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    Aah. I was a little slow there…



    Thank you to San Mateo city officials for their work on this plan and their vision to approve it. As I understand the plan, bike lanes will be created on North San Mateo Drive. This is a great bike route and seems like the perfect street to have bike lanes (ideally protected) – including on California Drive, all the way from the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station through Burlingame, which then becomes San Mateo Drive. Automobile traffic on this route always seems rather light, making both a road diet and bike lanes that much more feasible and much less controversial.



    Are you suggesting that congestion will be solved by building wider roadways? Many car trips are of short distances (ie. a few miles or less) and such short distances are well served by bicycling or walking. Downtown San Mateo and nearby neighborhoods are wonderfully flat and ideally suited to bicycling and walking. El Camino Real and some other San Mateo streets have decent bus service. If more people opt not to drive and choose instead to bike or walk (enticed by a greater sense of safety when doing so), automobile congestion will decrease.


    sebra leaves

    This sounds like San Francisco rhetoric. These people don’t want to solve the congestion problem they want to exacerbate it.



    Ah! All those courteous drivers! that must be why we’ve made so many, many areas where bikes and peds share a small space (gg bridge, east span of bay bridge, the embarcadero, the panhandle, sunday streets, the entire bay trail, etc., etc.) and so few where cars and peds travel down the same routes! Thank you for clearing that up Andy!



    Same here! Looking forward to this



    more “suburban”

    Nice euphemism. Most people in SSF are homeowners. It is pretty much suburban by the definitions I use.



    It is a failure to let the market built the housing that is needed. The Excelsior has the same problem. Residents are just trying to make it work



    At least around SF and this area it is because there is a housing mismatch between what is needed which is multi-family and what is avaliable which is post war row houses


    Andy Chow

    The ironic thing is that it is less problematic to share alleys between cars and pedestrians than to share alleys and walkways between bikes and pedestrians. In these situations, drivers know that they need to slowdown a lot and people generally are willing to make room. On the other hand, some cyclists like to pretend pedestrians are fixed objects and move at a speed as if they’re on the street, and end up adding stress on pedestrians (pedestrian stress matters too).



    I was joking, riffing on the idea of what a traffic signal for cars would look like if we applied the same standards we do currently for pedestrian signals.


    Aaron Bialick

    Ok, I was now able to find the presentation you appear to cite [PDF], which you didn’t provide a link to, and I wasn’t able to find when I wrote my previous reply in a rush before leaving yesterday. I left out FY13 since I had limited time and it was similar to the FY15 level anyway – it’s not as if I’d hoped no one would look at the link and page number I just provided.

    But we never claimed that $3 million was the total spending on bicycle infrastructure in the CIP. Again, it’s what Matier referred to as “$3 million on bicycle awareness,” a number which does remain 2% or less of the capital budget. The numbers you’re challenging are a different from what we referred to.

    But since you brought it up, it is true that total bicycle spending increased in the later budget numbers you cited, which assume the new revenue from the General Obligation Bond and the Vehicle License Fee increase (which wasn’t passed, though Sup. Wiener’s Prop B general fund increase did). The shares for FY15 and FY16 are 3.4% and 6%, respectively. Again, my apologies for not finding those figures in my rushed reply, even if only to indulge a strawman argument.



    And drivers derive an indirect benefit from bike lanes, since those people on bikes aren’t in cars clogging lanes (and clogging the air with exhaust; and contributing to road wear & tear).
    Why complain about bikers deriving an indirect benefit, when drivers do too? Celebrate the win-win.



    Huh? 3-second green lights? That would allow 3-5 cars through per lane per light cycle. I’m a big biking advocate, but I see no need to unnecessarily create gridlock. Can you provide more detail?



    should that be part of the law, too?



    The Capital Improvement Program(CIP) figures are from the same source as yours, page 30. Any reason why you omitted the FY 2013 $14.3 million in your reply?

    My numbers are from sources you don’t want to read. Because they sink your case.

    SFMTA 4-1-14 Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget Overview, page 31 has the Capital Budget for bicycle programs
    FY 2015 – $25.2 million, FY 2016 – $40.0 million.

    The July 2014 SFMTA FY 2015-16 Capital Budget, page 20 lists Project Expense by Capital Program for bicycles
    FY 2015 – $33.46 million, FY 2016 – $35.45 million.

    A Bialick wrote “For one thing, the SFMTA has barely increased its bike spending in recent years,…”

    From 2013-2016, except for FY 2014, SFMTA is spending from $14.3 million to $40 million on bicycle projects. These figures are far greater than $3 million you memorized.

    Can’t trust your articles when you hide important numbers.


    Upright Biker

    Bicycling is not dangerous. Prove me wrong, I dare you.



    A light here would be appropriate if it was configured to be on demand such that when someone pressed the button, it would immediately cycle red. Unfortunately, that’s not what traffic engineers do. Instead, they optimize the light cycle for car drivers rather than pedestrians, and that degrades the pedestrian environment rather than enhance it. So, people end up waiting just to convenience motorists rather than optimizing the street appropriately, or alternatively they break the law and jaywalk, and motorists are absolved of any responsibility for injury when that happens.



