Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bicycle Coalition's radical new agenda

Like the unions that have been looting the city's treasury for years, the anti-car SF Bicycle Coalition still isn't satisfied. Even though the injunction on the Bicycle Plan has been lifted---and before that Plan is even implemented---the coalition is already pushing a radical new agenda to further redesign city streets on behalf of a minority of cyclists.

The go-to guy for the bike people on the Board of Supervisors used to be Ross Mirkarimi, but apparently Supervisor Chiu is now filling that role. Fresh off a junket to Europe to see how those clever foreigners do these things, the Chronicle tells us (below in italics) that Chiu is full of enthusiasm for the Bicycle Coalition's radical new agenda. (How much did Chiu's junket cost city taxpayers?)

One of the ideas Chiu and the Bicycle Coalition are pushing is that of bike lifts (see the video below to learn how they work). Actually, this isn't really a completely new idea, since it was included in the Bicycle Plan (see the Network Doc., page 26) for Pacific Street, from Polk Street up the hill to Mason Street. That means that six blocks of street parking will have to be removed to install the bike lift on the steep, eastbound lane of Pacific. The bike lift itself will cost $1 million.

Ten years from now, 20 percent of the trips taken in San Francisco should be done by bike, more than double the current rate. That's the vision of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who last month pedaled through the bike-friendly Netherlands on a fact-finding mission with other government officials from San Francisco, Marin and the North Bay.

Reaching that target would require a big infusion of funding and probably dramatic changes to major traffic corridors. Chiu plans to introduce a resolution Tuesday that calls for the 20 percent goal.

A report issued in 2008 by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency found that 6 percent of all trips in San Francisco were made by bike; officials estimate that, based on targeted bike counts, the number has increased since then. People walking, driving and taking transit account for the rest.

Mayor Gavin Newsom set a target of 10 percent for bike trips by this year. Chiu believes that the share of bike trips can and should be dramatically higher, if the city makes the commitment to make two-wheel travel safer and more convenient. Newsom, Chiu and other city officials want to promote biking as a way to improve health, ease traffic congestion and combat global warming.

To achieve the 20 percent goal, Chiu is taking a cue from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which recently unveiled a campaign called "Connecting the City." The plan envisions building a series of separated bikeways along such streets as the Embarcadero, Valencia Street, Fell Street, Oak Street and San Jose Avenue that create physical barriers between vehicles and bicycles. The plans also talks of creating automated ''bike lifts'' to help cyclists up steep hills and of building an over-water bike bridge to connect Fort Mason and the Marina Green.

The cost of the projects hasn't been determined, but the price would be steep. The city already plans to spend about $25 million over the next five years, mainly to build out its planned network of new bike lanes and add more on-street bike parking.

Striping new lanes and adding bike racks is far cheaper than constructing a bridge, elevated bike paths down the middle of the street and some of the other projects suggested by the Bicycle Coalition.

Chiu's push comes about two months after a Superior Court judge lifted a 4-year-old injunction stemming from a citizens' lawsuit that prevented San Francisco from moving forward with all but a handful of bike improvement projects outlined in the city's Bicycle Plan until an environmental impact report looking at the potential impacts on parking and traffic was completed.

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At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even as a cyclist I think this is a dumb idea. All of the hills in SF are relatively easy to go around. What is missing here is that even if you used the "bike lift" to get to the top of these steep hills, it isn't safe to ride down them, particularly so with the disdain for safety and traffic laws shown by many cyclists. I am envisioning a huge increase in crashes, both solo and those involving other vehicles and pedestrians.

This is money better spent elsewhere.

At 1:22 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

The only bike lift in the proposal is to get up to the GG Bridge. There is no way around it - the bridge is at a higher elevation. The downhill is not particularly treacherous - you ride down a hill which is less steep - and one way downhill.

The primary user of the bike lift would be the hordes of tourists who rent bikes and ride across the bridge - a less fit crowd than the locals who ride frequently, and that crowd tends to ride their bike to Sausalito and take the ferry back.

