Judge Issues Order Allowing Ten First-Year Bike Projects to Go Forward

Picture_4.jpgUnder the judge’s order, the MTA can only install 3.7 of the 14 miles of bike lanes it had hoped to paint in the first year. Flickr photo: Doubletee

A San Francisco judge issued an order [PDF] modifying the three-year-old bike injunction late Wednesday afternoon, refusing to dissolve it completely, but allowing the "most easily reversible" projects to go forward. It means 10 of the 21 first-year Bike Plan projects — or about 3.7 miles of new bike lanes — outlined by the MTA can begin, and when completed, will mark the most significant improvements bicyclists have seen on the streets of San Francisco since the injunction was first issued in June 2006.

"With the huge demand for biking improvements, we’re disappointed that the Court didn’t completely remove the handcuffs, but we’re pleased that some streets can now be improved for biking," said Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition. "A three-year backlog means San Francisco has some serious catching up to do and we are eager for this dark cloud over sustainable transportation to be completely lifted."

In his order, Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch said the completion and certification of the Bike Plan EIR had "changed the circumstances," but he disagreed with the City Attorney’s argument "that the proper response is to unconditionally dissolve the injunction" before the outcome of a hearing now set for June to determine if the 2000 page document fully complies with CEQA.

However, Busch said it would be "unreasonable to leave the City completely unable to advance what it has determined is an important policy initiative in light of the changed circumstances," so he modified the injunction, allowing some projects to go ahead.

"This is an important step in the right direction that enables the City to enact significant safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians in San Francisco," City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement.

The MTA issued a statement quoting Mayor Gavin Newsom, promising to begin the projects early next week, and provide a time line and schedule Monday.

"While we had hoped for the complete removal of the injunction, this order paves the way for real growth in bicycling in San Francisco," said Newsom.

Most of the projects considered to have "minimal impact to traffic flow and parking loss" outlined in a declaration [PDF] by MTA traffic engineer Damon Curtis, who works in the agency’s bicycle program, will be installed in the next year, hopefully by June, with the exception of bike lanes on Fremont Street (from Folsom to Harrison), Kirkham Street (from 6th Avenue to the Great Highway), and Sloat Boulevard (from the Great Highway to Skyline). It’s unclear why Busch refused to allow those. The projects that will move forward include new bike lanes on Beale, Howard, Otis, Scott, Mississippi, Kansas, Claremont and Clipper Streets, along with 7th Avenue and JFK Drive.

The authorized projects include a total of about 3.7 miles of bike lanes, compared to the roughly 14 miles the city had originally hoped to paint in the first year. The full bike plan includes 34 miles of new bike lanes. Only one of the authorized projects, JFK Drive, is greater than a half mile in length, while 9 of the 11 first-year projects that are still on hold are greater than half a mile in length, and five of them are greater than a mile in length.

The order also allows the city to install sharrows and hundreds of bike racks, "which is a big deal," said Marc Caswell, the SFBC’s program manager. "This is what a lot of bicyclists have been waiting for, a place to park their bikes."

Here’s a complete list of the projects the city can begin working on, as well as a list of projects the city had hoped to complete in the first year, but which will remain blocked at least through June 2010. Lengths are included for each project, but we calculated them quickly using Google Maps, so please let us know of any errors.

Bike lanes projects the city is prioritizing for the first year after the injunction is lifted:

• Beale Street southbound bicycle lane, Bryant Street to Folsom Street (Project 2-5) (.2 mi)

• Howard Street westbound bicycle lane at 9th Street (Project 2-8) (<.1 mi)

• Scott Street, northbound left turn bicycle lane, Fell Street to Oak Street (Project 3-5) (<.1 mi)

• Mississippi Street bicycle lanes, 16th Street to Mariposa Street (Project 4-5) (.2 mi)

• Kansas Street bicycle lanes, 23rd Street to 26th Street (Project 5-8) (.3 mi)

• Clipper Street bicycle lanes from Douglass Street to Portola Drive (Project 6-2) (.4 mi)

• 7th Avenue bicycle lanes and sharrows from Lawton Street to Lincoln Way (Project 7-2) (.5 mi including sharrows)

• John F. Kennedy Drive bicycle lanes, Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive (Project 7-4) (1.4 mi)

• Otis Street westbound bicycle lane, Gough Street to South Van Ness Avenue (Project 2-15) (.1 mi)

• Claremont Boulevard bicycle lanes, Dewey Boulevard to Portola Drive (Project 6-1) (.3 mi)

Bike lanes projects the city had prioritized for the first year after the injunction is lifted, but which the injunction will continue blocking:

