Saturday, August 29, 2015

Peskin and Christensen: Not a dimesworth of difference

Looking at their responses to the Bicycle Coalition's questionnaire, we know for sure that neither Aaron Peskin nor Julie Christensen are going to stand up for the people in Polk Gulch who tried to stop the city from turning parking on Polk Street into bike lanes. Granted, that bike project was already a done deal and couldn't have been reversed even if they opposed it now. But Peskin's questionnaire answers the question I asked when he announced his candidacy: Will Peskin's campaign help the people of Polk Street? Nope.

Their responses are slavishly, dumbly pro-bike, as they parrot the MTA/SFBC lie about the allegedly "dangerous" Polk Street.

Peskin has a reputation for having an abrasive personality, but on all important city issues, he runs with the lemmings. From his SFBC questionnaire:

Safety is key to increasing the number of overall bike trips. People won’t bike if they don’t feel safe. Out of all the Vision Zero elements, enforcement is something that I will make a top priority for District 3 and the City. Out of the known pedestrian and cyclist deaths that have occurred in the District since I’ve been out office, almost all have occurred along high-injury corridors where motorists have committed one of the top five driving violations---either speeding, violating the pedestrian right of way, failing to stop at a stop sign, failing to stop at a red or a blatant left-hand turn violation. I will also prioritize engineering investments for bike lanes that have been vetted by the communities they impact.

Peskin is peddling misinformation from the MTA about fatalities on city streets. Now that the MTA no longer publishes its annual Collisions Report that focused on streets with the most accidents, it simply asserts that wherever it wants to install a protected bike lane---on Polk Street and Masonic Avenue---has a serious safety problem that can only be mitigated by an ambitious "streetscape" project, which is really just a bike project tarted up with some landscaping and bulb-outs.

"I will also prioritize engineering investments for bike lanes that have been vetted by the communities they impact." This is apparently a reference to the Masonic Avenue bike project, which of course he will support, just like as president of the board of supervisors he sat silently as representatives from both the City Attorney's office and the Planning Department lied blatantly during our appeal against okaying the Bicycle Plan without any environmental review, an obvious violation of CEQA.

Instead of doing a real analysis of traffic accidents, like the Collisions Reports used to do and like Commander Ali did on 2014 fatalities, the city now declares every busy city street a "high injury corridor" without any accompanying analysis of accidents.

Instead of re-examining its dumb pro-bike, anti-car traffic policies after that damning UC study showing how poorly the city was tracking cycling accidents---and how intrinsically dangerous it is to ride a bike---the city has doubled down: Why should we even bother doing any tedious analyses to figure out where/why accidents happen when we can declare virtually the whole city a "high-injury corridor" and then do whatever "improvements" we want to city streets based on an unsupported claim about "safety"? 

Peskin runs with the City Hall lemmings on that issue like he does on other issues, blaming "motorists" for pedestrian and cycling fatalities, when, as Commander Ali's analysis showed, they were the result of "bad behavior" by all concerned: half the 2014 pedestrian deaths were caused by negligence of the pedestrians themselves and all three of the cycling deaths were caused by the reckless behavior of the cyclists themselves (“A lot of it is[caused by] just really, really bad behavior.”)

In his earlier stint as District 3 Supervisor, Peskin earned a completely undeserved reputation as a radical, which was apparently based on his abrasive personality, not serious dissent on important city policies. He dissented on the Central Subway in 2011, which was safely too late to have any effect, since he and the Board of Supervisors---and every other so-called good government group in the city---supported Proposition K (page 143) back in 2003, which included no realistic price tag for the Central Subway boondoggle.

Peskin opposed the Treasure Island project, but he supported other projects---like the highrise condos on Rincon Hill---that have accelerated the gentrification of San Francisco.

Peskin and the class of 2000 "progressive" supervisors did more long-lasting damage to San Francisco than anything since the 1906 earthquake and fire.

Peskin ran with the prog lemmings when he voted for a resolution calling for a new trial for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

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