Thursday, July 21, 2011

Plan to screw up Fell and Oak Streets

Thea Selby and the Lower Haight Street folks give us a chance to provide the MTA with some negative feedback on the plan to screw up traffic on Fell and Oak Streets next to the Panhandle, which will mean either taking away scarce neighborhood street parking or eliminating traffic lanes on these busy east/west streets that carry 67,000 cars a day. (The feedback form) The city's bike people---with help from their collaborators in City Hall, including the new Muni boss---want to create gridlock in the area in combination with the plan to screw up traffic on nearby Masonic Avenue:

To improve bicycle access between the Panhandle bike path and the “Wiggle” by providing separated bikeways on Fell Street and/or Oak Street between Scott and Baker streets. The bikeway(s) would have a buffer space and/or physical separation between cyclists and traveling vehicles.

Of course there's no problem now for cyclists to get to the wiggle from either Hayes Street on the north side of the Panhandle or Page Street on the south side. It's really about "taking space from cars."

A recent Bay Citizen story on the issue aroused the ire of the bike people.

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At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not ire. Scott James cannot stop this. Now we have Ed Lee and Ed Reiskin. You guys should just move to Toronto while you can. We are the borg - you will be assimilated.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even a buffer space or "barriers" would not have saved the life of Nancy Ho, who died while cycling on Mission st, and ,making an illegal left turn. I am sorry for her and my condolences to her family.

However! we continue to hear the insane rant over at Streetsblog about placing fault with everything except the cyclist. She was NOT wearing a helmet. She made an ILLEGAL left turn. I'm sorry she made those choices.

Then we have people at SB, such as "smurfsbackhoe" ( you know who I mean) who continue to call anyone who disagrees with him a "troll" and rants about drunk drivers. There was no drunk driver involved in this accident. His comments and ranting are disingenuous at best. They serve no purpose.

Let's talk about making wearing a helmet mandatory law here in Ca. It might have saved Nancy's life.

At 2:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

When someone like James in the mainstream media does objective reporting on the great, planet-saving bike movement, the bike people freak out, because they're used to getting a free ride, so to speak, from the local media.

On helmets: yes, the evidence shows that almost all cycling fatalities happen because the cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet. The "fix Masonic" folks seized on the death of Nils Linke last year to further their cause, but Linke too might have lived if he'd been wearing a helmet.

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

JohnB finds a home at District 5 Diary.

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no mike, that's Kim Kubik.

Nancy Ho didn't die because he made an ILLEGAL left turn, she died because she failed to yield. The turn is illegal because otherwise traffic there would become a clusterfuck. But even if it were legal she'd be dead because she turned in front of a truck. Which is not a very smart thing to do, and nobody, even "bigturftoe" would agree with that.

No bike lane would save Nancy Ho's life. But a bike lane WOULD have helped Nils Linke. The fact that Nancy screwed up should not stop us from putting in better facilities for the next Nils.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Since Linke was hit by a drunk driver late at night, what makes you think a bike lane would have "helped"? If Ho died of blunt force trauma to her head, a helmet may have saved her life, too.

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you are so fond of saying - a bike lane on Masonic will SCREW IT UP by slowing traffic. Slower traffic = safer traffic.

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

But, as the city showed us with its Powerpoint presentation in the First Meeting to Srew Up Masonic, the street isn't now unsafe for anyone, especially considering that it carries more than 32,000 vehicles every day.

Hence, all the city is going to achieve by deliberately jamming traffic on Masonic is just that. And it will do it on behalf of an obnoxious special interest group at the expense of everyone else who uses the street, including 12,000 daily passengers on the #43 Muni line.

At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the street isn't now unsafe for anyone - tell that to Nils.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Linke was killed by a drunk driver late at night, an accident that had nothing to do with street design. He died of blunt force trauma that might have been avoided if he'd been wearing a helmet.

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A traffic configuration forcing Calder to drive 10 MPH slower, and Linke being offset from the car in a separate bike lane would be far more likely to have prevented his death than 1 inch of Styrofoam.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what else would have saved Linke?


If we're just going to cherry-pick what we think has maximum impact, let's just go right for this. Would have saved them both.

Or perhaps we should ban mechanized transpo altogether. No bikes, no cars.


At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Works for me. Rob, you down with banning cars if you get a bike ban in the process?

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cars are here for the future. Bikes are for young assholes.

Case closed.

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like what anon @2:04 has to say. there is truth to that statement. I think biking here is largely a fad/trend that will fade in the next few years.

People are seeing how seriously DANGEROUS it is. Does it really save you time? Does it really do much to green the environment? Hardly a drop.

Let's push for better mass transit and more housing near downtown.

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

young assholes are the future, barring a fountain of youth.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

In fact few cyclists die in SF---less than 2 a year. But the number injured is surely more than the official 468 in the last city Bicycle Collision Report, since that number only involves accidents that require a police report. Many who hurt themselves riding bikes no doubt limp home to lick their own wounds and/or see their own doctor.

Robert Hurst, bike messenger and author, says it well: "Cyclists do the bulk of their suffering in silence. They tend to limp home, tough it out, and chalk it up to experience---all without notifying the Department of Transportation."

What's annoying about City Hall and the SFBC leadership is that they downplay the dangers to the point of being irresponsible, lulling future recruits into a false sense of security about riding a bike.