• Kirkham Street bicycle lanes, 6th Avenue to The Great Highway (with sharrows only between 18th and 20th Avenues) (Project 7-5) (2.5 mi)

• Fremont Street southbound bicycle lane, Folsom Street to Harrison Street (Project 2-7) (.1 mi)

• Sloat Boulevard bicycle lanes, The Great Highway to Skyline Boulevard (Project 8-5) (.6 mi)

• Illinois Street bicycle lanes from 16th Street to Cargo Way (Project 4-3) (1.5 mi)

• Laguna Honda Boulevard bicycle lanes from Clarendon to Woodside Avenue, and from Portola Drive to Woodside Avenue (Projects 6-3 and 6-4) (.7 mi)

• Portola Drive Bicycle Lanes, from Corbett Avenue to O’Shaughnessy Boulevard (Project 6-5) (.6 mi)

• Townsend Street bicycle lanes, 8th Street to The Embarcadero (Project 2-16) (1.2 mi)

• Alemany Boulevard bicycle lanes, Bayshore Boulevard to Rousseau Street (Project 5-2) (1.4 mi)

• Ocean Avenue bicycle lanes, Alemany Boulevard to Lee Avenue (Project 5-9) (.9 mi)

• Potrero Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard bicycle lanes, 25th Street to Cesar Chavez Street (Project 5-11) (.3 mi)

• North Point Street bicycle lanes, The Embarcadero to Van Ness Avenue (Project 1-3) (1 mi)

Updated 9:13 p.m.

  • June 1, 2010. Rob just won another seven months of delay.

  • This is AWESOME! From my reading the The City can start work on 10 of the 22 projects planned for first year of implementation. AND do bike racks and sharrows. Starting now!!! Who knows what will happen in the Spring with the next round of hearings but this is a start.

    10 projects by June… Today is a great day….

  • Blood On Rob Anderson’s Hands

    Rob Anderson and Mary Miles already have blood on their hands, what’s another seven months’ worth?

  • sweet! we’ll take it!

    we knew the judge was going to endanger us for as long as possible. thanks, Judge! you go straight to jail, do not pass Go! 😀

    meanwhile, the bike crew gets bigger and stronger with every passing day. BIG plans for next year, baby — believe it!

  • NoeValleyJim

    I see that MTA has already started painting bike lanes on Market Street. They have some done at the corner of 3rd and Market. Go Go MTA!

  • It really sucks that we have a judge determining bicycle policy. People who use the courts because they can’t win at the ballot box or the support of the majority suck ass!

  • RachaelL

    Why does the hearing have to be set so far in the future? Hasn’t it been long enough? Surely the hearing could be in just a couple months — surely that is adequate time for public notice, gathering of information and arguments, etc?

  • zsolt

    Oh well. I got by without many new bike facilities for years, I can get by a while longer.

    “People who use the courts because they can’t win at the ballot box or the support of the majority suck ass!”

    Except if they are people you agree with… To be fair, it can be a good thing that in a democracy a court can be used to block something. I have said it before… this is not about Rob Anderson. Rob Anderson is irrelevant and people like him are dime a dozen. The city should have done their homework, part of which would have been to fully expect a dimwit like him to materialize and work against their plan.

  • Mark

    I’m not sure people like Rob Anderson are a dime-a-dozen. How many crackpots have a lawyer willing to work pro bono for years on nuisance injunctions?

    In civil court, these are called “nuisance lawsuits” and you’ll face sanctions if you file them. But because California law only considers whether cars will face delay, you need to jump through legal obstacles to install a f-king bike rack.

    Let me repeat that: bike racks need an environmental review. You don’t need an EIR to re-time lights. The city narrowed a street next to my house from 2 lanes to 1. No EIR. So why would bike racks need them?

  • Sue

    To Greg, like it or not, CEQA is all about using the courts to determine compliance with the law regarding environmental impact. It could use some tweaking, that’s for sure — and the the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has indeed been working on revised CEQA compliance guidelines for some time now.

    Meanwhile, I’m looking at the list of what Judge Busch has approved — and what the city has prioritized — and nowhere on it do I see my preferred route for getting from west to east — Masonic. Oh well.

  • I’m happy that they can start making _some_ of the improvements, but very disappointed that we get only three miles of bike lanes. And, how depressing is it that without a decimal point, my statement of “three miles of bike lanes” is incredibly inaccurate?

    Also, wow, that sucks that we have to wait until &$*% JUNE for the next hearing…

    Oh well, I’ll be out there cheering on the work crews as they put down the first foot of striping.

  • Diane

    Why does the judge get to select which projects to go forward with immediately, and which to put on hold? (I know, because he has all the power…) But is he any kind of expert?

    Which leads me to a question: Who assesses the EIR – him? Or people who really know about such stuff?

  • Diane

    Sue, Masonic didn’t make the list of the 21 approved projects because we’re looking at an extensive redesign of the street, not just bike lanes. If you’re not already a part of the fixmasonic group, you should join!

  • James Figone

    I’ll take what we can get but what we are getting is pretty pathetic. 3.7 miles? NYC added 200 miles of bike lanes in the last two years. Even if the injunction were lifted entirely, we are getting 40 miles of lanes in a plan that was designed 12 years ago, so about 3 miles per year.

    Is there a proposal for a single foot of protected bike lane, the type that would make a substantive difference in safety? No. Are there plans for a real contiguous bicycle network? No. Are there any plans at all for anything beyond what what proposed in 1997? Not that I am aware of. I would be happy to be corrected if there are some plans out there.

  • Happy to hear that bike lanes will be added/extended on Beale, Howard, and Fremont streets in the Rincon Hill neighborhood. Good news.

  • Chris

    Ugh. The fact that we have to celebrate only 3.7 miles of on-street bike lanes in the next year, just because it’s better than absolutely nothing, is profoundly depressing. As a commenter above said, we aren’t even talking about protected bike lanes, anywhere, and this in a city which likes to imagine itself a liberal haven, and should, just from a weather and density standpoint, be the torchbearer for bike infrastructure in the US. Unfortunately, the injunction, and this moronic judge’s reluctance to completely lift it, is just one example of how San Francisco continues to fall behind in all sorts of civic arenas, from transit to street design to completing a new Bay Bridge before the old one crumbles. What’s it going to take for the “best place on earth” Kool-aid to wear off and for people to realize that eternaly NIMBYism and one-party political corruption is doing untold, permanent damage to the city? We should be an Amsterdam and instead we’re playing catch-up to freakin’ Portland.

    Whatever. Can’t wait to ride up and down the new “<.1 mile" bike lane on Howard until I get over by speeding SUVs tearing up 9th.

  • While I agree that CEQA does need to be followed to the letter, it is incredibly frustrating. But don’t worry – the process is amended all the time, so take this opportunity to lobby your state legislators.

    I’m also worried about the incredibly short lengths of these bike lanes. The most dangerous bike lane is one that ends unexpectedly, throwing you into traffic.

  • Obviously any environmental review that actually takes into account the *environment* should be measuring whether cars cause delays to bicycles, not the other way around. The law as it stands is designed to protect car driving and wantonly encourages further carbon emissions. It is harmful, regressive, and allows our poor planet to be further damaged every day.

    I don’t think that we begin to comprehend the emergency at hand. The very existence of half the species on Earth depends on us humans choosing to change our profligate energy habits and change quickly. Once the carbon is in the air, it is extremely difficult to get it back out. Once the permafrost melts, the game is over. And we take three years to analyze whether bike racks have an environmental impact? It is collective insanity, or, perhaps, collective suicide.

  • This is from Copenhagenize.com today:

    Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization [WHO] issued a press release today saying, in no uncertain terms, that pedestrians and cyclists should be made ‘kings of the urban jungle’ in the quest for benefits of mass active travel and urban mobility.

    The report suggests that funds be redirected away from roads in order to make walking and cycling “the most direct, convenient and pleasant options for most urban trips”. Pedestrians and cyclists should also benefit from having a “priority” over cars and trucks at intersections.

    Public health researchers and leaders issued the reports in a bid to get the message across to world leaders and negotiators heading for Copenhagen.

    “Sadly, policy-makers have been slow to recognize that the real bottom line of climate change is its risk to human health and quality of life,” Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, says in a commentary with the studies.

    “The issue now is not whether climate change is occurring, but how we can respond most effectively,” says Chan.

    The up-side, say Chan and the researchers, is that some carbon-reduction strategies could result in major health improvements.

    The urban transportation study says encouraging more walking and cycling would have big benefits for both health and the climate. It compared different transportation scenarios for London and Delhi. Walking and cycling came out on top even when compared to increased use of low-emission vehicles that are widely sold as “green” solutions.

    “Important health gains and reductions in CO2 emissions can be achieved through replacement of urban trips in private motor vehicles with active travel in high-income and middle-income countries,” the researchers conclude.

  • susan king

    Happy Thanksgiving all! The glass is definitely half full (but of what?) I am grateful to see sharrows and bike racks going in, and 1/2 of the priority projects underway in the next six months. Yes, the wait is frustrating, but in June we’ll have some projects under our belts and clearance to move forward. Our next steps need to focus on projects beyond the 10 year old bike plan to look at developing a connected network that addresses current needs.