    So I get to add another example because this just happened.

    Cars are headed westbound in the right lane on Market St. The first one stops suddenly just past 10th to pick up passengers (odds are decent he’s an Uber or Lyft driver, but I didn’t see for sure). The second one stops, but the third one doesn’t make it in time and bashes into #2. #1 gets the heck out of there with his passengers in tow. Nobody seems to be hurt and #2 and #3 pull into the protected bike lane to exchange information and take pics. A cyclist swerves out of the bike lane to avoid them and is nearly hit by a car. Another evening on Market St.

    SFMTA seems to love the design of the “new” Market Street. They sure like showing it off. When NACTO came to town, they literally took transportation officials from other cities on tours to see the colorful pavement. Yet the new design brings more road users into conflict and causes accidents like this one all the time.


    Andy Chow

    But if you don’t own a car then you don’t get to pay a few thousand dollar in sales tax which is a major source of sales tax revenue.

    You could make a case for cyclists who also own cars (which many do) but don’t drive as often. They still pay the sales taxes and registration fees but roll far fewer miles because they ride their bikes.


    Andy Chow

    And from these general taxes a significant portion comes from auto and fuel sales. Automobile is one the big purchases most people will make besides their homes. Food (except when eating out) and housing cost are not subject to sales taxes. Taxable personal electronic items and clothing are still a fraction of a cost of an automobile. To make up that tax without an automobile it seems you pretty much have to eat out everyday.

    I doubt that on average people of similar incomes who don’t own cars pay as much transportation taxes (including those hidden in general tax categories) than those who do,

    While I am not in favor of any bike specific taxes to pay for bike related infrastructure (we have long supported transit where it has not been fully supported from the farebox for decades), I just don’t see a case where cyclists are subsidizing cars. What I know is that when auto sales take a dip due to economy it would also impact transit (as well as other government services) due to revenue shortfall.


    Andy Chow

    May be if you are retired and live in subsidized housing, or be one of the Facebookers or Googlers where their employers provide for their commute, but certainly not those lower-middle class folks who got priced out of SF and have to live in the suburbs and hold jobs that require “reliable transportation.” For them not having a car means being an underclass.


    Golden Gate Shark

    I can’t wait for this to be done…



    Solution: always have two helmets.


    Aaron Bialick

    Matier referred to “$3 million on bicycle awareness.” He didn’t specify what line item that is, and I’m not sure where your numbers came from, but according to this SFMTA presentation [PDF] on the 2013 – 2017 CIP/Capital Budget (pg. 30), these are the numbers for bicycling:

    FY14 $3.7M out of $525M = 0.7%
    FY15 $13M out of $532M = 2.4%
    FY16 $3.23M out of $409M = 0.7%

    The numbers have fluctuated slightly, but however you hash it out, $3M remains 2 percent or less of that budget.



    “An advanced city is not a place where the poor move about in cars, rather it’s where even the rich use public transportation.”

    –Enrique Peñalosa

    Given his support for better complete streets for all modes, you could logically extend that also to “…rather it’s where even the rich use public transportation/walk/bike.”



    Given the passage of prop A, has the budget not increased drastically? What are the percentages?



    while that incents the driving of fewer miles, it does not incent the purchase of a more fuel efficient vehicle.

    Not to mention the various (oil backed) think tanks would rail on your equitable argument because poorer people have to drive until they qualify – thus a miles traveled tax is ZOMG REGRESSIVE!



    Windsor CA has no automobile dealerships. How do they pave the roads?



    “For one thing, the SFMTA has barely increased its bike spending in recent years, and $3 million remains only about 2 percent of the agency’s total budget.”

    A Bialick is not good with numbers.
    SFMTA Capital Improvement Program lists for bicycle programs
    2013 – $14.3 million; 2014 – $3.7 million.

    SFMTA Capital Budget lists for bicycle programs
    2015 – $25.2 million; 2016 – $40 million.

    Spending $25 million in 2015 is much more than the $3 million A Bialick claims.



    Part of the case for not having a car is to be able to afford to live.



    Also re: the “community” thing about supposedly needing to bend over backwards to “prove” worthiness is a trope steeped in the very problematic notions of gains via respectability politics. Basically saying that due to disproportionate bias from other people’s ill-informed illusory correlation, the aggrieved should make sure to be “twice as good as the rest” to hopefully get half the respectability:

    Various groups have tried this over the decades. Usually a pretty losing game.

    And no way to form policy for public spaces we all use.



    Sure you can. Just put it in a bike rack on your car!



    Local roads (as opposed to state and federal highways) are funded mainly from property and sales taxes. It doesn’t matter if you buy a car or spend the same money on other things that are subject to the sales tax. Either way you “chip in” on roads. (Sales taxes from car purchases are probably small compared to everything else that people buy.)