As such, the novelty of the bike lift would be something that would attract more tourists - which are a large part of the lifeblood of San Francisco's economy (Reference: Anderson, Rob).

At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Robert said...

make it $10 a pop to use - make it pay for itself.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous kwk said...

These yo-yo's like Chiu take their myopic preconceptions with them on trips such as this Copenhagen one. They'll go to the tourist sites, gawk at say Hans Christian Andersen Blvd and gush on about how fabulous Europe & the bike culture is. And be completely oblivious to the fact that they're gazing across between six & nine lanes of automobile traffic!

The streetsblog article on the
"Bold Path Forward" bike plan depicts Valencia St with bike lanes in the middle with single auto lanes in each direction and no place for delivery trucks, taxis, etc., to unload! Plus the pedestrians are crossing in front of cars at a red light!

More fantasies from the SFBC.

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bike lift to the GG bridge from the pedestrian path below? That's not even steep and it's very short... the rent-a-bike tourists usually just walk up (it's a couple of switch-backs) if they can't ride it. Oh, probably you mean to get from Mason Street up to the bike path that leads to the bridge? Yeah, that's a short but challenging hill for a novice rider, but I don't think anyone is put off by it, they just walk up if they need to.

The presence of that hill certainly doesn't disuade people from renting a bike and riding, particularly since they don't even find out about the hill until they've rented the bike and commenced riding. This wouldn't generate even one new dollar of tourist revenue.

If the rent-a-bike people are pushing for this, let THEM pay for it!

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the middle with single auto lanes in each direction and no place for delivery trucks, taxis, etc., to unload!

They can just stop in the travel lane. They do it on Market all the time, why not Valencia?

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@kwk - that illustration shows parking on each side of the road - that's where deliveries are done now and always will be.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"The only bike lift in the proposal is to get up to the GG Bridge."

Yes, the Bicycle Coalition's latest wish list includes the bridge lift, but I was referring to page 26 on Pacific Ave. in the Network Document, which introduces the bike lift idea as an "improvement option" for Pacific to Mason on bike Route #10.
Recall that the original Bicycle Plan that was the subject of the litigation consisted of the Framework Doc. and the Network Doc. The city tried to hide the latter over at the SFCTA when they pretended that the Bicycle Plan consisted of only the Framework Doc. The court didn't go for the subterfuge, and Judge Busch ordered the city to review both docs.

Maybe the Network Doc. is no longer operational, but the the BOS, sitting as the SFCTA board, passed it way back in 2005. In any event, installing those lifts requires that all street parking be removed first, which, regardless of where the lifts are installed, will be a hard sell in the neighborhoods.

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

The other thing he saw in Copenhagen are "below grade" street garbage cans. Cans and bottles in one side and trash in the other, they drop down about 8 feet into the canister, and no access to the materials by anyone but the trash collector. Then a collection truck with a hoist lifts them out and dumps them in truck, returns them empty into the ground. Now that is a cool idea that will stop the street folks from taking out cans and scattering trash all over the city. However you know that will never happen in SF cause the progressives want street people to make a living....and it is such a "regressive republican idea"...would be the way they would spin it.

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Below-grade trash containers that can't be pawed through by homeless scavengers... now THERE'S an idea I could get behind. I'd even be willing to pay for it.

Only in San Francisco would the theft of people's trash and recyclables be considered "earning a living." It's theft (and theft of valuable recyclables drives up trash collection rates for everyone.)

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, and the homeless are just folks who can't pay the rent, graffiti/tagging is an art genre, Critical Mass is designed to win support for cycling in SF, and Muni drivers are an oppressed minority. Our "progressive" political culture is based on so many delusions it's hard to keep track of them all.

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I'm pretty sure it's common knowledge that Chiu doesn't own a car. He also represents the densest district in the city.

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

That's no excuse.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

That's no excuse for what? Wanting to use a mode of transport that doesn't waste huge amounts of space and resources?

Or no excuse for having an opinion that differs from yours?