    In the meantime, the movement towards creating more car-free space, improving our urban landscape and reforming CEQA to a trips generated analysis model is growing. So yeah, Pollyanna says Yay! By the way, we need to think about recruiting candidates to run against local Judges next go round.

  • “By the way, we need to think about recruiting candidates to run against local Judges next go round.”

    Judge Warren, who issued the original injunction, is a Republican; Judge Busch, a Democrat, reaffirmed the injunction and ruled in our favor in the litigation. Even if you had had a Green Party judge on this case, the city would have lost, since the law is quite clear. The only issue was whether the city had to do some kind of environmental review of this project before it began implementing it. It was an easy decision for Busch. If he had ruled any other way, he would have been overturned on appeal.

    Whether you bike fanatics are going to be allowed to dump LOS remains to be seen. Is the state going to carve out a special exemption for you bike people? Maybe, but that would be dicey politically, since, in case you haven’t noticed, you folks aren’t universally popular. Allowing you to screw up traffic for everyone else who uses city streets on behalf of your small minority may not be politically sustainable policy.

    Why don’t you folks get your prog allies on the BOS to put an advisory measure on the ballot on the Bicycle Plan? We know the answer to that question, don’t we? City voters will never be allowed to vote on the Bicycle Plan for this obvious reason—it and you would lose.

  • 3 miles of bike lanes and an unstated number of new bike racks and sharrows for 6 months isnt that bad. Its actually very good. Perhaps they can also use the time to repaint established bike lanes that have faded?

  • Nick

    We can all be thankful for the bike racks and sharrows, but the City needs to be more aggressive in implementing the Bike Plan. I ran the math and it looks like we are getting 34 blocks of bike lanes striped out of a total of 34 miles that were approved.

    3.7 miles – 1.4 miles (JFK) = 2.3 miles of new on street bike lanes

    2.3 miles x 5280 feet = 12,144 feet

    12,144 feet / 350 feet (length of a city block) = 34.6 blocks

  • “We can all be thankful for the bike racks and sharrows, but the City needs to be more aggressive in implementing the Bike Plan.”

    You haven’t been paying attention, Nick. It’s all up to the court now, since the city was busted for being too “aggressive” in implementing the Plan before it completed the correct legal process. If they had followed the law four years ago and done an EIR of the Bicycle Plan, it, or something like it, would have been implemented by now.

    I’m not sure people like Rob Anderson are a dime-a-dozen. How many crackpots have a lawyer willing to work pro bono for years on nuisance injunctions?

    “In civil court, these are called ‘nuisance lawsuits’ and you’ll face sanctions if you file them.”

    More ignorance on the legal process. It’s not easy to get an injunction to stop any project, because you have to show that you’re likely to prevail on the merits when the hearing is held. CEQA is all about environmental review, and the city did absolutely none on the 500-page Bicycle Plan—a major project—before it began implementing it on city streets. If the city had even done a measly Neg Dec, it might have gotten away with it, but it did nothing on the assumption that no one here in Progressive Land would challenge the Bicycle Plan in court. CEQA has no other enforcement mechanism but litigation.

  • Rob,
    Until your injunction, it was unprecedented for a city to do full-blown EIR on a Bike Master Plan. Yes, perhaps individual bike projects, but not an entire Plan.

    Feel free to correct if you think I’m mistaken on that point — but I’ve seen (and worked on) lots of bike plans in various cities and there was no EIR process for any of them up until this court case. SF planners weren’t trying to “get away” with anything, but just following standard procedure. Then the Courts decided to pull the rug out and change the rules on everybody.

  • “SF planners weren’t trying to ‘get away’ with anything, but just following standard procedure. Then the Courts decided to pull the rug out and change the rules on everybody.”

    The rules under CEQA have been the same since the law was passed by the state legislature in 1970. Maybe no one challenged a bicycle plan before, but that doesn’t mean such plans don’t have to comply with that law. In any event, there’s evidence that the city did in fact deliberately try to avoid complying with CEQA. While we were compiling the public record for the litigation, we found a 2004 email from Dave Snyder to a city official that explained the city’s strategy precisely:

    http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2009/04/dave-snyder-bike-guy.html

  • This has gone from bizarre to strange. Frankly I don’t care about Anderson now, I’m wondering what crack the judge is smoking. Even if he had said “NO – THIS EIR IS INSUFFICIENT” I would be upset but far less befuddled.

    JUNE? Does this guy even work? It’s too bad this isn’t a criminal case or we could point out that the bike plan isn’t getting a speedy trial. Can we lay this guy off for lack of performance – regardless of his rulings.

    And his selection of projects? Did he give any justification? It seems very random. How does he justify it?