Back in 2008, two cyclists were killed were killed by a driver who dozed off, the Bicycle Coalition rushed out a press release to counter the bad publicity: "Is bicycling as safe as it should be? Not yet. As groups like ours work to improve bicycling conditions, the number of bicyclists in the Bay Area is growing steadily. That's good news for all of us because, in truth, not bicycling is far more dangerous than bicycling." This kind of interest group PR can be called a lie, since obviously you can be fit without riding a bike and risking injury on the street. And that sort of accident is completely out of the cyclist's control---drivers doze off, drunk drivers are loose on our streets every day, accidents can and do happen.

But City Hall and that special interest group are particularly irresponsible when they encourage parents to allow their children to ride bikes to school in SF.

On the one hand, the bike people insist that city streets aren't really safe; on the other, they encourage people---including children---to ride bikes in the city. Can both be true?

When I posted on children and bikes as a safety issue last year, I got more comments than I've ever gotten on a single post. Even the fury of the city's bike people after the injunction couldn't match it.

The reality is that riding a bike is the most dangerous activity of all for children, especially when it comes to head injuries. But the PC morons in City Hall insist that encouraging children to ride bikes in the city is a great idea.

The reality is that in SF we're ruled by people who aren't very bright---Parkmerced, Treasure Island, the Central Subway, the M/O Plan, UC's lower Haight Street project, to mention a few---are all terrible projects driven by people in City Hall whose heads are crammed with trendy planning bullshit.

They are doing immense damage to the city. The only thing that's slowed them down in recent years has been the Great Recession, which has made it hard for developers to get loans for the M/O Plan---40-story highrises at Market and Van Ness!---and UC's massive housing development on lower Haight Street. But they're deals that will eventually be done.

If you think traffic is heavy in the city now, wait until all these projects begin to kick in.

And a prediction: When we approach gridlock with all these projects, the bike people and City Hall will pounce on the Congestion Pricing plan! See, they will say, with all this traffic, we need to charge people to drive downtown!

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most dangerous activity for children?

Being in a car. Stats don't lie. We kill a few dozen a year simply by forgetting the kid is in the car and they die from heat!

Next in line is swimming.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

We can argue about which activity is the most dangerous, but advocates for childhood safety think bikes are dangerous for children, especially if they aren't wearing helmets.

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

Does that report indicate that children should not ride bikes?

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. You claim that the report shows that cycling is dangerous. You also claim that being a pedestrian in San Francisco is safe. But if you normalize the pedestrian fatality statistics for the city vs. the National cycling fatality statistics shown in the report you cite, the conclusion is very clear.

An adult pedestrian in San Francisco is more likely to die than a child riding a bike. Yet you claim that the bike is more dangerous.

This from YOUR stats.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The whole traditional thing of kids and bikes needs to be rethought, as we learn more about head injuries. It's not about fatalities; it's about injuries, particularly head injuries. It doesn't take being hit by a car or a bad accident to injure a child's brain. A simple fall---especially without a helmet---is enough to do permanent damage. It's irresponsible of City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition to encourage children to ride bikes to school.

When I was a kid, boxing was a huge sport, and my dad and I used to watch the Wednesday Night Fights and the Friday Night Fights on early TV. Now we know a lot more about the effects on fighters themselves, which we used to simply call "punchdrunk." Boxing is still on cable TV, but it no longer occupies a such a large space in the country's sports scene.

Same issue is developing right now with football. TV announcers used to joke about it when a player got hit so hard his "bell was rung," and a trainer would ask him who the president is and how many fingers he was holding up before he was allowed back in the game. Of course these players had concussions. The great Steve Young had to retire from the 49ers because of concussions...

I of course never wrote that "being a pedestrian in SF is safe." I just pointed out that, according to the city's own reports, pedestrians are becoming safer over the years due to the MTA's fine work fixing unsafe intersections.

I had to point that out because pedestrian advocate Elizabeth Stampe kept insisting that there was some kind of safety emergency on city streets, when the facts showed otherwise.

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anti-bike advocate Rob Anderson kept insisting that there was some kind of safety emergency on bikes, when the facts showed otherwise.

Cycling is fun. That's why kids ride bikes. Should we just put them in a bubble? Why have kids in the first place then? Name one recreation that kids do that is "safe" by your metric...

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Again, I've never written anything like that. What I've always said is that the Bicycle Coalition and other advocates downplay the dangers of cycling, which is irresponsible. In fact, according to the city's latest numbers, there were more injury accidents to cyclists---468---than since 1998. More people ride bikes, more people injured riding bikes, which isn't surprising.

But you bike advocates want it both ways---riding a bike is a safe way to get around and the streets of the city are unsafe for cyclists. Which is it?

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard the city is going to close all residential curb cut access.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I can't believe that even the PC dim bulbs in City Hall will try to do that. Property owners are unlikely to sit idly by while the bike people and their enablers in City Hall take away the curb cuts to their garages. They would litigate that degradation of the value of their property.

The city is now mulling over what to do about the Panhandle to satisfy the bike nut lobby, which of course has many enablers in City Hall, including the new head of MTA, who is a bike guy.

City Hall and the bike people can get away with ignoring me, but Scott James in Bay Citizen is harder to ignore. He busted the city's phony outreach on this project.

The city must now know that it's not just Rob Anderson who opposes the Bicycle Coalition's agenda. The city was stymied on implementing the Bicycle Plan on Second Street, forced to compromise on 17th Street, and still faces a potential shit-storm when it implements the Plan on Cesar Chavez and Masonic Avenue, the latter will apparently be done just in time for the opening of the new Target store at Geary and Masonic.

At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Wayne Puckett said...

You talk about cycling being dangerous, but you have contributed to that danger and are directly responsible for injuries & deaths because of your bullshit lawsuit.


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