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No excuse for being a bike nut and promoting policies that are going to make city traffic worse on behalf of an obnoxious minority.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

That man bikes - a "bike nut" indeed! Chiu should be publicly flogged for his sins.

He's not someone who just doesn't feel like wasting time, money and resources on an automobile. He lives on Polk and works at City Hall, that's a straight shot - Muni or bike. If he drove, you'd bitch he got free parking.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

But really though Rob. He, himself, uses modes other then a car to get around. Why, then, is it so far fetched that he would push to help those modes? He's be a fairly (though there are a couple times he's really upset me) good advocate for Muni. If our Supes were required to ride Muni (or even just the MTA board) we'd see them realizing just how much work needs to be done. As a fellow cyclist, Chiu sees that our city needs to improve existing routes because he is out there.

We've had 70 + years of car centric growth in this city, and now we are seeing we just don't have the space or the resources for that to continue. I really don't see how a couple streets getting repainted is really going to bring the demise you speak of.

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Why don't you come off the "modes" crap? You're only talking about bikes. Cars and buses are now moving pretty well on our streets, especially when you consider that so many of them have only two lanes. We're ot talking about just painting in a few bike lanes, since the Bicycle Plan is going to eliminate more than 2,000 street parking spaces and more than 50 traffic lanes, which is not only going to slow down traffic on many streets but also delay many Muni lines.

Like on other issues in SF, the bike issue is a triumph of PC ideology over reality.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I say "modes" because I use my feet, my bike and Muni to get around this city. Chiu does the same.

And if we provide safe and comfortable lanes for people to bike in, then more people will bike. That will equate to less auto traffic. I understand that you, yourself, won't be biking, but that doesn't prevent thousands of other from picking it up. Also, a little bus lane enforcement would do wonders to speed up Muni, especially thru downtown. Still have yet to hear you talk about that.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Bus lane enforcement. Sounds like bullshit. Let's have more info on that. Still waiting for you to address the consequences---which the EIR did and found "significant impacts" on a number of Muni lines and traffic in general---of taking away all those traffic lanes to make bike lanes. Yes, I know the city thinks that thousands of potential cyclists are poised to jump on bikes once all the new bike lanes are in place, but there's no evidence for that fantasy.

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

Bus lane enforcement is total bullshit? Except when you are stuck on a packed 30/45 trying to get down Stockton, 4th, or back up 3rd while everyone and their mother thinks it's ok to use the BUS ONLY lane.

And until the city starts adequately charging for on street parking, the loss of parking spaces isn't that big of a deal. We are flush with cheap (or free) parking which induces unnecessary car trips. Maybe a reduction in parking and an increase on price on available spots is just what this city needs to reduce frivolous car trips.

And if Muni gets signal prioritization, proper bus lane enforcement, stop reduction, and an expansion of bus only lanes then the so called "impacts" from the bike plan will be greatly mitigated.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I didn't say "total" bullshit, just that it sounds like plain old regular bullshit. A bus only lane on Stockton Street? Now that is bullshit. On which streets is the city planning to install bus lanes? Maybe Geary and maybe Van Ness, though we're still waiting for the EIRs on those ideas.

No, eliminating more than 2,000 street parking spaces as per the Bicycle Plan is no big deal to a bike crackpot like you, but it's important to the 460,000 people with motor vehicles in the city, not to mention 1500 taxi cabs, trucks (all our goods are delivered by trucks), millions of tourists, and people trying to do business in the city.

I would leave it to the people of San Francisco to decide whether their trips are necessary or not, not to a bunch of PC elitists in City Hall.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I really doubt you ever leave your house, to be honest.

"A bus only lane on Stockton Street? Now that is bullshit." Really Rob? You are going to call bullshit on something that is clearly painted on the ground. And glad you ignored 3rd and 4th, since you probably don't have any clue about those either.

"I didn't say "total" bullshit, just that it sounds like plain old regular bullshit." What the hell does that even mean?

