Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Masonic Avenue bike lanes: Gaudy monument to wishful thinking

John Pritchett

The cartoon above
 mocks the Honolulu rail project. 

No need for a cartoon to mock the new, bright green bike lanes on Masonic Avenue. A photograph will do the job, like the one below:

Photo: Kevin Hume

The picture above isn't really representative of the new Masonic Avenue, since few cyclists are using the new bike lanes, as I pointed out the other day. 

That makes the hard-to-ignore, brightly-painted bike lanes a monument to futility and bad planning, like the abandoned rail supports above. (Actually, the Honolulu rail project is more likely to be completed than California's high-speed rail project only because it's a much smaller project.)

Seems like bad PR for the project's supporters after a ten-year campaign of disinformation by City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition, with more than 32,000 motorists and more than 12,000 passengers on the #43 bus passing those gaudy, empty bike lanes every day. 

I've hammered London Breed for supporting this dumb project, but her appointed successor, District 5 Supervisor Valle Brown, is apparently determined to continue that clueless tradition:

Supervisor Vallie Brown, who now represents[District 5], recalled the death of Linke and said it renewed calls for The City to do something about the dangerous corridor.

City officials said from 2009 to 2014, there were 113 traffic collisions, 14 of which were pedestrian collisions and 24 bicycle collisions on Masonic from Geary to Fell.

While officials celebrated the new corridor, Brown said she questioned whether or not to celebrate the new corridor when she believed there was still work to be done. Ultimately, she said supported the project and said projects like the one Masonic will need tweaking when they first debut.

Since supporters of this project keep repeating the falsehood about Nils Linke's death, it now qualifies as a lie: Masonic Avenue and the Nils Linke lie.

On the accident numbers: I analyzed the city's "collision" numbers from the six-year period between 2004 and 2009 and came to a different conclusion about Masonic. 

But credulous city reporters and politicians now just parrot the misinformation in City Hall press releases about Masonic.

The only plausible "tweak" to the Masonic Avenue bike lanes is the approach to the Panhandle, where a right turn onto Hayes Street and a left turn onto Ashbury might provide a more acceptable route to the Panhandle for south-bound cyclists.

Just because you build it doesn't mean they will come: Portland and Vancouver spent loads on bike lanes for very little gain.

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At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the truth. Politicians are scared shit less by the SF Bike Coalition. If anyone ever wishes to run for office or are elected officials they know that to even intimate that the Bike Coalition and MTA made a mistake is a political death wish. So.....they toe the line.

Nothing will change, until perhaps when the city is in complete gridlock with all the SFMTA "improvement", then the voters will wake up.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I've always thought the Bicycle Coalition is a paper tiger politically. The problem has always been that no one takes them on, and the issues have never been on the ballot for voters to weigh in on.

Note that the last Chamber public opinion poll found that bike lanes didn't do well: 47% in favor and 46% against.

A really dumb project like Masonic Avenue, where, after all that bullshit and construction, the bike traffic is noticeably absent, isn't going to help the bike cause---and it will only make supporters of the project, like Valle Brown, look dumb.

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Gregski said...

To be fair, Proposition L, the "transit balance" initiative, was offered to the voters as a non-binding policy statement and it was voted down by a substantial margin. It's a mystery to me why non-cyclist San Franciscans put up with so much millenarian, "mode-shift" social engineering and the orthodox politicians who torment us with it. One theory: Motorists keep voting anti-car in the expectation that, "all those 'other' motorists will abandon THEIR cars thereby leaving the streets free and open for ME to use".

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Proposition L was poorly written---they didn't consult me, alas---and failed to focus on the real adversary: the Bicycle Coalition that represents a minority special interest group and its "progressive" PC enablers in City Hall that still lead the anti-car movement in San Francisco.


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