Saturday, November 28, 2015

Creating gridlock on the waterfront

The folks at Meter Madness/ENUF forward this message from Jennifer Wade:

As you probably know, the owners of the Golden State Warriors are hoping to build a new arena at Mission Bay, right across the street from UCSF's hospitals. Since this project has the blessing of Mayor Lee, it has sailed through multiple reviews, but is now subject to final approval by the Board of Supervisors and will be discussed at their December 8th meeting. If the board approves the project, the only thing that will be able to stop it is a lawsuit. Thus, it is critical that we let our voices be heard in the next 2 weeks! One way you can do this is by e-mailing your supervisor. The Mission Bay Alliance has put together a web-based form with a conveniently pre-written message of opposition that you can modify as you like and then send. It can be found here: It would also be great to have as many people at the Board meeting as possible. I will be there.

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Bikes will never replace cars

From Nick Schager in the Daily Beast (Why bikes can never replace cars):

Cities are congested with cars, and Bikes vs Cars’ answer to that problem is to do away with them—and to replace them with bicycles. Even if rising population numbers will make automotive travel a gridlock nightmare in the coming years/decades, Fredrik Gertten’s documentary forwards no cogent argument in favor of replacing fuel-based vehicles with bikes, for reasons that are painfully obvious. Cars allow people to travel tremendous distances (for work, for recreation, for basic life needs) at great speeds. They allow people to transport things with ease. They let people travel in numbers in a safe and efficient manner. And they afford people the opportunity to get around in horrible weather, cleanly—all things that are not possible, at least in any real way, with bicycles.

Nonetheless, Gertten’s film would have you believe otherwise, positing two-wheelers as the solution to a mounting crisis that, as one Sao Paulo bicycle activist opines, is leading to the collapse of the modern city. Those who live in major metropolitan areas might disagree with the dire view that our urban meccas are on the verge of total ruin. Yet such is the alarmist tone struck by Bikes vs Cars. When not sounding the siren about the imminent demise of our car-infatuated culture, the film lurches to and fro in search of different, barely related arguments to make against the car industry and the global misery and devastation it breeds.

That’s the film’s first shortcoming—namely, that it doesn’t really make a single, lucid point. The director begins by detailing the discontent of a few bike riders in São Paulo as well as an architect in Los Angeles, who lament cars’ status as the dominant mode of transportation in their cities...


City government as a jobs program

Quentin Kopp

From Quentin Kopp in the Westside Observer:

The City of Los Angeles is the largest employer in a population of over four million people, with 41,000 full-time employees, averaging $78,139 per year in salary before overtime or bonuses are added. San Francisco, with some 840,000 people, employs almost 35,000 full-time employees, without a peep from the media or almost all neighborhood associations.

Good point. But according to the State Controller, it's worse than that: San Francisco now has 35,771 employees making an average $80,575 a year.[It's worse than either of us thought. There are now 36,832 people employed by the city]

Kopp is also good on the Central Subway and high-speed rail boondoggles.

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