Monday, June 17, 2013

More lies about bike projects

There's a story in this morning's Chronicle about the Grand Jury report on bikes in the city I wrote about recently. It's not clear that the reporter even read the report:

The spike in injuries has left cyclists wondering where to place blame. "My frustration is split 50-50 between motorists and other cyclists," said Heather Hunsinger, who commutes from the Mission to downtown by bike four or five times a week.

As I pointed out in my post, the Grand Jury report on page 25 actually reprinted page 24 of the latest 2010-2011 San Francisco Collisions Report that says that cyclists, by their own reckless behavior, are responsible for more than 50% of their own injury accidents. Obviously, that doesn't mean that the city should stop doing what it can to reduce cycling accidents---most of the Collisions Report in fact analyzes problems with specific intersections---but the story leaves the impression that we have only Heather's frustration to go on, that there's no information on why these accidents happen.
The story also says that the city is somehow dragging its feet and delaying shovel-ready bicycle projects:

"This city has a definite project delivery challenge," said Shahum. "Even when the political support is there, there seems to be a disconnect on project delivery." Supervisor Eric Mar, who reviewed the grand jury report, said he recognizes the need for safety improvements that could include things such as separated bike lanes, but said that the supervisors cannot do it alone. "My office is working with the MTA, the Bicycle Coalition and the Transportation Authority to identify and aggressively seek funding to get the projects delivered," he said. Supervisor David Chiu agreed that more cooperation is necessary. "It's entirely appropriate for us all to work together with all the agencies involved," he said. "We've all been calling for this, both publicly and privately, for a long time."

This is simply untrue. Note that no specific city department is named for not "cooperating," and no specific projects are identified that are being delayed because all the people quoted know that it's not true. Except for the Masonic Avenue project, there are no other proposed bike projects that I know of that include "separated bike lanes." Nor are there any city streets identified where separated bike lanes are even possible, since few city streets have enough space for that.

Shahum of course knows the notion that there's a bicycle "project delivery challenge" is a lie, but that's what representatives of special interest groups do for a living. Supervisors Mar and Chiu, alas, demonstrate that's also true of our elected officials.

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