Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Cyclists versus "motorheads"?

Streetsblog photo

The great thing about Streetsblog, once you wade through the twisted logic and misinformation, is that they're clear about where they stand: cars---actually all motor vehicles, except maybe electric bikes---are wicked and bikes are good when discussing any transportation issues. That's the assumption underlying everything you read in Streetsblog---that and "smart growth," because once people are herded into residential highrises, they won't need cars or have to worry about Muni. They can ride bikes.

They hate the idea of the "balanced transportation" initiative that we hope will be on the ballot in November (see where you can sign the petition below).

Streetsblog's latest attack (Many Motorheads Backing Measure to “Restore Balance” for Cars) made me laugh: "Motorheads"!:

The backers of the ballot initiative to “restore balance” on San Francisco’s streets are beginning to emerge. The “balance” they speak of would enshrine free parking and give over large parts of streets to cars.

As if those of us who object to City Hall's ridiculous anti-car policies have some kind of motor vehicle fetish. I haven't owned a car in 25 years, but I understand that there are more cars registered in the city now than there were back in 2000; more than 35,000 motor vehicles drive into the city every workday; and millions of tourists---tourism is our largest industry---drive into and around the city every year. Hence, it's bad public policy to keep putting the squeeze on people who drive in the city, since it only makes traffic worse for everyone, including passengers on Muni, which has 700,000 boardings a day.

And making it more difficult and expensive to drive in the city while redesigning city streets on behalf of a small minority special interest group---cyclists, who make only 3.4% of all trips in the city.

Streetsblog is bitter that City Hall has dumped both Sunday parking meters and raising vehicle license fees in its desperate attempt to placate increasingly restless voters and get the $500 million bond passed in November.

Streetsblog lists the names of those of us who have signed on in support of the initiative, as if doing so would intimidate or shame them. My name is on the top of the alphabetical list, and this is appended to demonstrate how bad I am: "Held up the SF Bike Plan for four years with litigation over environmental review."

Oh, what a bastard that Anderson is! How could any right-thinking person worry about redesigning city streets---taking away more than 50 traffic lanes and thousands of parking spaces to make bike lanes---on behalf of a small minority without doing any environmental review? And what was Judge Busch thinking when he ordered the city to do an environmental review of the 500-page Bicycle Plan? He and Anderson must be some kind of Tea Party Republicans! Actually, we're both registered Democrats.

Ted Lowenberg---who's a cyclist---is tagged with some typical Streetsblog misinformation: "Sued over Fell/Oak bike lanes," though he was only one of those who opposed the Fell/Oak bike project and appealed it to the Board of Supervisors. There was no litigation:

Since the vast majority of San Francisco’s street space was devoted primarily to moving and storing private automobiles, all for free, over most of the 20th century, most San Franciscans can probably see that more “efficient to use” streets won’t involve more of the same approach.

Well, maybe. November's election may clarify things. Of course the people of San Francisco have never had a chance to vote on the Bicycle Plan and anti-carism in general. Maybe the more than 96% of city residents who don't ride bikes to work will think they don't need "storage"---aka, parking---for their cars and trucks. Maybe city residents who drive don't really mind that, while the city is eliminating parking spaces and traffic lanes, they are a major source of "revenue" for a bloated MTA bureaucracy of more than 5,000 employees. And maybe I'm the Pope from Rome.

The main thing now is to get enough signatures to get the restore transportation balance petition on the November ballot.

Below are some dates and locations where you can provide your signature:

June 7th/8th: Union Street Fair (Union Street between Gough and Steiner)
June 8th: Haight Ashbury Street Fair (Haight Street between Masonic and Stanyan)
June 14th: Taste of West Portal (West Portal between Ulloa and 15th)
June 14th: Juneteenth Celebration (O’Farrell between Fillmore and Steiner)
June 14th/15th: North Beach Fair (Green Street and Grant)
June 14th: Noe Valley Summer Fest (Noe between 24th and Elizabeth)
June 28th/29th: Pride Celebration (Civic Center)
June 28th: Pink Saturday (Castro and Market
July 4th: 4th of July Celebration (Aquatic Park, Fishermans Wharf, Pier 39)
July 5th/6th: Fillmore Jazz Festival (Fillmore from Jackson to Turk)

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