these mini-wars. Meanwhile there are people out there hoping a reasonable solution can be found for the avenue.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Calling for "a reasonable solution" sounds like a sensible approach but is simply wrong. I want to leave the street alone, and the bike people want to take away traffic lanes to make bike lanes, which, as the EIR on the Bicycle Plan tells us, will jam up traffic on the street, including the #43 line. The street now works very well for more than 44,000 people every day. Even though it may offend your bogus attempt to compromise, this is one instance where leaving something alone is the most sensible approach.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Some streets are simply not conducive to bikes AND cars..Just won't work..short of building a brand new city out in the burbs.

And, by and large, the bike people use the "us vs. them" attitude with regard to their agenda. that's a turn off to many of us. Like Rob said, Masonic works very well, right now, AS IS.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Jesse said...

I've made what I consider "reasonable" changes to the Masonic corridor, that don't turn it into some kind of unrealistic Biketopia. I've made them to the MTA and also expressed them during the last community meeting. I'll spare you the details.

I'll probably get more of what I want than you will, by voicing my opinions as a driver, transit rider, biker and pedestrian. Good luck with the "do nothing" approach and hunting that white whale.

At 6:45 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Please, don't spare us the "details." That's what we need. If you have a sensible suggestion, let's hear it. But the only way to "calm"---that is, slow down the traffic---on Masonic is by taking away traffic lanes. The question is, Why would anyone want to slow down traffic on Masonic? As I've pointed out before, according to the city's own numbers, there's no evidence that Masonic is dangerous for cyclists or pedestrians the way it is now.

My impression is that the whole effort to calm/slow down Masonic is fueled, so to speak, by the anti-car bike people, who don't like Masonic because the traffic moves to fast---that is, well---on that street. According to the citys' numbers, Masonic now works well for more than 44,000 people a day. Seems to me that the people talking about "calming" Masonic haven't made a fact-based case for screwing up that important north/south city street. The burden of proof is surely on them.

At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They desperately want something like that to happen, so that we can all go back to living like Chinese peasants in 1964, scratching a subsistence living from community gardens and riding bicycles."

I don't with that on all of us - I only wish that on Rob Anderson and "rocky's dad".

And Rush Limbaugh.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I'm a member fo the Democratic Party and support President Obama, so the Limbaugh gibe doesn't fit. But you're right to suggest that the movement to screw up city traffic on behalf of the bike people is a left-wing movement.

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous kwk said...

Article in Monday, 2 August 2010 Chronicle, "Housing plan sets off S.F parking debate," seems appropriate to this thread. Discusses an "affordable housing project" out by City College (ever seen a 'For Rent' sign at an affordable housing project?) proposed to be built with almost no parking.

Quotes Tom Radulovich, executive director of Livable City, who says "this is a great place to live if you're hip and urban and want to live without a car."

Their vision for the future: everyone in SF is "hip and urban," no doubt just like them. Can't wait.

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

Yes, Radulovich and the anti-car people are just so cool! Interesting how they consign the poor squares who drive the 461,797 registered motor vehicles in SF to some kind of unhip purgatory. That's why I think the whole bike trip is a paper tiger politically; if the people of SF ever got a chance to vote on this bullshit---which they won't, of course---they would reject it.


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