Tuesday, November 19, 2013

City cyclist enlists in the bicycle war

Photo by betty x1138

A city cyclist's letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Dear Editors:

My best wishes to F. H. Buckley as he and his allies mobilize their defenses in Alexandria, Virginia's escalating "bicycle wars." As my city's recent history shows, the stakes are high.

Here in San Francisco the city will soon replace two traffic lanes and more than 150 parking spaces with segregated bike lanes on Masonic Avenue, an important through street which accommodates over 30,000 vehicles and more than 10,000 bus riders on a typical business day. All this for the few handfuls of cyclists that traverse the avenue during peak travel hours, according to the city's own figures. Like Mr. Buckley's King Street, Masonic is on a steep hill; even the project's advocates promise no substantial increase in bike traffic after the lanes are installed. Instead they have quoted exaggerated and irrelevant casualty statistics to portray a relatively safe street as a death alley in need of fixing. More than half of the project's $18 million cost, dear readers, will come from your federal tax dollars.

The "bicycle wars" ended here years ago when the city government adopted an omnibus bicycle master plan which promised the local bicycle coalition almost everything on its wish list. In 2010 the city's governing board of supervisors, in a remarkable act of neo-Stalinism, unanimously decreed that by 2020 20% of all trips shall be made by bicycle. The city's transportation agency, led by a man who boasts of having not owned a car in more than two decades, has treated the decree as nothing less than a diktat to be achieved no matter the cost to bus riders and motorists.

The local bicycle wars having concluded, residents and visitors to San Francisco are now dealing with the post-war occupation and the imposition of the new order by our collaborationist government. In a sign of hope, a small resistance movement, led by street-front merchants and neighborhood residents, has effected a reconsideration of a similar parking-to-bike lane project slated for commercial Polk Street. They must remain strong and vigilant. To the bicycle advocates, a bike lane denied is merely a bike lane delayed.


Deane Hartley
8,000 mi/year bicyclist
San Francisco, CA

Citations for my facts:

The city's Masonic vehicle traffic counts (page 26, 27).

Funding for the Masonic Avenue Project$10 million of the $18 million cost comes from a "One Bay Area" grant, which is federally financed.

Car-free Ed Rieskin, director of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency.

Successful resistance to the Polk Street bike lane proposal.

Labels: , , ,