Monday, January 14, 2019

What happened to "active" transportation?

In Outside:

I’m continually shocked at how much disdain and vitriol e-bikes—especially the mountain variety—elicit. If you raise the topic among a group of cyclists, as I did recently at Outside’s annual bike test, you’re sure to get an earful about how pedal-assist bikes are making the world a lazier place, causing all manner of trail conflicts and trail closures, and generally just ruining cycling. My position: Calm down, people. We’re talking about bicycles, not Satan...

But what about the moral superiority cyclists claim for cycling as exercise as opposed to the "passive" reliance on motor vehicles? Same question arises on the popularity of electric scooters, which is another reason that cycling has actually declined here in San Francisco. 

Alas, scooters raise the same safety issues as bicycles.

The Bicycle Coalition welcomes, more or less, the advent of electric scooters. After all they aren't cars, which, like bikes, makes them morally superior. But the coalition's director admits that scooters and bikes have the same safety issues and, interestingly, that scooter users and cyclists should share the bike lanes.

I wonder what SFBC members think about that?

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HIgh-speed rail and housing

Tom Meyer

UCLA management professor Jerry Nickerson thinks he has found a solution to California’s housing affordability problems: high-speed rail. Based on years of data, he has concluded that some Japanese who work in Tokyo and other expensive cities make long commutes on high-speed trains to more affordable cities elsewhere in the country.

What a fantastically dumb idea. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of undeveloped private land right next to the Los Angeles and San Francisco-Oakland urban areas. Most of these acres have little agricultural value and those around San Francisco are currently being used as pasture or range land, meaning they support a few head of cattle, while many of the undeveloped acres around Los Angeles probably don’t even support livestock.

So, to protect these lands from development, California should spend $77 billion to $100 billion or more building a high-speed rail line to the Central Valley, which has some of the most productive farm land in the nation, so that houses can be built on that farm land rather than on the range lands around Los Angeles and the Bay Area...

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