And maybe we have 400,000+ registered vehicles in this city because it has been a priority to make space for them at the expense of every other MODE (walking, Muni and biking). And not just make space, but make it as cheap as possible through huge subsidies (cheap parking is a subsidy, curb cuts are a subsidy, repaving is a subsidy).

And should we expect a law suit from you if the Van Ness and Geary BRT EIRs come back saying that traffic will be negatively impacted?

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I was on Stockton Street in Chinatown not long ago, and the idea of an enforceable bus lane on that part of Stockton is ridiculous. The downtown portion of Stockton almost as ridiculous. This is the kind of fantasy that you bike people indulge in to the detriment of the overwhelming majority of people who use city streets.

You work for MTA, right? Why don't you read the annual Transportation Fact Sheet published by your own agency? That document tells us who actually is using city streets, and people riding bikes to work represents only 2.7% of the city's commuting population. Mobility and motor vehicles are what makes this city function, not a small minority of fanatic bike-riders.

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are bus only lanes all over SoMa. And NoMa Have been for decades.

How is it that our esteemed and "informed" host doesn't seem to know that?

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I don't work for the MTA, don't know where that came from.

And the downtown Stockton bus lane is exactly what I was talking about. It should be easily enforced, but it is not. There is rampant double parking at the Grand Hyatt (Stockton and Sutter) and many people just flat out abuse the bus lane. That is one of the busiest corridors in the city for Muni, that should be one of the first to be enforced.

And why are commute numbers so important to you? Because the MTA last reported (in 2008 so the number is probably higher now) that cyclists make up over 6% of all trips in the city. People do a lot more then go to/from work.

Also, I am first and foremost a Muni person. I know is extremely difficult for you to understand, but you need to stop deriding every person who slightly disagrees with as a "bike nut".

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

And since leaving ROW to cars is so important to you, I really don't understand why you are so against the central subway. It will keep those pesky buses out of the way so the "important, contributing members of society" can get to and from work.

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I don't deny the existence of bus lanes, but that it's realistic to keep other vehicles from using them, which makes them essentially a gesture based on a fantasy.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"And should we expect a law suit from you if the Van Ness and Geary BRT EIRs come back saying that traffic will be negatively impacted?"

No, but I of course will at least read the reports and comment on them one way or the other. Are you suggesting that the litigation on the Bicycle Plan wasn't justified?

At 8:29 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I have agreed with you many times that the bike plan needed an EIR. You just become blind with rage when someone disagrees with you.

Also, bus only lanes are not a "gesture based on a fantasy". They should be enforced either through increased SFPD presence or cameras on the front of buses.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Your sneering question about litigation on the BRT proposals suggests that I'm litigious, that the suit on the Bicycle Plan was unjustified. What else could it mean? Maybe nothing, since you tend to throw a bunch of shit at the wall hoping that something will stick.

City cops are already spread pretty thin. Enforcing the fantasy bus lane downtown seems like a low priority.

The cost of the Central Subway is my main objection. At $1.58 billion for a mile of tunnel is money that would be better spent on Muni. And no one really believes that the price tag won't go a lot higher before it's done. Boston had its Big Dig, and now we have ours.

The Central Subway boondoggle was nothing but a political sop Mayor Brown threw to Rose Pak and Chinatown when the decision was made to not rebuild the Embarcadero Freeway. It was a political deal, not a decision based on the real transportation needs of the city.

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

I made that comment because an EIR will obviously be completed for the BRT lines. And you got your EIR for the bike plan (so you "won", whatever that means) but then you sued again and "lost". Now you are talking of suing again, but never say on what grounds. You got the EIR you wanted, so in that respect suing again for the 3rd time is litigious, especially since you really have no grounds.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It's all part of the same litigation, Mike. We haven't announced the grounds for our appeal of Judge Busch's decision, but you already know that we have none? Thanks, that will save us a lot of time.

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does this mikesonn character even have a job? jeezus..he's on here all the time arguing and whining.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

You didn't get the memo I work for the MTA?


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