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Give to Streetsblog SF and You Could Win This Tern Folding Bike

Today we associate the Netherlands with top-notch bike infrastructure and some of the safest streets in the world. But 40 years ago it was tearing down buildings for parking garages and constructing wide roads through the centers of its cities and towns. It was a grassroots movement, Stop de Kindermoord (Stop the Child Murder), that turned the tide and led to the transformation of Dutch streets.


We need the same kind of transformation in the Bay Area, and we’re closer than ever to making it happen.

Deadly, car-centric streets are giving way to human-scaled designs that barely existed in America a few years ago. We’re seeing more protected bike lanes. Work is underway to expand the transit network. San Francisco, Oakland, and the rest of the Bay Area are realizing that they can’t address gridlock, housing demand, and access to jobs by building more parking and highways.

But the shift to a safe, more sustainable transportation system is just beginning. There’s still lots to do and we can’t get complacent and assume that change will take care of itself.

Streetsblog is critical to this change. Our reporting and commentary connect people to the information they need to be effective advocates for better, safer cities. Streetsblog and our readers pressure public officials to shake up the way streets work instead of letting the status quo continue.

If you value the impact of Streetsblog SF, please contribute. The site works because you fund what we do.

We have a great prize for one lucky donor — a folding bike from Tern. Make a tax-deductible gift before the end of the year and you’ll be entered to win this Link D8:

Did we mention you can win a Tern Folding bike? Every time you make a donation, you are entered into our nationwide raffle. Click on the image to go to our donation page.

Thanks for supporting Streetsblog.

— Roger
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America Already Has a Stratified Transportation System

The emergence of app-based taxis and private city bus services has prompted a lot of handwringing about the emergence of a “two-tiered” or “stratified” transportation system.

Will private transit startups like Bridj make transportation in America stratified? Too late. Photo: Beyond DC/Flickr

Will private transit startups like Bridj make transportation in America stratified? Too late. Photo: Beyond DC/Flickr

Network blog Cap’n Transit doesn’t have much patience for that argument. America’s transportation system is already highly stratified, and it’s hard to see how the new services will make that situation worse:

If you go to a small city like, say, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you’ll see our stratified system in action: the people on the buses are mostly poor and nonwhite, and everyone else is driving. Ride the bus in a city like Kingston, New York, where the received wisdom is that “everyone drives because you need a car to get around,” and you’ll see that there are still people who don’t drive: the extremely poor and the mentally and physically disabled. Here in New York the majority rides the subways, but there is a stratum that drives everywhere, and pretty much runs the city.

The bus and rail strata are largely run by the government and paid with tax money, but some of the money comes from fares paid by passengers. In the strata where people drive, passengers often contribute the labor of driving themselves, and pay a lot of money for the vehicles, fuel, insurance and other costs, and also contribute to the construction and maintenance of road, bridge and parking infrastructure through taxes. But as has been shown time and again, they do not pay the entire cost of the system; a much larger share of general tax revenue goes to driving than to transit.

This stratified system can be very cruel to those in the bottom strata, and it generally gets worse the smaller the share of the population that takes transit. The poorer the average transit user is, the slower, dirtier, more crowded, less frequent, and less reliable the transit.

Read more…

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Give to Streetsblog SF and Support Your Daily Call to Action for Better Streets

I grew up on Long Island, five miles from Levittown — the first mass-produced, suburban development in the country. When I was a small child, in the 1970s, we played in the street. A car came occasionally. It would stop and wait while we picked up our ball and stepped aside. Then the driver would wave and smile and trundle past.

Roger as a kid on Long Island, in white t-shirt and jeans, in 1974. Photo by his father.

Me on Long Island, in white t-shirt and jeans, 1974. Photo by my father.

Over time, there were more cars. There was more speed. We heard stories about kids getting hit. We were told to play in yards and only cross at corners and “look both ways.” As roads were widened and expanded, I’d hear screeching brakes and smashing glass and metal more regularly.

But I still looked forward to the day I’d gain the freedom that comes with a driver’s license. In 1987, just months after I started driving, I was behind the wheel and waiting to make a left turn. It was a beautiful spring day. I saw two boys, maybe 10 years old, ride their bikes across the intersection. I saw a Cadillac convertible coming from the opposite direction.

The driver slammed into one of the kids.

He shot clear across the intersection, his body traveling in an arch, and flopped onto the asphalt just to the left of my car. The bike landed in two pieces.

