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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Hamas targets nuclear reactor in Israel

From the New York Post:

Hamas terrorists launched three powerful rockets at an Israeli nuclear power plant on Wednesday---a terrifying escalation of hostilities in the increasingly violent conflict. But a nuclear disaster was averted when Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome defense system shot one of the rockets out of the sky and the other two missed their targets and detonated on the ground without causing any injuries. Extremists from Hamas’ fanatical Qassam Brigades boasted that they had launched the long-range, M-75 rockets from the Gaza Strip to the Israeli city of Dimona hoping to damage or destroy the reactor, about 47 miles away...

In other news: in Great Britain, like here in the US (last year City Hall and the SF Weekly took the bogus Islamophobia bait) the rise of Islamophobia is simply not happening, because, unlike many of their political representatives, people are not stupid. They understand that violence by Islamist fanatics does not represent most Moslems and condemning that violence doesn't implicate Moslems in general:

...It is apt, perhaps, that on the ninth anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings, the spectre of Islamophobia has once again been looming large in the UK media. After all, the assumption that in Britain, and in the West in general, anti-Muslim sentiment is on the Mosque-burning, veil-ripping march has been one of the most persistent political and cultural narratives over the past decade or so...Again and again, the idea of a seething, popular mass of anti-Muslim sentiment is invoked by politicos and pundits (some Muslim, some not). And again and again, this seething, popular mass of anti-Muslim sentiment never actually shows its face. The not-very-racist reality has consistently failed to live up to the burning-and-bigoted hype. Just look back: after every terrorist attack carried out by assorted jihad-espousing, al-Qaeda fanboys, there has been no shortage of politicians, commentators and so-called community leaders warning of an imminent surge in anti-Muslim attacks. And yet each time, the surge never came. A few months after 9/11, for instance, a spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police told spiked: ‘There isn’t really evidence of an increase [in assaults against Muslims]’...

Unlike Europe and the US, Hamas-controlled Gaza teaches its children to hate: