Sunday, April 24, 2016

Biking Increases Despite City's General Ambivalence

"We allowed a dumpster to sit in the bike lane for over 20 days, and people still want to bike in this city.  It's fascinating!"
image via Chema Hernández Gil
In his recent Examiner article, Joe "Transit Nerd"Fitz Rodriguez  buys into anti-car propaganda claims that the "Annual bike count shows commutes in SF up nearly 9 percent".  According to the SFMTA, "There are an estimated 82,000 bike trips in the city per day, an 8.5 percent increase in bike trips from 2014 to 2015".  And while I wholeheartedly disagree with data in favor of firmly held beliefs, I'm delighted to see that the city continues to show general ambivalence and some distain to biking, despite the increase in numbers.

A SFMTA representative said, "Yeah we're really shocked the numbers went up, even with our disjointed 'bike network' or whatever you want to call it.  San Francisco even had a 'bike injunction' from 2006-2010.  Our bike plan was held up in court on the presumption that the bicycle plan could cause 'significant damage to the environment and therefore requires an environment review under the California Environmental Quality Act'.  Can you imagine?  Nothing could be done, because removing travel lanes and parking spaces in favor of bike lanes CAUSE cars to CAUSE more congestion.  Our self proclaimed 'green, environmentally friendly, progressive city' couldn't even put in bike sharrows or bike racks because it could ruin the environment!"
"This is the best we can do for your bicycling children, because: Parking > Children"
Unfortunately the bike injunction was lifted, but the spirit of saving parking remains, even with our SFMTA Director of Sustainable Streets, Tom Maguire.  He said he enjoys cycling with his kids on that one mile stretch of "parking protected" Golden Gate Park.  Maguire said, "That’s a weak design choice the city will employ, because just like Golden Gate Park, the city sorely needs as much on-street parking as possible." Maguire added, “We don’t want to make a choice between parking and cyclists” and rarely ever does.

The SFPD has been trying to curb biking for years, and explained, "We also can't believe bicycling increased even though we rarely ticket motorists in bike lanes, or for anything really.  We had police officers dedicated thousands of dollars to ticketing people in those tiny, nimble, relatively slow moving vehicles and the numbers still increased!  We don't even crackdown on Valencia street, where you'd be hard pressed to find a second of the day when there's not some car parked in the bike lane, and we even have a police station on the street!  What are these bikers thinking!? We don't care about biking and you shouldn't either!"

"Don't expect us to unblock bike lanes when we have Wiggle stop sign rolling bikers to deal with"- SFPD, probably.
image via SFGreen
"Despite the fact that none of this paint 'infrastructure' is adequately enforced, we'll continue to install miles of paint on the streets of SF."
 image via 0xEugene
Even Mayor Lee is taking his piece of credit for the uptick.  Despite only using his bike for photo-ops, he said, “as San Francisco grows in population, housing and jobs, it is critical that we offer shoddy and disjointed bike infrastructure that never removes even a thread of parking.  We'll also make sure to increase enforcement on this safe and affordable way of getting around the City,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “And that's why I vetoed the 'bike yield law', to help make biking an even more unattractive option in the city.  Hell, I might even slice up a bike lane again for one of my optometrist buddies!"
"I want to treat these 'vehicles' exactly the same, for safety of course!" - Mayor Lee, probably.
“Despite our lack of efforts, bicycling is San Francisco’s fastest growing mode of transportation,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Politician of Transportation. “We're not entirely sure why it's happening.  Have you seen Market Street, aka "Gauntlet Street" before?  Yikes!  With hundreds of thousands of new bike trips each year, we’re committed to watering down our bike plans while making parking plentiful for motorists.  Expect to see more half-hearted bike 'infrastructure' that will undoubtedly get blocked by hordes of cars, and expect more SFPD bike crackdowns of course."
The city is full of poorly painted bike lanes with motorists double-parked daily.  If we reach our city's official goal of 20 percent of trips by bike by 2020 it won't be from our efforts.” Ed Reiskin, probably.
image via Adam Long

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"Everyone Plays a Part in Chainsaw Safety"

"Everyone plays a part in chainsaw safety, from the people wielding chainsaws, to the people scurrying in fear around chainsaws."
image found here
A century honored tradition of wielding chainsaws in the city may soon come to an end if an anti-chainsaw measure passes in San Francisco, which bans chainsaws in the city altogether.  The move has chainsaw enthusiasts and merchants alike fuming over such a measure.  

Penny Southerland, longtime chainsaw aficianado, screamed, "The streets of San Francisco were made for chainsaws.  They were here ever since I can remember!  I can't believe someone would have the audacity to tell me I can't run around with my chainsaw in the city anymore.  If people just watch where they're going, wear helmets & high-viz clothing, there won't be a problem.  It's unfair to blame everyone with chainsaws for chainsaw injuries.  Everyone plays a part in chainsaw safety."
Chainsaw merchants say it's only coincidence that people running through the city with chainsaws contributed to the uptick in chainsaw injuries & deaths. 
But "anti-chainsaw" advocates see things differently and blame the increase in chainsaw deaths and injuries squarely on the people who have chainsaws.  Teddy Wilshire exclaimed, "It's nuts that you would allow a dangerous piece of metal around the city.  It's not just the danger posed by the swift moving blades.  It's also the fumes that spew out from those metal death machines.  Take your chainsaw into an area where there aren't a lot of people around.  Why is it that crazy to think we can move through the city without chainsaws?"