    Heavy users in heavy vehicles get a free ride (or anyway a big discount). Then they go online to complain how unfair it is that their subsidy wasn’t bigger still. What’s up with that? Being a dependent crybaby isn’t a good look. Except on babies. Then it’s cute!



    Because of higher mileage cars, the gas tax is a declining source of revenue. A way to tax cars on the basis of miles traveled is considered to be more equitable.



    Yes, but remember services such as delivery trucks and public-good vehicles constitute a small number of trips on the road.

    The point is that the way the current tax system is set up the more you drive, the more your mode choice is subsidized by others. The more you get around using your two legs, the more you subsidize others’ own car trips.

    It’s this disproportionality that’s the problem.



    But plenty of Google buses!



    But you still derive an indirect benefit from streets and roads even if you don’t drive.



    Actually, people who buy cars aren’t willing to pay for the costs related to them. Just look at the story yesterday about the uproar over residents in Daly City getting charged just the cost (working out to $40/year) for the parking management program around a BART station



    “That’s why car owners pay thousands of dollars in taxes when they purchase an automobile. Cyclists only pay a fraction of that when they buy a bike.”

    And walking and biking only cause a tiny fraction of wear-and-tear to a road.

    Car taxes do not cover these costs relative to the damage they inflict on the road. This is why the rest–the great majority–(in SF it’s about 75%) is subsidized by general taxes. And it’s still not enough–notice how many roads are in bad condition at any given moment.



    yet these same people do not want to pay enough to maintain the roads they drive on? Bicyclists pay sales tax (on the same things drivers do!), property tax, and income tax, just like drivers. The money saved on road maintenance by less driving combined with that should be more than enough to pay for a bike lane here and there. 2% of SF’s budget getting spent for bike improvements when 4-6% of people are biking.



    raise the gas tax while you’re at it.


    Andy Chow

    That’s why car owners pay thousands of dollars in taxes when they purchase an automobile. Cyclists only pay a fraction of that when they buy a bike.

    It is considered a profitable business to offer car parking on or off street, but there’s yet a business proposition to provide bike parking that’s free of non-profit involvement or government subsidy.

    Automobiles are expensive, but people are willing to pay for them, and people are willing to stand a couple of hours at DMV to get licenses. Part of the case for a living wage is to be able to afford a car.



    And I can’t use the street if I don’t drive. Please – try walking down the middle of the street and tell me what happens.

    On the flip side, someone on foot using the bike lane isn’t likely to get killed and have the police let the bicyclist off because it was “just an accident”.



    And certainly an underinvestment relative to what the city claims to want–20% trips by bike!

    (which, by the way, would save tons of money in terms of the car trips it’d replace)



    Not to mention negative externalities such as air qualities impacts of exhaust or carbon, among so many others.



    The problem with your thinking, is that you compartmentalize bicyclist into some kind of “community”. That’s like saying pedestrians need to promote good relations and the walking “community” needs to pay into a fund to support sidewalk upgrades. Really, anyone from the very young to the very old can bicycle, and it doesn’t require a license. In many respects, there’s a broader cross-section of society that can bicycle than can drive.

    Let’s also point out again that gas and registration taxes paid to the State of California do not pay for local streets. Our property and sales taxes do, which means that everyone pays for them. In fact, if you think about it, given the 4% of people who regularly commute, SFMTA’s paltry 1-2% of their budget devoted to cycling infrastructure represents an underinvestment relative to other modes.



    “No-Guys-For-Real-This-Is-Totally-Not-a-Freeway” Doyle Drive is hilarious.



    “Bikes are not restricted to bike lanes or roads with bike lanes, so if you add in streets with traffic conditions suitable for cycling, the number of miles will go up considerably. Some neighborhood streets in the Sunset may not have bike lanes, but in many ways these streets are as good if not better than the ones with bike lanes.”

    There are also low-speed streets without specific pedestrian facilities, but which are safely shared by people in cars, on foot and bike:

    However, above certain speed thresholds this mixing of modes becomes unacceptable and for the great rest of streets separate facilities (sidewalks) are provided, even on streets with relatively low auto traffic.

    Why? Walking is that disparate of a mode from driving. But it’s also about incentivization. Safe, well-designed sidewalks also encourage people to walk for trips they otherwise might just drive:

    Similarly, the number of people willing to bike on streets with no bike facilities is fairly small, especially if said streets aren’t part of and/or don’t feed into comprehensive low-stress biking networks (which can include a variety of protected and shared-space implementations).

    In a city that claims it wants 20% of all trips to be made by bike, it’s by and large not building the type of facilities proven to encourage such choices.



    Yes, and hopefully we will get separated and protected bike lanes on Market with the Better Market Street project. That would solve virtually all problems s/he mentioned. My point was that of course Market is confusing for drivers, it’s not meant for them to use. It’s a surface transit and bike corridor and has over 100,000 pedestrians per day and hopefully it’s rebuilding will more fully reflect and accommodate that.