Wednesday, August 24, 2011

San Francisco's Tea Party politics

Like the Republican Party on taxes, all the candidates for Mayor of San Francisco mindlessly support the Bicycle Coalition's agenda. People complain that the campaign for mayor is boring, but that's because the candidates are bores who have nothing original or interesting to say about city policy, including the bike fantasy.

Once again the city's political candidates submit to the SFBC's bend-over-and spread-your-cheeks questionnaire on their agenda: Do you ride a bike? If elected will you give us everything we ask for? Will you guarantee more money for bike projects we support? Do you support "reforming" Level of Service (LOS) standards of measuring traffic congestion and replacing it with our bogus, traffic-snarling "auto-trips-generated" standard? Will you kiss Leah Shahum's ass at high noon in Union Square?

Okay, I made some of those questions up.

It's not one of the questions, but the SFBC would probably like to ask the candidates this: Will you continue to support giving the SFBC contracts to organize Bike to Work Day and other events?

One of the many questions: "The City has established a goal that 20% of trips in San Francisco be made by bicycle by 2020. Do you endorse this goal?"

The only way the city could even approach that goal is by creating gridlock on city streets by taking away even more traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes than the radical Bicycle Plan. Recall that the Bicycle Coalition's former goal was "10 percent by 2010," which wasn't achieved and probably never will be. According to the latest numbers in the city's 2010 Bicycle Count Report, (page 4) the all-trips-by-bike percentage in SF is still only 6%.

Let's also look at the percentages of bike commuters over the years since 2003, when that number was 1.9%. In 2009 that percentage was 3.2%, a not-exactly-whopping increase of 1.3% in six years, an average gain of .22% per year! The city and the SFBC like to hype the numbers of bike commuters counted every year, but the percentages show how insignificant those numbers really are in the context of city traffic overall.

The genuinely significant impact this PC minority might have is, with a big boost from the lemmings in City Hall, how badly they will be permitted to screw up traffic for everyone else who uses city streets.