Monday, August 23, 2010

Fact check: More cars in our culture

Chris Carlsson, one of the founders of Critical Mass, is quoted as saying in a recent edition of the Bay Guardian that "There's no doubt we're going to have way fewer privately owned cars in our culture." Actually, there's a lot of doubt about that.

Information from the Department of Motor Vehicles on the number of vehicles registered in San Francisco for the year 2000: 371,786 cars, 63,556 trucks, and 16,537 motorcycles/motor scooters for a total of 451,879 registered motor vehicles in the city that year.

The latest DMV numbers for 2009: 381,737 cars, 59,751 trucks, and 20,339 motorcycles/motor scooters for a total of 461,827 motor vehicles now registered in San Francisco.

There are 9,948 more motor vehicles registered in SF now than there were in 2000.

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At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family had 2 cars in 2004. Now we have 1. 50% decrease!

That stat is only slightly more ridiculous than yours.

Vehicle Miles Traveled has leveled off and is dropping. This is a far more relevant stat.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The point is there are more cars in our city, not fewer.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

And you wonder why MUNI runs at a snails pace...

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Muni runs fast enough for me. What we shouldn't do: implement the Bicycle Plan, which the EIR tells us is going to have a "significant impact" on Muni lines on Second Street, Fifth Street, Cesar Chavez, and Masonic, among others.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does this post have to do with bicycles?

At 4:36 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Well..IMO, it has to do with how cars and bikes will have to co-exist in the coming do realize the population of SF is expected to increase...

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

@ anonymous, Rob and Rocky's Pop would prefer to put more cars on the road and more parking to handle this increase in population - you know, make SF a little more SJ (or Milpitas) like.

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Brotslaw Irving said...

Rob, you're crazy. Muni is a C- transport system. You need to get out and see how things work in functional cities. I suggest Munich. Shit loads of bike lanes there too, in addition to plenty of cars.

At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

So, vehicle miles travelled has plateaued and may be dropping.

Registered motor vehicles have increased a little over 2% in 9 years.

2008 856,095 (estimate)
2000 776,733
Population Growth is a little over 10% in 8 years.

Yes, definitely looks like motor vehicles are becoming less significant.

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"What does this post have to do with bicycles?"

This blog is not just about bicycles, Anon, though be default I seem to have the franchise on criticizing the anti-car bicycle movement in SF. It just shows what a bunch of lemmings city progressives are that I'm really the only consistent critic in the media of the city's bike/anti-car movement. Not all the bike people are anti-car, but the official bike leadership is, as are our rulers in City Hall. They insist that to make our city more like, well, cities in Europe, we have to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to drive a motor vehicle in SF. I disagree. I think that the opposite may happen---that this approach will only make our traffic worse and, in the process, damage our economy, which requires that people be able to move freely in cars, trucks, and buses on city streets.

The most interesting thing about the bike/anti-car movement is how it ties into other issues, like housing policy and development. There's a lot of overlap in the bike/anti-car movement and those in the Planning Dept. who are pushing aggressively for dense housing development along the city's main transit corridors. They call this "smart growth" and often invoke Jane Jacobs, as if 40-story highrises at Market and Van Ness have any connection to her writings.

Like the anti-car movement, the smart growth movement is going to damage the city by overdeveloping city neighborhoods, like Market Street and Geary Blvd. The city is already changing zoning regs to allow bulkier, higher buildings, with no set-back and no backyards in the Market/Octavia area with the Market/Octavia Plan that is going to damage some of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, including our landmark Civic Center.

And then there's the massive housing development on the old UC Extension property on lower Haight Street, which is going to destroy a state and national landmark and allow greedy UC to build 500 housing units on that 5.8 acre site, which, on top of the M/O Plan, is only going to add to that unfortunate part of town's problems.

I've written a lot about these developing, so to speak, planning fiascos, but it's the bike stuff that gets all the comments. With young city progs, it's mostly about bikes, which just shows how juvenile our political culture is.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous maozhuxi said...

100-km Chinese traffic jam enters Day 9
Monday, August 23, 2010 | 11:28 AM

A nine-day traffic jam in China is now more than 100 kilometres long and could last for weeks, state media reported Monday.

Thousands of trucks en route to Beijing from Huai'an in the southeast have been backed up since Aug. 14, making the National Expressway 100 impassable, Xinhua News reported.

