Today’s Headlines

  • Muni Driver Who Killed Emily Dunn in Castro Crosswalk in 2011 Acquitted of Charges (BAR)
  • SF Unified School District May Adopt Vision Zero (SF Examiner)
  • Video Shows Driver Cut Off Cyclist in Bike Lane, Unleash Road Rage at Webster and Geary (The Blaze)
  • #ParkingDirtySF: SF Bicycle Coalition Lists 15 Worst Streets
  • Free Muni for Seniors and Riders With Disabilities Launches (SFBay, ABC)
  • N-Judah Tunnel Work Cleared to Continue (Hoodline); J-Church Blocked By Water Main Break (NBC)
  • SFMTA’s Brinkman, Ramos: SF General Can Avoid Building Parking By Curbing Demand (SFBay)
  • Crowdsourced Shuttle Service “Chariot” Drops Cole Valley From Haight-California-SoMa Line (Hoodline)
  • Curbed SF Maps All of SF’s 51 Parklets Now in Existence
  • BART to Test New Cars With Bike Racks on Each End (SFBC); More on 19th St Bike Station (Weekly)
  • Shuttle Drivers for Several Silicon Valley Companies Vote to Unionize (SFBay)
  • Poll: 66 Percent of Californians Oppose “Vehicle Miles Traveled” Fee to Pay for Roads (Mercury News)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • jd_x

    “Video Shows Driver Cut Off Cyclist in Bike Lane, Unleash Road Rage at Webster and Geary”

    Let me guess: there will be no charges against this driver because there “isn’t enough evidence”, right? I hope I’m wrong, but if this guy is not punished (which must include the loss of a license for a significant amount of time (I suggest 1 year) and community service working with pedestrian and cyclist advocacy groups) then Vision Zero and “20% by 2020” are nothing but empty slogans.

  • Prinzrob

    John Oliver publicly shames Oakland’s poor pavement conditions in this great piece on the US infra maintenance deficit. He does a nice job covering the gas tax issues, but unfortunately leaves out the VMT alternative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpzvaqypav8

  • Prinzrob

    Some people seem to routinely fly off the handle when they think that someone so much as touched their car, as though it were an extension of their soul. The car that they drive around on the street, running over skunks and getting crapped on by birds.

    These are often the same people who seem to have little concern over coming in contact with and doing damage to someone’s human body with said car.

    Not that this is something I recommend, but if you are driving close enough to a person that they can reach out and slap your car then I would say that’s fair game.

  • EastBayer

    Ack. Prepare thyself with some spandex-grade body armor if you venture into The Blaze website…

  • mx

    As a sidenote, Polk St. bike lane advocates have taken to posting four one-star Yelp reviews for Drs Hiura & Hiura Optometrists based seemingly on StreetsBlog’s coverage of the debate.

    It’s certainly one thing not to shop there if you disagree with their position, but intentionally going out of your way to hurt a business by posting false reviews (if you’ve never been there, you have no business giving a one-star review) because of their legitimate disagreement with you is wrong.

  • 42apples

    Breaking news: people want free lunches. More spending and lower taxes.

  • murphstahoe

    I looked at some of the reviews. Do the reviews impugn the Hiura’s skills as optometrists? If so, those are false reviews. I say nothing of that sort.

    If the reviews point out the Hiura’s position on the bike lane, and recommend that people who dislike this position should refrain from supporting the Hiura’s business, this is NOT a false review. The reader can decide for themselves if they consider the Hiura’s position – which very well may actually impact the conditions on the street – to be relevant to their decision to patronize that business.

    Wal-Mart sells a lot of items that I purchase from other stores, at lower prices than I pay elsewhere. I choose not to patronize Wal-Mart solely due to some of their practices that have nothing to do with their core customer facing facets – price, selection, service. The Hiuras are no different.

    The Hiuras made a calculated decision to oppose the bike lane. Perhaps because they worried it would impact their business. Maybe they miscalculated the fact that some of their patrons/potential patrons would be upset about their position. All businesses make decisions that impact their success that have nothing to do with their core business. Perhaps the Hiuras will find out if they made a prudent decision or not.

  • thielges

    Indeed. Not familiar with Blaze I thought it was the web presence of a US city’s newspaper. “Why does this city hate bicyclists so much?”

    Wrong, TheBlaze is a national right/libertarian leaning website which sort of explains the strange level of hating.

    But is there any basic reason that right wing and libertarians tend to hate bicyclists more than the general public? Bicycling is fiscally conservative and increases personal freedom, both facets that fit will with this ideology. Yet when you read the comments you see myth that bicyclists don’t pay their fair share of roads over and over. The commenters seem to believe that the gas tax and vehicle fees cover it all.

    So what is the deep rooted cause that Glenn Beck’s followers really dislike bicyclists? It seems to go beyond the stated ideologies and into something psychologically warped.

  • Tom

    I support a business if that business supports the inclusive local community, including their safety. Service and price are secondary to me. If a business decides to go out of its way to endanger the lives of the community members, I think that’s entirely relevant to a review. I did not leave a review, but feel that those who did were completely justified.

  • murphstahoe

    millions for what I use, not one penny for anything I don’t understand a direct benefit from.

  • EastBayer

    Probably because it’s good for the environment.

  • Michael Morris

    classic example of why you shouldn’t fight fire with fire when talking about SF transportation.

  • mx

    It’s simply bullying behavior. This is a legitimate policy debate about what Polk St. should look like. There’s a big difference between advocating for a certain proposal (even if it’s a design many of us here disagree with) and “endanger[ing] the lives of the community members” as you put it. If the optometrists were randomly putting spike strips in the road or something, I’d agree with you, but that’s not what’s happening here.

