Your Thoughts Please on Examiner’s Bike Plan Hit-Piece?

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One of the tasks our New York City executive editor put to us at Streetsblog San Francisco when we started was to hold "mainstream" journalists’ feet to the fire when they write stories about transit, bikes, and pedestrians from a windshield perspective. You know, pieces like Mike Aldax’s story in the Examiner today, which goes out of its way to focus on the negative impacts of the Bike Plan to vehicular traffic, impacts that are based on misguided vehicular Level of Service standards that hold ease of movement for motorists to be a proxy for environmental standards.

Some of the other requisites for these types of stories? Find an angry old cur like Rob Anderson or a community group that claims to "support biking" so long as it’s "not in my back yard."

Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association, check. Why no Rob Anderson? I’m sure he could have repeated the same thing he always does when he opens his mouth.

A good little discussion started this morning in Today’s Headlines, where we linked to the story. Can you bring it over here, dear savvy readers of Streetsblog SF, and help dissect this piece? Consider it your chance to talk to Aldax yourself, because we know from the IP addresses that a few folks at sfexaminer.com check in here regularly.

  • marcos

    @John, Valencia was put in, when, 1996 or 1997?

    I believe that the City’s own statistics indicate that there has been significant unfunded depreciation in the street surfaces over the past 15 years, and that dangerous condition leads to countless injuries not recorded by the cops.

    Statistics also indicate a higher rate of auto ownership, largely based on the production of luxury and commuter housing with 1:1 parking making SF the endpoint of many more freeway trips.

    And, of course, the SFPD has been left to their own devices and allowed a culture of automotive miscreance to flourish in San Francisco, a nod and a wink from the commuters in blue that we’re just not doing enforcement unless its budget time.

    -marc

  • @John, Valencia was put in, when, 1996 or 1997?

    Come on Mr McCain, I know you know how to use “The Google”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/e/a/1998/03/10/NEWS7590.dtl

  • Why didn’t the city just dump LOS (level of service) methods for measuring traffic at intersections? Because there has to be something to replace it. You can’t just tell the state we’re not going to measure the traffic impacts of proposed projects anymore. That wouldn’t hold up in court.

  • That’s not exactly true, Rob. San Jose, Livermore, parts of Los Angeles, have done LOS analysis that shows they will have F grades at hundreds of intersections with new development and traffic changes and they have simply ignored such a grade. They understand that other goals trump the LOS grade.

    G’s comment earlier addresses why this is possible legally:
    LOS isn’t really even an “impact”, the guidelines are discretionary. The air quality theory that it is based upon, that slowing down cars will create Carbon Monoxide hotspots was throughly discredited by the Bay Area Air Quality management District in the public comment surrounding the LOS legislation. There hasn’t actually been a “hot-spot” in the Bay Area for over ten years. The conditions in SF are generally windy it is not a basin surrounded by mountains like for example LA. In the BAAQMD guidelines they don’t even ask that LOS E,F be considered to be an impact, it’s actually a “screening threshold” in that they suggest that agencies check for a hot-spot if reaching LOS E,F.