Mayor’s Plans for Bike Lanes Hide Toxic Dangers for Kids

By Richard Lee Abrams : citywatchla – excerpt

CORRUPTION WATCH-I’ve got a cracker jack idea – let’s freshen up our children’s classrooms with lead paint. Better yet, let’s protect the children from fire by using a lot of asbestos…

Asbestos has great qualities such as thermal and acoustical insulation, fire protection, strengthening of other materials. For example, asbestos strengthens floor covering making them resistant to humidity, scratches and scuffmarks.

So, let’s all cheer for more lead paint and more asbestos, especially in children’s play areas…

Oh, I forgot one of the big three in the triumvirate of good things for children’s health – toxic auto emissions…

Bike Lanes in Major Streets vs Bike Paths Away from Autos

The City locates bike lanes in major streets claiming that they are a major health benefit to the community. The City took this false information and used it as a basis for its Vision Zero campaign and its Mobility Plan 2035. Many people told the City that placing bike lanes in major streets posed a health risk to cyclists, especially children. Citizens submitted over 20 studies and research papers, all pointing out the health dangers of bike lanes in major streets. These submissions to the public record are excluded from the City’s Index of Mobility Plan 2035 public records. (Isn’t removing official documents from a public record a felony?)

Let’s Look at The Research on Bike Lanes

Harvard University in its August 15, 2014 Study, Impact of Bicycle Route Type on Exposure to Traffic-related Air Pollution, found that bike paths are significantly less polluted than lanes painted on the road, especially when there’s distance and some vegetation as part of the protection…

The Data Was Easily Available to the City

A 2011 article in the LA Times discussed how bicyclists may be inhaling twice as much soot as pedestrians: “You’ve decided to help your health and the environment by riding your bike to work. Good for you! Sorry to have to deliver the bad news: you may be inhaling more soot…

The Actual Purpose of Bike Lanes – Road Diets

Bike Lanes in healthy locations are worthless as Road Diets. The actual reason the Garcetti administration and councilmembers Bonin conceal the health danger to children is to create Road Diets. They need an excuse to remove travel lanes from major streets in order to create significant traffic congestion. The perverse motivation behind concealing the health dangers of bike lanes in major streets to children is to evade the state’s environmental law…

(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams... (more)

That sounds about right. LA has the same system we do. So why do we want to promote our mayors to higher office when they don’t listen to us now?

 

Objecting to Bike Lanes as ‘Paint Stripe Pollution’

By ERIC JAFFE : citylab – excerpt

Residents of Coronado, California, marched out a series of absurd anti-bike arguments that somehow won the day.

Bicycle advocates have learned how to respond to all sorts of opposition to bike lanes: they’re bad for business (actually, they’re great for it), they slow down traffic (actually, they can decrease travel times), they take up space for cars (actually, they make roads safer for all). But the type of arguments they heard during a public meeting in Coronado, California, earlier this month might have left them speechless.

At issue in the San Diego County resort city was a master plan to add 12 more miles of bike paths. Historically, Coronado has been a bike-friendly place; the League of American Bicyclists has recognized the city’s commitment to cyclists, and the bike commute share is a solid 4.5 percent—no match for the 70 percent of people who drive to work, but still way above the county and national averages. Adopting the measure should have been an oceanside breeze…

 

At the meeting, resident upon resident objected to the bike lanes on emotional grounds that had little to do with the safety evidence presented by experts, and everything to do with an inability to conceive of an urban mobility system that opened to the road to non-drivers. Claire Trageser of local KPBS reports a taste of the befuddling comments brought before the council:… (more)

“You are covering Coronado with paint stripe pollution,” said resident Gerry Lounsbury.
“The graffiti on the streets does not help our property values,” declared Aileen Oya.
The lanes “bring to mind a visual cacophony that if you look there long enough it will induce a dizzying type of vertigo,” said Carolyn Rogerson.
Gerry MacCartee asked if the community couldn’t think of a better option than “these black streets with these brilliant white lines everywhere because believe me, it takes away from your home, from your outlook on life.”
And Darby Monger crafted an analogy to describe the addition of bike lanes to her beloved city.
“It’s very similar to personally taking all three of my daughters to a tattoo parlor and having them completely body tattooed,” she said.

Against all that is holy about logic and reasoning, those arguments won the day. In the end, the council voted “to suspend all proposed bicycle striping and pavement markings and directed staff to place on a future agenda the Bicycle Master Plan as a high priority.” The Coronado mayor endorsed the decision, telling KPBS the public should get what it wants “unless what they’re asking for is illegal or unethical.”
My first thoughts exactly when I first saw the hideous bike graphics on the streets of Noe Valley. Not a high traffic area and not heavily traveled streets, except lately there are scores of tech buses creeping up and down the steep slopes. You hardly need to paint anything on those hills to caution people to slow down.

 

 

Gov. Brown signs bills promoting bike paths

: latimes – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed into law two measures aimed at helping cities and counties expand and improve bike paths and trails, including one allowing voters to consider whether to increase some fees to pay for the work.

Local agencies, including cities and park districts, could place proposals on the ballot that, with a two-thirds vote from local residents, would impose a motor vehicle registration surcharge of up to $5 in those districts, with the proceeds going to developing and maintaining bikeway networks.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) said his bill will allow communities to provide a transportation alternative to driving cars on congested streets. He cited a study that found the more bike lanes provided per square mile in a city, the more commuters took bikes rather than cars.

“Upgrading bike infrastructure will help public safety, the environment and the quality of life in cities across California,” DeSaulnier said of SB 1183.

Brown also agreed to give local governments more flexibility in designing bikeways.

