Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bike Share and safety

Letter to the editor in the New York Times:

Bike-Share Safety Issues

(“Bike-Share System for New York Is Built With Ideas From Around the World” May 22) left me with many questions about the safety of pedestrians (especially the elderly) in this grand experiment in greening New York.

New Yorkers are often threatened by bikers who obey no lights, speed down hills and ride on sidewalks. We are now unleashing a huge amount of new riders, many with no urban experience, without a clear set of rules.

Who is insuring the bikers if they get into or cause an accident?

What kind of identification is there on a bike so that a pedestrian or driver can find out who is involved if there is a problem?

What is the role of the police in enforcing biker and pedestrian safety?

It would be lovely to live in a city like London, where bikers stop in unison, in their lanes, as lights turn red. Sadly, I don’t foresee that happening here.

New York


Softball story on the governor

Photo by James Fallows

James Fallows is a good writer and a smart guy. I've read his stuff in the Atlantic for years, and I now follow his blog. He's good on China---he's spent a lot of time there---and on anything to do with airplanes and air travel---and on issues like false equivalence.
But his profile of Governor Brown in the current Atlantic is disappointing, more like a "long-form" smooch on Brown's ass than a serious analysis of his politics and policies:
“The budget is more or less balanced,” he told me. “To un­balance things now, they have to come through me. That is a real shift in power.” Meanwhile, Brown’s reduced and balanced budget includes more spending for what he considers the big challenges of the future: clean-energy initiatives, an expensive (and controversial) north-to-south high-speed-rail project, new canals and aqueducts, even California-based medical-research projects beyond those sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
Fallows doesn't ask the governor about his support for the bogus CEQA "reform" movement, and this is the only mention of his support for a potentially ruinous high-speed rail project and his delta water plan to pipe water to southern California. Brown on "clean energy"? He wants to "borrow" $500 million from the new cap-and-trade program, money that's supposed to go to renewable energy projects in the state.

Fallows quotes Brown: “I find that a lot of people are more invested in position-taking than they are in the inquiry,” he continued. “Generally speaking, I am in the inquiry. I live in the question."

A question for The Man Who Lives in the Question: What the fuck are you talking about?
Fallows has a reference to San Francisco in the article:
The city government of San Francisco has the manpower to put spray-painted markings around cracked parts of the public sidewalks, and to note which buildings have been tagged with graffiti---but not to fix the problems it identifies. Instead, it sends notices to the owners of homes and buildings saying that they face stiff penalties if they do not repair the sidewalks or remove the graffiti themselves. The kind of urban-dystopia stories I heard from Manhattanites in the 1970s or about Washington, D.C., in the 1980s come from Californians now.
Now that the city's budget is more or less in balance, maybe Mayor Lee and the supervisors can start paying up to maintain city sidewalks---and the city's trees, too, while they're at it.

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