Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Valencia Street lie

What the city wants to do to Polk Street

Trying to reassure business owners on Polk street about the city's plan to remove their street parking, the bike people and the MTA like to point to Valencia Street as an example of how bike lanes didn't hurt business there. 

From the MTA's Complete Streets site---city streets, you understand, aren't really "complete" until they have bike lanes: "On Valencia Street, 65% of business owners feel that the introduction of bicycle lanes has positively impacted their business." [Later: Apparently even the MTA understood that the statement is deceptive, since they removed it from their site.]

From Streetsblog:

“Business people are innately conservative,” said Bert Hill, a sustainable transportation advocate who chairs the SF Bicycle Advisory Committee and ran for election to the BART Board in 2010. “Their whole livelihood depends on there being sufficient customers, so they’re inherently nervous about [the improvements], in spite of the fact that communities that have made the change, like Valencia, like Market Street, are generally doing much better”...

When bike lanes were installed on Valencia Street and car traffic was calmed with a road diet in 1999, it resulted in a revitalization of the street, despite merchants’ fears that the project would kill business.

These folks surely know that no parking spaces were removed on Valencia Street to make those bike lanes. Anyone familiar with Valencia knows that it still has street parking, which means the claim qualifies as a lie.

See page 3 of a city report in 2000 on the Valencia Street bike lanes that were created by removing two traffic lanes.

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At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not be surprised if SFMTA officials and SF planners all show up in cars to the next Polk Gulch neighborhood meeting, most probably city owned vehicles.

Why can't city officials ride bikes to the next meeting and get a taste of their own medicine? Let them try to carry presentation boards, binders and computers whle riding their bikes so they can see how wonderful their new policies really are.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger sfnowthen said...

A complete Muni line was removed in order to put bike lanes on Valencia, the 26 ran from City College past St. Luke's Hospital and on to Civic Center and now it's gone!

Will the SFMTA remove Muni lines on every street they want to "improve" in San Francisco for a small number of bicyclists?

At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see a survey on streets where parking space elimination is considered. This survey should take place on different days of the week for a couple of weeks: observe how may spots are used by employees/owners of the stores/businesses who feed the meters all day. I have no proof either way, but I suspect meter-feeding MAY be an important issue. Let's test this hypothesis. (How do most owners/employees travel to these businesses?)

At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over at Meter Madness they have an interesting statement by Ed Reiskin who is now willing to reconsider the Polk Street bike freeway plan and realizes there is strong community anger against removing parking from Polk.

"He admitted, “Their may be some trade-offs for some proposed benefits; and what I don’t think is a trade off is cyclists vs. small business and the health of the neighborhood”, ultimately ending his 5 minute presentation stating, “We have certainly heard a loud and consistent massage from the community expressing concerns for our proposals… our next step is to bring back additional proposals for different configurations that have less parking loss.”

But leave it to Cheryl Brinkmman to then speak up and say she wanted to remove as much parking as possible and she was outraged at the neighborhood outrage. Her comments seem to show a lashing out against taxpayers because they dare to question SFMTA plans.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Brinkman is an anti-car zealot and of course a bike gal. She was appointed to the MTA board by Mayor Newsom who gave the bike people everything they asked for even though they had contempt for him. I suppose Newsom thought taking shit from the bike people in SF was the price he had to pay for padding his "green" political resume.

What Brinkman said the other day:

“I want the proposal that doesn’t minimize parking loss.I was at that (Middle Polk Neighborhood Association) meeting, and I took offense.Anyone who showed up in support of the SFMTA would have been completely 100% intimidated to speak up.That was the worst public meeting I’ve ever attended.”

The anti-car bike zealots have had everything their way until now, except for the injunction against the Bicycle Plan, which is why they hate me. I wear that as a badge of honor. The idea that this obnoxious minority should be allowed to redesign city streets for their benefit---against the interests of the 90% of the rest of those who use city streets---is outrageous and unacceptable.

The folks in Polk Gulch are showing other city neighborhoods how to deal with an imperial, anti-car City Hall: Just say no to their bogus "improvements." The city should just pave Polk Street and leave that neighborhood alone.

Here's another classic Brinkman quotation, how these people talk to each other when they think we're not listening:

"With the gas prices high I'm now hoping for a short sharp supply shock---to really bring the point home to the people. I was cycling yesterday and just wished that the car drivers would all run out of gas all of a sudden and have to push their heavy hunks of steel with their bare hands to move them."


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