  • jd_x

    I disagree with @disqus_IY18SJ53WP:disqus and agree with @Tom. Ignoring the effects your business and comments to officials have on your community (in this case bicyclists and pedestrians are being killed and maimed because of a dangerous, car-centric road design) is not much different than actively taking action against people when the the status quo is already killing people. Even being passive and not wanting the status quo to change, people are getting injured/killed and this business is effectively saying it doesn’t care. And this is a medical professional, no less, who should care about these things.

    I don’t think it’s any more wrong for a reviewer to use the business’s politics anymore than it is for the business to play its own politics to manipulate the community for their own monetary gain. Why is it okay for businesses to be able to manipulate politicians (which, by the way, is usually done behind the scenes) but then one place where the community does — online reviews, which are public — it’s not okay?

  • chetshome

    Yelp has removed them!

  • murphstahoe

    “This is a legitimate policy debate about what Polk St. should look like”

    Bullshit. That policy debate was had in open forum. Then the Hiuras pulled a Frank Underwood and went around the debate and got Ed Lee to kill the bike lane outside of public debate.

    That’s crap.

  • Gezellig

    Yelp has a pretty detailed history of removing reviews that reference a business owner’s record on corporate-social responsibility issues.

    Yelp claims that these things are irrelevant to consumers–as if consumers only ever care about (and, per Yelp’s prescriptivist stance *should only care about*) whether the owner smiled or poured them extra coffee, not that the owners vocally support/oppose policies that affect the whole community.

  • p_chazz

    Nice try, but the reviews have nothing to do with the quality of the service delivered by the Drs. Hiura which is what Yelp reviews. There was a similar case where a restaurateur made life difficult for a food truck that was parked outside her establishment. This resulted in a flurry of bad Yelp reviews, which Yelp removed because they had nothing to do with the food.

  • Nicasio Nakamine

    Bicycles are the only area where you can get those types to actively advocate for government registration, licensing and taxation.

  • murphstahoe

    This says more about Yelp than anything else.

  • p_chazz

    You should totally create an app to rate a business’ bicycle-friendliness. You could call it “SpokeUP.”

  • murphstahoe

    I am a cyclist – when I have a perfectly good wheel I do not reinvent it.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Shameful, but things seem to be getting a little better.

  • p_chazz

    If Yelp chooses to only allow reviews that cover the product or sevice rendered, and not allow reviews based on how well or poorly the business owner complies with a laundry list of issues compiled by some social justice warrior, that is Yelp’s business decision to make. An app that rated local businesses on their political correctness would go over real well in this town. Whoever invented it could become the next big thing.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Anyone catch the license plate number of this joker?

  • Guest

    I can certainly post a one star review stating “this business owner is hostile to cyclists and I never intend to shop there.” There is nothing dishonest or disingenuous about that.

  • NoeValleyJim

    It seems to be that you think that a boycott is an illegitimate use of economic power. Would you have sided with the segregationists then vs. Martin Luther King in his effort to desegregate The South?

  • Guest

    can flag and contest those reviews..

  • Can review on Google maps too.

  • mx

    Nowhere did I say that. Your comparison to segregation is deeply offensive to me, and I would be so presumptuous to presume to the Drs. Hiura as well.

  • mx

    Yelp’s review guidelines are pretty clear: “Please make sure your contributions are relevant and appropriate to the forum. For example, reviews aren’t the place for rants about a business’s employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don’t address the core of the consumer experience.”

    It is plainly dishonest to give a negative review of a business that you’ve never set foot inside. If you ran a restaurant, wouldn’t you find it disingenuous if Michael Bauer (in the Chronicle) refused to taste your food, but gave you one star because of a dispute you had with the Planning Commission?

  • murphstahoe

    cool story bro

  • murphstahoe

    Interesting.

    If I ride a bike, I might say “I really like this business because they let me bring my bike inside which makes shopping there easier”. Similarly, I might say “This business won’t let me bring my bike in and it makes it harder to shop there”.

    This sort of review would be immensely helpful to me.

    I believe that making the streetscape in front of the store hostile to the transportation mode I use to get to said store to also be relevant.

    Yelp’s review guidelines are clear – that doesn’t mean their review guidelines aren’t crap – it’s well established that Yelp is pretty sketchy.

  • coolbabybookworm

    Yeah, how dare a review take into account labor and employment practices. That could never impact the experience.

  • Gezellig

    Yup–seeing as how often people mention car parking or even car traffic in reference to getting to a business it would follow that mentioning other modes (transit, walking, biking)…especially in the context of the owner actively pushing to worsen such modes–would be relevant to some consumers.

  • Gezellig

    The first time Yelp practiced this policy on a large-scale was in 2008 with Prop 8 when Yelp removed all reviews referencing business owners’ contributions to a cause that removed people’s civil rights.

    Yelp insisted that a business owner donating money to a cause which removed people’s civil rights had no relevance and that real consumers shouldn’t care either way (judging by the hundreds of reviews Yelp deleted across many businesses, clearly that wasn’t the case).

    According to Yelp you shouldn’t care about or even question any social externalities related to a business, only stuff like whether you got a free refill.

    Of course that’s Yelp’s choice (though it’s always fair game to criticize them for it, too). However, in practice Yelp is inconsistent in implementing even its own policies in this regard–social externalities are commonly mentioned in Yelp reviews that never get removed. (also, notice how many people unfavorably reference car access/parking as a relevant factor in a review).

  • murphstahoe

    One thing I find very interesting.

    If Hiura feels so strongly that he is right about his position on the bike lane – he should WELCOME the Yelp reviews!

    Why is he so afraid of being public with his position?