A spokesman for the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau reportedly told China's Global Times newspaper that the backup was due to "insufficient traffic capacity … caused by maintenance construction."

The construction is scheduled to last until Sept. 13.

Stranded drivers appear to have few options when it comes to dealing with the jam.

At least some drivers have complained that roadside vendors have increased their prices to take advantage of the traffic jam. One truck driver said he bought instant noodles from one vendor for four times the original price.

Another driver, Wang, told Xinhua he'd been stuck in the traffic jam for three days and two nights.

"We are advised to take detours, but I would rather stay here since I will travel more distance and increase my costs," Wang said.

This is not the first time the highway has faced such congestion.

A similar backup in July kept traffic to a crawl for nearly a month, Xinhua reported.

Read more:

At 8:09 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Yea, right mikesonn..not!..You forget that San Francisco has existed for well over 150 years now with cars and growing numbers of cars..and it's become a GREAT city..

The hipster bike crowd was not around much 100 years ago..or even 75 years ago...think about that.

What you and other anti-car people seem to forget is that cars and bikes must co-exist in Sf to make the city work. They work well in places like London, and Paris and what's the big problem?

and do me a favor and stop disrespecting me by calling me another name, other than Rocky's dad. That's who I am.

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

Rob really jumped the shark with the "Muni runs fast enough for me" comment. I didn't think he'd be able to find more dirt to dig out of the bottom of the hole.

If Rob really cared about MUNI or anything other thing his crazed hatred for bicycles, he'd be putting some effort into enforcement of bus lanes and transit signal priority system.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Crazed hatred for bicycles"? Pretty stupid, Mike. You mean I hate bicycles as objects? Not likely, is it? Interesting how often I'm accused of some kind of hate by you bike people, who seem to think that any criticism directed their way borders on a hate crime. How can anyone criticize the bike people? After all, they are so cool---and they are saving the planet!

"Hate" isn't the right word to describe my reaction to the great, planet-saving bike movement. "Contempt" for the smugness and self-righteousness with which you push your agenda is more like it.

If you really cared about Muni, you'd agree that implementing the bike plan on Second Street, Fifth Street, Cesar Chavez, and Masonic, for example, is a bad idea, since that will have "significant impacts" on the Muni lines that use those streets, not to mention jamming up traffic for everyone else.

I ride Muni everyday, mostly the #5Fulton, the #43 Masonic, the #24 Divisadero, and the #38 Geary. These lines run pretty well, given the limitations of those streets.

Since you claim to be concerned about Muni, do you support the "calming" of Masonic Ave., which will slow down the #43 line?

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

You got me there Rob, as I clicked submit, I saw should have put "bicyclists" as opposed to "bicycles". +1 Rob!

As for 5th, there is so much extra capacity on that street it is ridiculous.

2nd St, I can't say I ride the 10 or bike on that route, but I have heard it is pleasant in the morning and have had it suggested to me on several occasions because there isn't much traffic.

Masonic is a freeway. It dissects a neighborhood. The SF Highway Revolt may have stopped elevated freeways but it gave us ground level speed zones. You might post numbers about safety and what not, but that doesn't take into account how many people just flat out avoid the area. I don't have an iron in that fire so my opinion is pretty moot on the subject.

Funny how you continue to bypass any discussion for enforcement of bus lanes as a way to increase (or at least maintain) MUNI speed. 3rd street is a joke for MUNI (30/45 lines, which I ride regularly). Where is the outrage?!

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rocky's Dad, neither cars nor bicycles have been around for 150 years.

The bikes were here first, though. case you didn't know.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"San Francisco" and "our culture" are not the same thing.

And the car registration figures need to be compared to the growth of SF's population for them to mean anything.

If 10,000 people move here and there are 9,000 new registrations, that's a much different picture than if 30,000 people move in and there are 9,000 new registrations.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous JeffSF said...

Mikesonn, a dedicated bus lane could be used also be used for bikes so that's completely out of the question. We need to ask ourselves "how can cars move faster and denser in residential neighborhoods". I suggest removing more of the sidewalks to allow for more car lanes. That should put those Walk-Nuts in their place.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The post was responding to Carlsson's wishful thinking about cars, which is typical of those in the grip of BikeThink.

We aren't going to have "way fewer" autos---or trucks and buses---in our culture, either here in SF or nationwide. Motor vehicles are here to stay.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More cars - being driven by people who don't think the laws should apply to them.


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