    Townsend has not been approved. Aside from the danger to the 1000’s of cyclists who use Townsend daily who have to deal with that crazy street, the MUNI stops on Townsend are currently a yellow stripe of paint in the middle of the road. There are no sidewalks. The bike plan would remove parking from Townsend, of course a large percentage of the cars parked on Townsend are “homes” – including RV’s that frequently extend into the street so far they cover the “bus stop”.

    Meanwhile Mississippi makes the cut. The Mississippi bike lane makes no sense to me – it will make it more likely that we’ll see bike/car confrontation.

  • Nick

    The SFBC website states that colored bike markings are part of the injunction relief. Does anyone have any specifics on this?

  • While it is definitely a good thing that the city will now be able to add more bike racks and maybe throw some green paint down on the ground in our existing network, to spin the 3.7 miles of new bike lane that the city can stripe this year as anything but peanuts is a bad precedent for measuring ‘success.’ None of the projects that matter are going to be worked on. Projects that matter often mean streets where the space for cyclists is too tight and we have to remove parking in order to make room. The Kansas Street bike lanes for instance? Sure those are going to go through right now, but we don’t need them. They’re filler. That street is very wide and has very little traffic. Sure, some might use it as a connector now that it is officially recognized with lanes…but where are you going to go on it? Deadly and dangerous Cesar Chavez, and its bike lanes look like they are two years out now. I understand there is going to be some spin here, and there are certain reliefs from this ruling that are worthy of celebration, but to say that 3.7 miles of largely meaningless and short bike lanes is offensive to anyone who actually rides in this city every day.

  • meant to write: “but to say that 3.7 miles of largely meaningless and short bike lanes is success is offensive…”

  • Word Justin. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a car on Kansas, and I don’t ever see anyone using Kansas. By the time I’ve braved Cesar Chavez from Pennsylvania to Kansas, I might as well just to on the CC bike path under 101 and enter the mission at Alabama, rather than ride up Kansas then back through SFGH.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Hey Rob, you might want to look at what has already been passed by the Board and has been official City policy for over 10 years now:

    TRANSIT-FIRST POLICY (San Francisco City Charter, Section 8A.115

    You anti-environmental fanatics are a dying breed.

    The following principles shall constitute the City and County’s transit-first policy and shall be incorporated into the General Plan of the City and County. All officers, boards, commissions, and departments shall implement these principles in conducting the City and County’s affairs:

    1. To ensure quality of life and economic health in San Francisco, the primary objective of the transportation system must be the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.

    2. Public transit, including taxis and vanpools, is an economically and environmentally sound alternative to transportation by individual automobiles. Within San Francisco, travel by public transit, by bicycle and on foot must be an attractive alternative to travel by private automobile.

    3. Decisions regarding the use of limited public street and sidewalk space shall encourage the use of public rights of way by pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit, and shall strive to reduce traffic and improve public health and safety.

    4. Transit priority improvements, such as designated transit lanes and streets and improved signalization, shall be made to expedite the movement of public transit vehicles (including taxis and vanpools) and to improve pedestrian safety.

    5. Pedestrian areas shall be enhanced wherever possible to improve the safety and comfort of pedestrians and to encourage travel by foot.

    6. Bicycling shall be promoted by encouraging safe streets for riding, convenient access to transit, bicycle lanes, and secure bicycle parking.

    7. Parking policies for areas well served by public transit shall be designed to encourage travel by public transit and alternative transportation.

    8. New transportation investment should be allocated to meet the demand for public transit generated by new public and private commercial and residential developments.

    9. The ability of the City and County to reduce traffic congestion depends on the adequacy of regional public transportation. The City and County shall promote the use of regional mass transit and the continued development of an integrated, reliable, regional public transportation system.

    10. The City and County shall encourage innovative solutions to meet public transportation needs wherever possible and where the provision of such service will not adversely affect the service provided by the Municipal Railway. (Added November 1999)

  • “This has gone from bizarre to strange. Frankly I don’t care about Anderson now, I’m wondering what crack the judge is smoking. Even if he had said “NO -THIS EIR IS INSUFFICIENT” I would be upset but far less befuddled…
    And his selection of projects? Did he give any justification? It seems very random. How does he justify it?”

    Oh Murph, you don’t care about me any more? You have never cared about reading anything, either, including Judge Busch’s decision yesterday, which this blog has linked for you. Therein Busch tells us that these projects were selected because they “are least intrusive and most easily reversible should it turn out that the City has not satisfied its CEQA obligations for some reason.” (page 2) The city still has to convince the judge that its EIR on the Bicycle Plan is adequate, a decision he will make next year after reading the briefs from both sides. Yesterday’s decision came as a result of the city’s motion to have the injunction dissolved before the hearing on the adequacy of the EIR, which, as we pointed out, would have been putting the cart before the horse.

