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

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