Saturday, May 24, 2014

Jason Henderson: Professor of Bikeology

A reader writes:

Jason Henderson has a column in SF Bay Guardian. His May 07, 2014 article has a photo[above] of students of the Bicycle Geography class at SF State. I wonder what they learn? Checked the SF State University course and it is listed as...

Course Number: Geog 435 (2014)
Credits: 3

Course Type: Lecture + Activity

College: Science and Engineering
Department: Geography (GEOG) Course Description: 

Bicycle Geographies is a brand new course offered this spring (2014). Topics include planning for bicycling in cities, bicycle culture, bicycle politics, and local, national, and global bicycling trends. There are numerous bicycle field trips in and around San Francisco. The class will also partner with SF State's Transportation Committee to survey bicycling trends at SF State and assist in the annual "bike to campus" event on May 2014.

The course is part of CSU’s “Campus as Living Lab Program.” It is designed to help campus planners and policy makers understand and remove obstacles to bicycling, including physical, psychological, and cultural. The course is designed to address two overarching questions:

1. Why do so few students, faculty, and staff bicycle to SF State’s Campus?

2. How can SF State increase the mode share of bicycling from 4 percent to 10-20 percent (this is a mode split comparable to the City of San Francisco goals)?

Rob's comment:
Pretty amazing that students get college credit for riding a bike and Henderson gets paid for it. Henderson even fudges in his course description, since the official "mode split" for cycling in San Francisco is 3.4%, not 4%.

For more on this guy, click on "Jason Henderson" below.

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No more Bay to Breakers

"Fun" at Bay to Breakers

Peter Hartlaub in the Chronicle covered the race this year (Bay to Breakers: A gangrenous limb of a footrace). He would like to see it continue, and he even has some suggestions about how to save it, but he's not optimistic. I say put a stop to it:

...I’m big on predictions (by choice or public demand, the race will be canceled in the next three years) and low on solutions. I’ve included three below, but two are merely stopgaps. I fear that the expanding problems that I’ve witnessed firsthand, both as a runner and reporter covering the event, are irreversible.

The main problems with the race — specifically what’s going on around the Panhandle — remind me of other situations that were passively “managed” by the organizers and city leaders, until tragedy or sheer size forced an elimination of the event altogether. Every year, just enough Bay to Breakers changes are made so city leaders can look a TV camera in the eye and list the things they’re doing, while the actual problems continue to expand.

The current state of Bay to Breakers is comparable to Halloween in the Castro, and two events from my college years: Halloween in Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara and the Poly Royal festival at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. In the final case the event was canceled, and returned a few years later under another name. That result may be the best chance for Bay to Breakers: A time out, and then a carefully planned revival...

...Banning drinks on the course if anything has sent more people to the Panhandle, which has turned into a bacchanalian free-for-all, infringing on a larger group of surrounding residents each year...The city’s response? Fence the park in, and let the cops monitor the scene mostly from outside the walls. You know your city’s leaders have no answers when they’re borrowing ideas from “Escape From New York.”

I spent about two hours in the Panhandle yesterday, and observed one serious moment of police action inside the walls, when I watched two SFPD officers force a hot dog vendor to leave. So let’s get the rules straight: Walking around with your penis hanging out while drinking vodka can go unpunished, but trying to feed your family by selling delicious-smelling bacon-wrapped hot dogs is a criminal offense? You know the battle is lost when the only two sober people in the park are being kicked out.

This year was definitely worse than last year, and last year was worse than the year before that. There were more drunks leaking into the surrounding neighborhoods in 2014, and there’s an increasing feeling of aggression to the crowd. Two years ago the partiers seemed to want to get drunk or get laid. This year I got a stronger vibe that some of the young men were coming to fight. Reports from residents support the observation.

I suspect the enforced closure of Alamo Square Park in 2014 drove more revelers to the Panhandle. And I suspect the residents who live near Haight Street, many of them longtime homeowners with loud voices that can be heard by City Hall, will resent this fact. We’re going to reach a breaking point in a year or two or three...

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Good turnout in Larkspur

SMART station plan meeting in Larkspur

According to the story in the Marin Independent Journal, the meeting I posted about the other day had a good turnout of opponents of the plan to overdevelop Larkspur landing.