    Of course for those of you who never thought an EIR was necessary in the first place, this will seem like a further impertinence to the great, planet saving bicycle movement.

    What Noe Valley Jim thinks he’s proving with this chunk of the city charter escapes me. Yes, of course the bike fanatics and their collaborators in City Hall inserted the notion that bikes have something to do with public transit, but it seems unlikely that any but the faithful will be impressed. Ask a city voter what he/she thinks “public transit” means, and the answer will be something about buses, trains, and streetcars, not bikes. This only shows that you bike people live in your own world, not the one inhabited by the rest of us.

  • Rob – you live in a world all your own. We just allow you to visit.

  • anonymouse

    Something is fundamentally broken in San Francisco, when things like this take so long to deal with. It’s not just that there are crackpots and obstructionists, it’s also that the law gives them as much power as it does, and that the City politicians and bureaucrats don’t know or care how to deal with it. SF used to be “the city that knows how”, now it’s the city that just can’t be bothered. And I don’t know what political affiliation Rob Anderson claims to be, but he strikes me as a perfect example of the San Francisco conservative, most of whom still call themselves liberals while fighting any change or progress in their precious city.

  • “Something is fundamentally broken in San Francisco, when things like this take so long to deal with.”

    What’s broken in SF is the progressive movement, which is smug, self-righteous and just wrong on so many issues—homelessness, housing, development, and the great, planet-saving bicycle movement. Progressives opposed Care Not Cash and Mayor Newsom’s other programs to get the homeless off our streets and out of our parks (The homeless were seen by progs as just poor people who can’t pay the rent in SF). They have encouraged gentrification by supporting projects like the Rincon Hill luxury highrises, the Market/Octavia Plan—40-story highrises at Market and Van Ness!—and allowing UC to put a massive housing development on the old extension property that was zoned for “public use” for 150 years. They want to legalize prostitution and put our power system into the hands of a government that is running more than $500 million in the red, ideas city voters reject.

    I’m a member of the Democratic Party—pro-choice, pro-civil rights, pro-gay rights, and concerned about the environment.

    “It’s not just that there are crackpots and obstructionists, it’s also that the law gives them as much power as it does, and that the City politicians and bureaucrats don’t know or care how to deal with it.”

    The law in question, the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970, is a state law that SF has to follow like every other city in the state. I know you and other city progs think SF is so special that it can ignore Federal and state laws, but that is not the case. With the Bicycle Plan, the city flagrantly violated the most important environmental law in the state.

    Again, I challenge city progs to put the Bicycle Plan on the ballot for city voters to consider. I’m convinced that you’re in the minority on this issue, just as you are on prostitution and public power.

  • Chris

    Rob – what would be the point of putting the bike plan on the ballot? It would still have to pass CEQA muster, so there’s no advantage there. We still have a REPRESENTATIVE government here, right? If you don’t agree with what our ELECTED representatives are pushing, feel free to run against them, beat them, and put forth other policies. Oh, wait.

  • Nick

    If you actually talk to some of the cyclists on the street, you will find that many of them are extremely conservative. But to Rob, if they’re on a bike in SF they’re just another “radical cyclist.”

  • the greasybear

    So as the global cycling revolution unfolds, New Yorkers get 200 miles of bike lanes. Washingtonians get bike sharing and a cycle track. Portlanders get a whole network, and Detroiters get a grade-separated pathway. San Franciscans? We get random crumbs, hand-picked by an antagonistic judge for being “most easily reversible”

    No wonder Critical Mass was born in this reactionary backwater here.

    The policy arguments, judicial moves, state standards, and Andersonian posturing may amuse from a dry, academic standpoint–but this is about the basic safety of tens of thousands of flesh-and-blood San Franciscans. Bob Dylan wrote “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.” Any attempt at a “reversal” of critical bike infrastructure on our shared roadways shall be met with massive civil disobedience, and rightly so.

  • Why do you live here, Mr. Anderson? You obviously dislike “progs” and yet that is what San Francisco is famous for. You obviously dislike people who live outside the Suburban American ideal, and yet that is what people have come to live here for. I would also say you dislike the City having the ability to create infrastructure that makes the streets safe for all who use it. So why not move somewhere where the car is King and no one can walk anywhere?

    So, again, why do you live here? Do you enjoy being seen as a blight and a crackpot? Is this the only place where you can get joy out of making others frustrated and angry? Is there no way you could put your energy into something helpful like making sure there is enough money to keep our schools open or fixing Muni or greening your neighborhood…?

    Feel free to take these questions as rhetorical.