Randy has been wielding a chainsaw on Market Street ever since he can remember, and he's not about to stop "just because some idiot hurts themself on my chainsaw."
image found here
Randy Smith, head of the "San Francisco City Chainsaw League" said,"It's my God given right to juggle chainsaws while running through downtown.  It's my preferred method of travel.  People just need to make sure to educate themselves and their children to watch for people with chainsaws.  It's about mutual respect.  Besides, if you don't want someone coming at you with a chainsaw, travel around with a chainsaw, for safety."

City officials have been reluctant to ban chainsaws in the city outright, and opted for signs and paint to help designate chainsaw and non-chainsaw zones.  They've also started campaigns to educate people about the importance of safety near people who are operating chainsaws.  SF's chainsaw safety czar said, "it's really about how to place legal blame on people who hurt others with a chainsaw, and the people who hurt themselves on someone's chainsaw.  The city also started a "Vision Zero" campaign to end all chainsaw deaths by 2024.

Signs, paint and lights will help delineate between someone 'accidentally' being struck by a chainsaw, and those who were distracted and simply "asking for it".
image found here
Thanks to SharrowsDC for the inspiration. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

City Poised to Turn Back on Mission Transit Project Because Cars Can't do Things

Transit only lanes that rob 10,000 motorists of their freedom to do car things, every day
Image via Brian Stokle
The thermoplastic has barely dried, the project a decade in the making, set to benefit 67,000 riders a day hasn't been completed, but there are plenty of people angry about the Mission Rapid Project. The project already went through years of painstaking "community meetings" and redesigns to weaken it down to a half-measures aimed at pleasing motorists and ensuring merchants of their God given right to on-street parking.

Typical SFMTA Project:

1) Develop a Transit Improvement Plan.
2) Water down plan to appease everyone.
3) Appease no one.
4) Water down plans further.
5) Endure perpetual criticism about how Muni sucks and can't get anything done.

Without knowing any of the facts, David Campos quickly responded to screaming motorist's anecdotes that the plan was already ruining their way of life.  Campos started a Facebook post to whip up hysteria.  He said, "As a supervisor, it's up to me to amplify the screams of my motoring constituents.  They're angry, honking, and putting people into danger because we've robbed them of the experience promised to them in car commercials. I don't seek to understand.  I don't care if 67,000 bus riders save 5 minutes off their commute. It's my duty to cowardly pander to a few select neighbors rather than actually... you know, lead."

"Wait what do I do?  Do I drive in the red lane that says 'bus only'?  This is so confusing!
image found here
Ed Reiskin, San Francisco's Politician of Transport, met with some "Mission Leaders" and plans to hold yet another community meeting.  He said, "I want everyone to know that despite all the careful planning, studying and the outreach everyone in my agency did these past 10 years, we can turn on a dime if I hear a few complaints from the 10,000 motorists that drive along the Mission.  I want you to have confidence that we don't even have confidence in what we're doing.  I want you to know that even the smallest motorist's scream will be heard and acted upon swiftly.  Despite our "Transit First Policy" we want to tell the nearly 10% of San Franciscans who ride the 14-Mission and 49-Van Ness/Mission buses every day, you really don't matter."

The date and time of the community meeting shitshow has yet to be determined.

There's literally nothing more important than catering to the whims of Mission St. Motorists
image found here
Thanks to "Militant Pedestrian & Ian Monroe for the quotes I stole!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

SFMTA Votes to Curb City's "Transit Dependance"

The SFMTA has proposed a budget for Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.  The budget has a slew of fare increases for people addicted to public transit, but it also hits them with another penalty for using cash.  When asked if they should increase Muni up to $2.50 they enthusiastically said, "Absolutely!" When asked if they should start charging for evening parking, the SFMTA quickly replied, "hold on, we're going to have to 'study' that one..."

Hundreds of transit addicts waiting for their fix.
Photo by mayortoby & Muni Diaries
Under scrutiny of some organizations, the SFMTA was asked, "why didn't you just reduce the fare for people who use a card, rather than add a surcharge for people who used cash?  Now they'll pay $2.50 for transit.  A SFMTA spokesman said, "that could lead to more transit addicts, and we really didn't want to be responsible for that.  We have way too many people taking public transit now which leads to all kinds of problems.  Pollution, traffic accidents, congestion... you name a city problem and it's undoubtedly tied to public transit use.  Plus we have a budget hole to the tune of 8 million dollars, about the same amount we have to pay to give motorists their sorely needed free Sunday parking."

All kinds of increases to help curb the city's transit addiction!  Plus it helps offset all the motorist freebies!
image found here

The SFMTA also had a slew of motorists perks for to help curb the city of its debilitating transit dependence
  • Reducing Towing Fees - For motorists who, for some reason outside their control, break parking laws and get their cars towed.  
  • Free Sunday Parking Meters - Mayor Lee, Ed Reiskin & the SFMTA have no intention on rescinding this massive giveaway to anyone who decides to move around the city in a personal speeding combustible metal box.  
  • Free Evening Parking - This was moved to "study" phase.  Which means that it will be studied to nauseam, possibly brought into existence, and then quickly killed off ala Sunday parking. 
  • Free Sunday Double Parking - To remain as free as it is illegal! 
  • Free Saturday Double Parking - Because Sunday is so popular it's returning to all weekend days! 
The Board of Supervisors will consider whether or not they'll pass the SFMTA budget, but given that most of them have curbed or never had a public transit addiction, the SFMTA is confident it will pass.  
"If it can help just one person get out of public transit and back into a personal car, we've done our jobs here," said one supervisor (probably Farrel).

The SFMTA also plans to change the city policy to read "Transit-First Policy ;-)" later this year.