Richard Hall's comment to the article:

And to your other question "what are people afraid of":
- droughts and water rationing
- disruption to schools
- higher taxes (a new high school in CA is $100m+)
- adding traffic to already congested area that's a nexus
- causing traffic to backup further onto 101's most acute bottleneck disrupting hundreds of thousands of car occupants
- putting new housing in places potentially subject to liquefaction during an earthquake
- putting new housing in a known area likely to flood
- increasing emissions of greenhouse gases

(need I continue...?)

All of the above trump your idyllic utopia where "even different incomes will greet and get to know one another and ride their bicycles to the market together." 24 people cycle over the bridge to the ferry terminal during peak commute. Let's keep perspective of reality.

The city of Larkspur entered into a station area grant to improve traffic circulation and parking. Somehow the entire thing was turned upside down by special interests---holding the same utopian dreams as yourself---and what came back was a massive housing plan with traffic and circulation presented as an afterthought. The fact that the new housing compounded the already acute traffic issues seemed like a needless detail.

Finally I don't think Larkspur residents are bought in like you to adopting "urban living." Perhaps that is an irrelevance to you. But for those seeking that style of living there are many alternatives rather than imposing your dreams on a town where the residents sought to avoid such over-development...

Richard Hall's blog: Planning for Reality

See also Mill Valley's Bob Silvestri on Plan Bay Area and related issues.

Naturally the True Believers in smart growth at Streetsblog sneer at these people: "If There’s One Thing Marinites Know How to Do, It’s Oppose Transit-Oriented Development."

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How many parking spaces has City Hall eliminated?

Mary Miles (SB #230395)

Attorney at Law
San Francisco, CA 94102

Edward Reiskin, Director
Caroline Celaya, Records Custodian
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
1 S. Van Ness Ave., 7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

DATE: May 22, 2014 


Dear Mr. Reiskin and Ms. Celaya:

This is an IMMEDIATE DISCLOSURE REQUEST pursuant to the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance (SF Admin. Code secs. 67 et seq.) and the Public Records Act (Gov. Code secs. 6250 et seq.). This Request is about your agency's "Citywide Census of On-Street Parking Spaces" ("Parking Census"). I request immediate access to and the opportunity to make or get copies of the following records:

1. Please provide records showing the number and locations of on-street parking spaces eliminated since the original date of your Parking Census in 2010. 
a. Please provide records showing all on-street parking spaces eliminated due to bicycle "improvements," including bicycle lanes and bicycle parking facilities since January 1, 2010
b. Please provide records showing all on-street parking spaces eliminated due to the "Transit Effectiveness Project" ("TEP") including pilot studies. Please include all records showing on-street parking spaces eliminated for any purpose related to transit "improvements" since January 1, 2010.
c. Please provide records showing all on-street parking spaces eliminated due to "traffic calming improvements." Please include records of all on-street parking spaces eliminated for bulbouts, pedestrian "improvements" and alleged "visibility" and "safety" improvements since January 1, 2010.
d. Please provide records showing all on-street parking spaces eliminated due to "Better Streets," "Livable Streets," "Better Market Street," "Sustainable Streets," "Safe Streets," "Walkable Streets," or for any other reason.

2. Please provide records showing the number and locations of all on-street parking spaces converted to yellow "loading" zones since January 1, 2010.

3. Please provide records showing the number and locations of all on-street parking spaces converted to red "prohibited" zones since January 1, 2010.

4. Please provide records showing the number and locations of all on-street parking spaces converted to blue zones since January 1, 2010.

5. Please provide records showing the number and locations of all on-street parking spaces converted to "parklets" since January 1, 2010.

6. Please provide records showing the number and location of all on-street parking spaces where parking meters have been installed since January 1, 2010.

If these records are in an electronic format, please provide them on a disk. If provided on a disk, please refer on the disk and in your response to this Request, to the Item Number above, in this Request. I will deem any response lacking such reference a denial of this Request.

If these records are not available in electronic format, please advise me of the cost of providing hard copies. If the cost of providing these records will exceed $25, please advise me in advance of providing such records.

If all of these records cannot be immediately provided, please provide the exact date when all of these records will be provided. If some of these records can be immediately provided, please provide those records and refer, as noted above, to the Item Numbers in this Request on any response, and provide the exact date when the remaining records will be provided.

If I have not received a response to this Request by 4:00 p.m. on May 23, 2014, I shall deem this Request denied.

Thank you for your attention to this IMMEDIATE DISCLOSURE REQUEST

Mary Miles

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