  • “The law in question, the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970, is a state law that SF has to follow like every other city in the state. I know you and other city progs think SF is so special that it can ignore Federal and state laws, but that is not the case. With the Bicycle Plan, the city flagrantly violated the most important environmental law in the state.”

    I don’t think any of us have sincerely said the law should be flouted. None of us you banter with had anything to do with putting the plan together, the people involved know better than to get into a blog war. What we are saying is it shouldn’t take 4 years to comply. It shouldn’t take 30 years to build a Bay Bridge.

    You keep rattling off other things that the supposed “progs” are supposedly screwing up. Opposing Care Not Cash. Supporting Market/Octavia. etc… when the reality is that most of us could give a rats ass. In another life I might even dissect those issues, and who knows how I might think about them. As it stands I don’t care. I just want the City to resolve this stuff. Herrera should go after the judge for the delay – there is no reason it should take until June. Even if Busch rules correctly, he’s not doing his job because he’s wasting so much time.

  • “Rob – you live in a world all your own. We just allow you to visit.”

    Actually, Murph, we’re now living in Judge Busch’s world.

    “Rob – what would be the point of putting the bike plan on the ballot? It would still have to pass CEQA muster, so there’s no advantage there. We still have a REPRESENTATIVE government here, right? If you don’t agree with what our ELECTED representatives are pushing, feel free to run against them, beat them, and put forth other policies. Oh, wait.”

    I have to point out whenever you folks claim that the people of SF want to implement the Bicycle Plan that city voters have never had an opportunity to vote on it, and if they did they would probably reject it. You have “progressive” majorities in some districts, but you still couldn’t elect Matt Gonzalez mayor in 2003, the high water mark for city progs at the ballot box. And in 2007 you couldn’t even find a plausible candidate to run against him. If we didn’t have district elections, none of the uber-progs on the Board of Supervisors would be elected. (That Mirkarimi is the errand boy for the Bicycle Coalition is one reason he’ll never be elected mayor—that and his endorsement of Critical Mass and the defense of cop-killer, Mumia Abu Jamal.) I think the way so many of you cyclists misbehave on city streets is having a cumulative impact, so to speak, on public opinion. And then there’s Critical Mass…You seem to think you’re so adorable and hip—not to mention saving the planet—but I think you’re quite mistaken.

    “If you actually talk to some of the cyclists on the street, you will find that many of them are extremely conservative. But to Rob, if they’re on a bike in SF they’re just another ‘radical cyclist.'”

    I’ve never used the phrase “radical cyclist,” and my critique doesn’t apply to all cyclists, obviously. If the shoe fits, wear it.

    “So, again, why do you live here? Do you enjoy being seen as a blight and a crackpot? Is this the only place where you can get joy out of making others frustrated and angry? Is there no way you could put your energy into something helpful like making sure there is enough money to keep our schools open or fixing Muni or greening your neighborhood…? Feel free to take these questions as rhetorical.”

    “Rhetorical” questions? You mean you don’t want me to answer them? You may consider me a “crackpot,” but I suspect I’m a lot more representative of public opinion in SF on the blight of punks on bikes than you folks are. Which is why I think it would be interesting to have the Bicycle Plan on the ballot. Your sense of entitlement is often irrelevant to public policy in the city, which is what makes you angry. No legalized prostitution! No public power! Interesting that you don’t deign to address any of the actual issues involved with the Bicycle Plan and the litigation. You already know the answers, right? Easier to call me names and throw out a bunch of stupid questions. I live here because it’s my home, and I happen to like it here.

  • Chris

    “I have to point out whenever you folks claim that the people of SF want to implement the Bicycle Plan that city voters have never had an opportunity to vote on it, and if they did they would probably reject it.”

    We still have a representative government here. The voters have the opportunity to vote for representatives who establish policies. If voters do not like the bike plan, they’re welcome to lobby their representative, and if they do not listen, they’re welcome to vote that person out. Perhaps you don’t quite understand how representative government works? The VAST majority of policies are not put before the voters – if you feel that people would reject a bike plan, why not put one on the ballot yourself? All of the things that I want done are being pursued by my representatives.

    “You have “progressive” majorities in some districts, but you still couldn’t elect Matt Gonzalez mayor in 2003, the high water mark for city progs at the ballot box. And in 2007 you couldn’t even find a plausible candidate to run against him. If we didn’t have district elections, none of the uber-progs on the Board of Supervisors would be elected. (That Mirkarimi is the errand boy for the Bicycle Coalition is one reason he’ll never be elected mayor—that and his endorsement of Critical Mass and the defense of cop-killer, Mumia Abu Jamal.) I think the way so many of you cyclists misbehave on city streets is having a cumulative impact, so to speak, on public opinion. And then there’s Critical Mass…You seem to think you’re so adorable and hip—not to mention saving the planet—but I think you’re quite mistaken.”