I put my car in park, got out, and ran to a nearby bank. I shouted to the tellers to call an ambulance. Then I ran back to the boy. He was missing teeth. His face was puffed and contorted, awash in blood and tears. He begged for God. Pleaded for his mother. An ambulance came. The boy lost consciousness as they took him away, leaving dark blood stains and bits of bicycle on the pavement.

The Cadillac driver remained at the scene. He had the green light. I don’t think he was breaking the speed limit. But why was the road so wide? Why was it possible and legal to go fast enough through a residential area to kill?

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Today’s Headlines

    • NextBus Gets Arrival Predictions Wrong (SFExaminer)
    • Will Young People Ride the Bus? (MercNews)
    • Vote Coming on Planned Potrero Hill Development (Socketsite)
    • SFPD’s Kohrs Pleads “Not Guilty” to Hit-and-Run Charges (SFExaminer)
    • NFL Pressures Cash-Strapped Cities to Help Buy them a Shiny New Stadium (InsideBayArea)
    • East Bay Nurse Killed by Suspected Drunk Driver Remembered (InsideBayArea)
    • Uber Lampoons Driver Fingerprinting Proposal (InsideBayArea)
    • New Tech May Help Cops Test for “Driving While Stoned” (CBSLocal)
    • Review of “Bikes vs. Cars” Documentary (SFWeekly)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

Streetsblog USA
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How Much Can Bicycling Help Fight Climate Change? A Lot, If Cities Try

A new study from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy attempts to measure the potential of bikes and e-bikes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Buenos Aires has been ambitiously building out a network of well designed, separated bike infrastructure. If this kind of commitment were employed worldwide, the environmental and financial repercussions would be enormous. Photo: ITDP

Buenos Aires has been building out a network of protected bike infrastructure. If this kind of commitment were employed in cities worldwide, the climate benefits would be huge. Photo: ITDP

ITDP’s conclusion, in short: Bicycling could help cut carbon emissions from urban transportation 11 percent.

The authors calculated the carbon emissions reduction that could result if cities around the world make a strong, sustained commitment to promoting bicycle travel.

In a scenario where 14 percent of travel in the world’s cities is by bike or e-bike in 2050, carbon emissions from urban transportation would be 11 percent lower than a scenario where efforts to promote sustainable transportation sidestep bicycling.

The ITDP scenario calls for 11 percent of urban mileage by bike by 2030 before hitting 14 percent in 2050. For many big American cities where bicycling accounts for a small share of total travel, that may sound like a high bar — and that was part of the point. The ITDP targets will require a significant public policy commitment. But the goals are achievable and aren’t as daunting as they might seem, the authors say.

Read more…


Signing Off — Join Me for Happy Hour Friday

This will be my final post as editor of Streetsblog SF. Thanks to everyone who’s read and supported the site during the four years I’ve led it. I hope to see you around in my new role.

The site will be in an editorial transition period for the next few weeks as editor-in-chief Ben Fried conducts the search for Streetsblog SF’s next editor. You’ll see daily headlines from Rob Poole and Andrew Boone, but feature posts about SF and Bay Area streets and transportation will be sparser during the interim phase.

I’m excited to watch the future of the blog unfold with new leadership as I return to the audience side of Streetsblog.

As I head into a relaxing staycation, I’d like to invite you all out for one more happy hour on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Emperor Norton’s Boozeland for some Streetsblog retrospection over, well, booze. The place is at 510 Larkin Street, near Turk Street in the Tenderloin. Come by and say farewell (for now) — I’ll be on the back patio.


What’s Next for Me — I’m Joining the SFMTA

Since I announced my departure from Streetsblog, folks have asked about my next move. Well, I’m not going far: I’ve accepted a position on the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s public relations team.

In this new chapter, I’m excited about working directly on projects that advance better transportation options in the city. To start out, I’ll be working in a media relations position on Muni-related project and service announcements.

I’ll be in good company with a lot of folks I’ve gotten to know through my years of reporting on the agency’s policies and projects, some of whom have also transitioned from advocacy roles. Former Streetsblog reporter Michael Rhodes is now a Muni Forward planner, and Andy Thornley, whom I first met when I interned at the SF Bicycle Coalition in 2009, manages on-street parking programs. To my mind, when the city hires good advocates, that’s a sign of success for the movement.

I’ll be here at Streetsblog through the end of the month, and after that, you’ll still see me around. I’m changing jobs, but I’ll still be working to make San Francisco and the Bay Area more livable and sustainable.

Also, a reminder that the search is on for Streetsblog SF’s next editor. Applicants can send a cover letter and resume to


We’re Hiring! Lead Streetsblog’s Coverage of the SF Bay Area

After four terrific years running Streetsblog San Francisco, Aaron is moving on. Before I get to the job opening, I’d like to pay my respects to his body of work.

