Friday, May 20, 2016

Lies about Masonic Avenue prevail

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Jim Herd photo

The Masonic Avenue bike project will not "improve" anything for the more than 12,000 daily passengers on the #43 line. It will even make the trip between Fell Street and Geary Boulevard slower, since it will permanently remove the two parking lanes on Masonic to make separated bike lanes. Those two parking lanes are now converted into traffic lanes in the morning and evening to help Masonic handle the commute traffic.

The other lie on the sign: that this is a "streetscape project," not essentially a bike project. The same lie is used to describe the Polk Street bike project.

In June 2016, the city will be breaking ground on the Masonic Avenue Streetscape Project. This community-initiated project will build a better, safer, and more attractive Masonic Avenue from Fell to Geary. After a multi-year public planning process, the project was approved in 2012 with improvements including a new public plaza, wider sidewalks, repaving, a new median, sewer and water upgrades, new trees, better lighting and raised bikeways.

There's a lot of dishonesty and stupidity in this short paragraph. Why would Masonic need "wider sidewalks"? They are already among the widest in the city, which is why the few cyclists that now use Masonic often ride on the sidewalks. 

Of course there's nothing wrong with the existing trees on Masonic, except that they have to be cut down to make room for the bike lanes. The "public plaza" will be the small triangular space at Masonic and Geary where some garish "art" will be added to make it "new" and unimproved.

The "multi-year planning process" on Masonic featured a ten-year campaign of lies and disinformation by the Bicycle Coalition and its City Hall allies.

But the biggest lie is about the safety of Masonic, which I wrote about here several years ago. Otherwise, hey, they got it just right!

San Francisco Citizen gets it wrong (He's gotten it wrong before): "I don’t think Masonic will be 'transformed.' I don’t think we’ll end up with a 'new' Masonic."

Of course Masonic will be "transformed," but the only public benefit will be the paving and the "sewer and water upgrades," assuming the city doesn't screw that up, too.

The primary beneficiaries of this project will be an unknown number of future cyclists who will get protected bike lanes. The city has no idea how many cyclists will use those lanes after the project is finished, but it won't be nearly enough to justify screwing up traffic for everyone else that now uses Masonic, the 12,000 daily #43 passengers and more than 32,000 other vehicles.

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Building bigger lies for everyone

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