Friday, July 11, 2014

The Valencia Street lie goes national

Note the parking lanes on both sides of the street

Randy Shaw and Beyond Chron came late to the great bike revolution, joining the lemmings pedaling to the sea only two years ago. He doesn't know anything about the issue---or traffic in the city in general---but, as a good party line prog, he's been trying to catch up with his hipper comrades in the anti-car movement.

His latest pro-bike effort is an article reprinted from On the Commons (How to Inspire Millions More People to Bike). If Shaw knew more about the issue, he would know that the reference to the Valencia Street bike lanes is false, what I call The Valencia Street lie: "Another study in San Francisco found 65 percent of merchants on Valencia Street reporting that protected bike lanes were good for business."

Of course the Valencia Street bike lanes are not "protected bike lanes."

Clicking on the link provided takes you to a people for bikes site that embellishes the falsehood with a scholarly citation: 

A survey of San Francisco's Valencia Street found that 65% of participating merchants believed protected bike lanes had a positive impact on business. Clifton, K., et al., 2012.

Next stop on the falsehood trail is the Clifton study (Consumer Behavior and Travel Mode Choices), which is a study of Portland, Oregon. On page 5 we find this:

On Valencia Street in San Francisco, a study of 27 businesses was conducted four years after a bike lane was installed (car parking was not impacted but the number of vehicle travel lanes reduced from four to three). The majority of respondents reported an increase in sales or no effect, and no business reported a decline in sales (Drennen, 2003).

Clifton at least understands that the Valencia Street bike lanes weren't made by eliminating street parking.

We finally arrive at the Drennen study (Economic Effects of Traffic Calming on Urban Small Businesses). The first thing we learn from Drennen is how small her sample was: of 122 eligible businesses, the study only polled 27 (page 34). On page 35 we find the actual questions asked, none of which has anything to do with "protected lanes" or parking, since neither had any relevance to her study. Like the Clifton study, Drennen was apparently determined to show that bike lanes are good for business.

But the question is, Why would businesses on Valencia Street be at all concerned about the creation of bike lanes that didn't take away any of their customer parking?

And the study itself is essentially irrelevant to the debate that's now going on about Polk Street here in San Francisco, since the Polk Street project is in fact about taking away 200 street parking spaces to make protected bike lanes on a street that has a lot of small businesses and restaurants.

See this and this on the Valencia Street lie and the Polk Street bike project.

By the way, I see that Shaw has finally removed the Bay Guardian's "Best Local Website" banner from his remodeled site. I suppose if you think the Bay Guardian is racist, it kind of debases the value of their endorsement.

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At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

studies have shown that bicycle shoppers spend more time and money at location than average shoppers

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nearly two-thirds of Americans would bicycle more if they felt safer on the streets, reports the Federal Highway Administration."

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A study of protected bike lanes on 9th Avenue in New York City showed a 49 percent increase in retail sales at businesses on the street."

Weird that you didn't mention this Rob

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

80% of manhattan doesnt own a car so their local economy must be in RUINS right?

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This post is about Valencia Street in San Francisco, not New York. But how the Valencia bike lanes are being used dishonestly to promote cycling in general makes you wonder about the other evidence pro-bike writers use to promote that cause.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The Valencia Lie has been adopted by Alternet.

"A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on."

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous sfthen said...

You gotta love this "anonymous" (probably one of those bicycle creeps who was living with mom and dad in Cleveland three months ago but now they're hip-in-Frisco) who claims "a study," "a report," "studies have shown"--what studies? Where? What was the methodology? Who did these studies, the SFBC? What a joke!

Here's a study, it's of Valencia Street so you go there yourself: what businesses are booming? All those new stores that would fit right in at a tony, upscale suburban shopping mall?
Then watch all the Two Wheel Google Buses rolling around entitled, privileged, not stopping and shopping, contributing nothing:
Valencia Businesses That Bikes Destroyed

If that's not enough go to Church and 30th and look at that little commercial district barely hanging on after the SFMTA the removed all the street parking, just like SFMTA wants to destroy Polk St business.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Removing parking can have an impact on small businesses, but it's not clear that the Valencia Street bike lanes have any impact at all on businesses in the area. But your tally shows that they surely didn't have a positive impact on businesses in the area. Gentrification and the rise in rents are what probably doomed all those businesses.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Ed Reiskin gets a city vehicle? I know he has made public statements that he has not used a car in 20 years, but I wonder if that is really still the case?

I do know that some of the MTA planners arrived at one of the Polk Street neighborhood meetings in city vehicles, and used the excuse that they "rode together".

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that cyclists spend a lot of money at those businesses

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This post is about Valencia Street in San Francisco, not New York. But how the Valencia bike lanes are being used dishonestly to promote cycling in general makes you wonder about the other evidence pro-bike writers use to promote that cause."

So anon cant extrapolate from the success of bike lanes in other cities but you can extrapolate. got it!

At 1:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those stores destroyed themselves because they sucked. It is always thus.


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