The quintessential post of the Aaron Bialick era, to my mind, was this item from early 2014. With Ed Lee laying the groundwork for reversing Sunday parking meters, Aaron unearthed an SFMTA report documenting the benefits of Sunday meters and threw it in the mayor’s face. (Runner-up: The “Visionless Mayor’s Optometrist” story.) No way Ed Lee was going to get away with this shameless bit of pandering without getting called on the carpet by Aaron.

If you read Streetsblog regularly, you know progress doesn’t come to our streets as fast as it should. But I think it’s also clear that decision makers have been listening to Aaron’s message, and San Francisco’s streets are safer for it. Changes underway like the new 13th Street protected bike lane are a testament to that. The next editor of Streetsblog San Francisco has to keep the pressure on.

Aaron’s tenacious work gave Streetsblog SF a strong persona, and as tough as it will be to fill his shoes, I believe that identity will also be a big draw for talented reporters who believe in the mission of this site and want a shot at running it. Thanks to the dedicated community of supporters who’ve provided a financial backbone for Streetsblog SF, we are immediately moving ahead with the search for the next editor. If you want to throw your hat in the ring, here’s what we’re after


We are looking for a talented journalist to operate Streetsblog San Francisco, a daily news site dedicated to covering safe streets and effective transit in the SF Bay Area.

We welcome applications from engaging reporters who want to lead a respected, influential source of information and commentary on Bay Area transportation and planning issues. The ideal candidate will have a firm grasp of local politics and a keen sense of how Streetsblog coverage can advance transportation policies that improve conditions for transit, cycling, and walking.

Read more…


I’m Moving On From Streetsblog — But Not Before Happy Hour Tonight

I like to say that the best career move I ever made was joining a Critical Mass ride and striking up a conversation with a fellow rider about the Streetsblog sticker on his helmet. That rider happened to be Bryan Goebel, Streetsblog SF’s first editor, who would later offer me the opportunity of a lifetime.

11113275_10153188819926880_4453609000970703106_nAfter five years of living the dream, I’m announcing my departure as editor of Streetsblog San Francisco on September 30.

Stay tuned for the official job posting for the editor position (but if you want a head start, you can email a resume and cover letter to

Passing the torch, of course, comes with a flurry of mixed emotions. So come help me cope at Streetsblog’s monthly happy hour tonight.

Writing for Streetsblog and serving as editor of the SF branch has been an incredible opportunity that I honestly never saw coming. During the blog’s first couple of years, I was an avid reader and mixed it up in the comments section. While studying at SF State, I developed an unshakable fixation on sustainable transportation advocacy, bolstered by the coverage I read on Streetsblog. Little did I know I would dive head-first into it and become embedded in the world of SF transportation politics.

For me, the experience has been a transformational, one-of-a-kind education. I’ll always be grateful to Bryan Goebel and Ben Fried, the editors who believed in me, invested their time, energy, and patience, and taught me pretty much everything I know about journalism.

Thanks also to everyone who has supported Streetsblog, whether it be with donations, photos, story tips, or just reading and spreading the word.

I also have to thank all of the advocates, residents, and folks at City Hall and other agencies who have provided a bedrock of encouragement and insight for my coverage over the years.

It’s been an honor to head up Streetsblog SF. Its future remains bright, and the search for a new editor begins now. I know Streetsblog SF will remain in good hands.

I’d love to see you all tonight at Streetsblog Happy Hour at Virgil’s Sea Room, which I still plan to attend each month when I can. As with every third month, we’ll have free t-shirts and hoodies, and 10 percent of bar proceeds will support Streetsblog. So join me for a drink and a toast to Streetsblog SF’s next generation.


Tomorrow: Support Streetsblog and Enjoy a “Transit Oriented Beer”

Photo: Aaron Bialick

Photo: Aaron Bialick

Tomorrow’s Streetsblog Happy Hour will be special in a couple of ways. First, it’ll be our quarterly fundraising event, where 10 percent of bar proceeds help support Streetsblog, and we dole out free t-shirts and hoodies (first-come, first-served).

We’ll also be joined by Transit Oriented Beer, an informal monthly gathering of transportation planners, advocates, and folks who just want better transportation options in SF.

That’s right — “Transit Oriented Beer.” With an awesome name like that, you won’t find a more fun way to enjoy delicious drinks that support high-impact journalism for sustainable transportation.

Stop by at Virgil’s Sea Room at 3152 Mission Street (between Cesar Chavez and Valencia Streets). We’ll be on the back patio starting at 6 p.m.