    I’m not that progressive. But I very heartily support bicycle infrastructure, just like people in those uber-progressive whacko liberals in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Boise.

  • A Psalm Reflecting on a Judicial Order this Twenty-Eighth Day of November

    The bicycle is my friend, that I shall not want for transportation.

    It is not progressive–oh no! Bicycles reform not, neither do they tax.

    Like a pair of fine walking shoes, they are traditional and sensible, guiding us in the path of righteousness. They lead us to the quiet waters of health whether we like it or not.

    Lo, the modest bicycle is democracy incarnate. All may partake in the bounty of its inexpensive ingenuity.

    Even when we ride through the shadow of tall buildings, we fear not for the bicycle does not isolate us from nature or our fellow man but instead builds joy and community.

    The bicycle’s wheels and gears comfort us, its baskets and well-padded seats charm us, and it takes up so blessedly little space.

    Surely goodness and love will one day flow to our bicycles and we will someday dwell in the land of good infrastructure forever.

  • Nick

    I think Rob is right in that city voters would probably reject the bike plan if it were put on the ballot. Not out of spite (his motive) but out of a lack of concern because they don’t personally need bike infrastructure.

    -The same way a ballot measure to legalize parking on the sidewalk would probably pass.

    -Or the way an inter-city freeway system would pass.

    -Or the way a measure would pass to forgo excessive penalties on one’s first DUI…

  • the greasybear

    Interesting fact: Rob Anderson ran for office.

    He earned the fewest votes of anyone on the ballot. Last place: so much for Rob Anderson representing a majority of San Franciscans.

  • “I think Rob is right in that city voters would probably reject the bike plan if it were put on the ballot. Not out of spite (his motive) but out of a lack of concern because they don’t personally need bike infrastructure.”

    This is one of the big problems with you adherents of the bike fantasy: you are evidently incapable of examining your belief system. God knows I’ve given you every opportunity on my blog. I oppose the Bicycle Plan out of “spite”? Only someone who’s deeply dishonest intellectually could make that statement. I oppose it because it’s simply bad public policy to take away street parking and traffic lanes on busy city streets to make bike lanes based on the delusion that drivers are going to abandon motor vehicles en masse and take up cycling. All it’s going to do is screw up traffic for everyone, including the 700,000 daily passengers on our Muni system.

    The massive EIR on the Bicycle Plan is flawed in a number of ways, but its authors had to admit that implementing the Bicycle Plan is going to have a negative effect on traffic and Muni on a number of city streets. Now I understand that some of you think that’s a good thing, that drivers of wicked motor vehicles need to be punished for their planet-destroying behavior. But I think it’s nutty, and I suspect a majority of city voters agree with me.

    Interesting fact: Rob Anderson ran for office.

    “He earned the fewest votes of anyone on the ballot. Last place: so much for Rob Anderson representing a majority of San Franciscans.”

    In my last campaign for District 5 Supervisor last year, I got 1,900 votes in ultra-prog D5, and I barely campaigned at all. I thought it was amusing, by the way, how Ross Mirkarimi distanced himself from the city’s bike people in all his campaign literature. Even he perceived that being too closely identified with the SFBC and Critical Mass would not play well with a big chunk of D5 voters.
    http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2008/09/ross-mirkarmi-errand-boy-for-bicycle.html

  • Chris

    “But I think it’s nutty, and I suspect a majority of city voters agree with me”

    So put something on the ballot. If you’re convinced that the voters want no more bike infrastructure, I encourage you to place a proposition on the ballot and we’ll see. I’m confused as to why you keep pressuring others to put something on the ballot that is already being pursued by our ELECTED representatives, yet you don’t want to do the opposite yourself – put something on the ballot to overturn what our elected reps are doing. If you’re convinced that SF voters want bike infrastructure less than the ultra-progressives lefty populaces of places like Boise and Tampa, put something on the ballot.

  • Nick

    SFBC is not Critcal Mass just as AAA is not a freeway traffic jam.

    Rob gets one one less thing to gripe about: It appears SFBC has removed Critical Mass from it’s Chain of Events webpage.

    I guess this means CM will now be disbanded in 300+ cities worldwide.

  • Things could be much worse. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition just won an extension to the Los Angeles Bicycle Plan review period because the new plan has reduced the number of bike lanes over the plan before.

    Meanwhile we shouldn’t forget the growth in bicycling without infrastructure improvements, over 50% in the last two years to 6% of the total trips in the City. With private vehicles producing over 50% of SF’s Green House Gases it’s great news for the environment that cycling continues to grow so rapidly as a choice for urban transportation.

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