Sunday, July 31, 2011

Screwing up Fell and Oak: The fix is in---again

Illustration by Jim Swanson

The answer to the question in the head---"Does SF really want to engage car drivers?"---in the recent Bay Citizen story on the city's plan to screw up Fell and Oak Streets: No, of course it doesn't. The city has gotten away so far with ignoring the interests of motorists, drivers of what the bike zealots call "Death Monsters." In fact those who drive in the city are treated by the folks who make our traffic policy as the enemy, to be thwarted, ticketed, and soaked financially at every opportunity. (The city extracts a lot of money from drivers---more than $180 million a year just from parking tickets, parking meters, and parking lots.)

Scott James, who wrote the heretical story, is the first San Francisco reporter to ask that question of city government. I laughed at James's faux-naive question, which was like asking a robot a question it's not programmed to answer:

Sixty-seven thousand vehicles travel Fell and Oak streets daily---the streets are the de facto crosstown freeways---but when I spoke to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Monday it was clear the agency doesn't have any plan yet to gauge the opinions of those drivers. Transit officials seemed perplexed when I asked the question.

Just like they had no intention of doing any environmental review of the 500-page Bicycle Plan before the successful litigation that forced the city to do an EIR.

Let's do the numbers: 67,000 vehicles use Fell and Oak Street every day. 32,000 vehicles use nearby Masonic Avenue every day, along with 12,000 passengers on the #43 Muni line. That's a total of 99,000 vehicles a day on streets in that part of town where the bike zealots and the city want to "calm," that is, jam up traffic.

James rightly challenges the bogus outreach by the Bicycle Coalition on the plan to screw up Fell and Oak. The Coalition also got $250,000 from Caltrans and the city to do the public outreach on the Bicycle Plan. Guess how that campaign turned out?

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