Friday, April 12, 2013

Walk to Work Day: Paid for by city taxpayers?

Here's a message I sent to Walk San Francisco:
Walk San Francisco:

Does your organization get city money to stage Walk to Work Day? As you know, the Bicycle Coalition gets $50,000 from the city to put on Bike to Work Day every year. Do you have a similar city contract? If so how much in taxpayers' money do you get to promote your organization?

Rob Anderson

Walk San Francisco responds:

From: Natalie Burdick

Hi Rob,

Thank you for reaching out to us.

This event was not funded by the city. Walk SF organized the event, recruited corporate sponsors for the event and staffed with volunteers (as there are only two employees here). The SFMTA and the MTC did both make small inkind donations however (along with several other corporate donors like Ritual, FunCheapSF, etc.). They provided ad placements on a total of 15 buses and 500 Clipper cards.

Did you walk to work today? Or do you in general? SF is a very walkable city, but sadly 800 people are hit every year by cars (about 3 a day). This year, seven people have already lost their lives due to car crashes---these deaths and injuries are preventable by and large, and Walk SF is working to advocate for the changes needed to reduce pedestrian collisions in the city. Feel free to visit to learn more.

Thank you, Natalie, for your prompt response. No, I didn't walk to work today, since I'm retired. But I don't own a car and walk and take Muni to get around the city, which, as you say, is a very walkable city.

Could you provide some specific dollar amounts for the SFMTA and MTC donations?

Your organization's support for City Hall's anti-car bike projects on Fell and Oak Streets and on Masonic Avenue is particularly galling, since those projects will result in eliminating more than 200 street parking spaces in a part of town where there's a limited supply of parking for people who have to drive but don't have garages to park their cars. Not to mention that none of these streets has a bad safety record. These projects aren't going to make those streets safer; they're just going to make traffic congestion worse. But that seems to be part of your organization's agenda, which seems to be the same as the anti-car Bicycle Coalition's agenda.

Yes, it's sad that people get hit by cars and die in traffic accidents. But, like the Bicycle Coalition, your organization is pushing its agenda by creating the impression that there's some kind of safety emergency on city streets, a bloodbath that can only be stemmed by making it more difficult and expensive to drive in San Francisco.

The facts are otherwise, as reported in the city's latest Collision Report that puts the city's traffic accidents in historical perspective. The city's streets have actually been getting safer for everyone since 1990 (pages 4, 5), though injury accidents to cyclists are up, evidently because there are more people riding bikes in the city. It should be noted, however, that, according to the SFPD's reports, cyclists are responsible for half their own injury accidents due to their own recklessness (page 24, 25): "Fault for collisions seems to be evenly split among bicycle riders and motorists according to the SFPD collision reports."

Something similar is the case with pedestrian injury accidents, though the percentage of pedestrians responsible for their own injuries is lower than cyclists. As you can see on pages 19 and 20, pedestrians are responsible for a third of their own injury accidents. But the trend over the years is clear: the city's streets are getting safer for pedestrians. In 2000 there were 32 pedestrians killed on city streets, while in 2011 there were 17 killed, which is indicative of the long-term trend.

In short it seems that the MTA is already making the kind of changes that have been making our streets safer for years. It's disingenuous to pretend otherwise, and we should give credit where it's due.

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Bike dude attacks motorist in the Mission

A reader sends this item for our consideration. These bike punks are pretty tough hombres. They aren't afraid to attack women:
Rob...thought you might find this interesting ...

While working, i casually listen online to the SFPD radio scanner ( ...

At about 8:30 this morning[April 11] dispatch put out a call for an "A" priority 240 (assault/battery) in progress on Cesar Chavez in front of St. Luke's Hospital. Multiple 911 callers were reporting a man violently attacking a woman approx 50 yo with gray hair in a car...The man then was seen dragging the woman out of the car into the street and the car rolling away on its on down Cesar Chavez!
Originally thought perhaps to be a case of domestic violence, arriving officers quickly determined it was "road rage," cyclist vs. motorist.

At 8:55am, dispatch put out an "all" (citywide)...suspect wanted in a 245 (aggravated assault/assault with deadly weapon) occurred 15 minutes ago on Cesar Chavez at Valencia. Suspect is described as male, 6'4," 35, 210, wearing a long-sleeve purple shirt, black slacks carrying a black messenger-style bag.

He was last seen on a black bicycle heading northbound on Valencia and then east on 25th...

I'm sure your are shocked! lol

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