Under existing law, bike lanes must fit precise standards set by the state’s transportation department. AB 1193 by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) allows cities to plan such lanes that may not meet the state’s standards, as long as the designs meet the guidelines set by a national association of public transportation officials… (more)

If you object and you haven’t yet complained to Governor Brown, Ting and DeSaulnier and the other state reps who are following the dictates of the non-profit bike coalitions, you may want to do so now. Contact info: http://discoveryink.wordpress.com/ca-legislation/state-legislators/

 

 

Bike lanes vs. bike paths: Where you ride may make a difference in the pollution you breathe – science roundup

By Susannah L. Bodman :  oregonian – excerpt

When you think of the hazards of commuting by bike or just the occasional ride alongside traffic, what may come first to mind are collisions, driver vs. bicyclist road rage, and maybe even that special bit of hazing called “rollin’ coal.”

Actually, relating to the later, having a driver intentionally blast a plume of smoke in your face is not the only time you may need to worry about what’s coming out of the tailpipes around you.

study published online in advance of the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Science of The Total Environment tested the potential exposure of cyclists to two kinds of traffic-related air pollution, or TRAP, based on where they might ride.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health used mobile monitoring stations to test the air quality along five bike routes in the Boston area, with the routes categorized into three types: bike paths, which were separated from traffic; bike lanes, which ran adjacent to traffic; and designated bike lanes, which were shared by buses and bikes.

They tested for two main components of TRAP: black carbon and nitrogen dioxide.

The result?

The researchers found that bike lanes have significantly* higher concentrations (33 percent) of both key pollutant types than bike paths, but that designated bike lanes had a significantly higher concentration than the paths only for nitrogen dioxide…

In other science news (for the week ending June 28, 2014):

Speaking of nitrogen dioxide and air quality, data from NASA’s Aura satellite is showing that overall air quality in the United States is improving. The satellite measures nitrogen dioxide, which comes from gasoline and coal combustion, as a proxy for overall air pollution. Factors that may be contributing to the improvement include more efficient technology and stricter air quality regulations. (Side note: The next time you hear someone pooh-pooh NASA and what the agency does for us in exchange for the funding it receives, you can point to this: air pollution monitoring.) (Smithsonian Magazine)(more)

This pretty much coincides with the science we have been following. Air quality has improved due to a number of technological breakthroughs. Most scientists point to the use of natural gas instead of coal as a major improvement. Regardless, air quality is improving.

Residents: Improve roads, bridges instead of bike path

By Kent Mallett : newarkadvocate – excerpt

NEWARK — A plan that may expand, connect and improve Licking County bike paths, and a survey about the trail system, drew the ire of a few residents at a transportation meeting Tuesday.

The residents spoke up at a Licking County Area Transportation Study committee meeting Tuesday at the Licking County Administration Building.

They questioned the use of transportation funds for a recreational resource while roads deteriorate, bridges crumble and the federal debt rises…

“A huge flaw in the survey is the assumption that bike paths are at the top of the taxpayers’ list of priorities,” DeRolf said.

She said the survey should have asked respondents to rank the important of bike paths versus roads and bridges.

The survey, DeRolf said, should have gauged support for bike path funding if it adds to the federal deficit, if it requires use of taxpayer dollars, if it increases the respondent’s taxes, and if it takes private property without the owner’s permission…

“A better way to achieve adequate and valid responses would be to place this issue on the ballot.”… (more)

Bike Lanes that work and those that don’t

Unpaved Bike lanes on Potrero Avenue. Very few bikes on this street, which is a major freeway access point to 101 and 280 South as well as Bayview and Cesar Chavez. Neighbors object to the Potrero Plan to reduce traffic and parking by widening the sidewalk and putting in more bike lanes. There are nearby streets with NO TRAFFIC which are better suited for bikes. That is where they are now.

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Repaved Bike lanes on 17th Street. Many bikes use this street. Note the one side of the street where the trucks loading food MUST park in the bike lane. This is a long-established kitchen that is used by the non-profits that serve the area. They were here long before the bike lanes were put in. This neighborhood is full of PDRs that require motor vehicles to do their work. This is why the NE Mission wants to be left alone by the SFMTA. We all get along here.

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RELATED:
Cyclist Hospitalized After Striking Streetcar

The time is now to fix Muni

sfbg.com – exceprt

EDITORIAL San Franciscans love to bash Muni, but this city would be a gridlocked nightmare without it. Despite its many flaws, Muni does a pretty good job at getting people around the city, particularly for a system that has been plagued by chronic underfunding and which is at capacity during peak hours.
Yet in a growing city that has ambitions to grow even faster — pushed by regional motivators such as Plan Bay Area and pulled by the grand designs of powerful capitalists and their neoliberal political enablers — Muni is well on the way to earning all the scorn that critics can heap on it and becoming the self-fulfilling prophecy of dystopian dysfunction.
Into this critical moment comes the city’s Transit Effectiveness Project and its promise to reduce travel times by 20 percent on busy corridors and to improve reliability and service to underserved areas such as the Excelsior. The TEP’s 793-page environmental impact report dropped on the city with a barely noticed thud last month, and it will be the subject of an informational hearing at the Planning Commission this week (Thu/15) and a series of community hearings in the weeks that follow, with public comments due into the Planning Department by Sept. 17.
So now is the time to get serious about addressing long-simmering conflicts between the Muni’s needs and the desires of private automobile drivers, which are often in conflict on roadways where they’re forced to share space. And on a deeper level, this city must resolve the conflict between the need to substantially increase investment in vital public infrastructure and the destructive fantasies of anti-government ideologues who want a functional city but don’t want to pay for it or be inconvenienced.
Only then can we really delve into the devilish details of the TEP, with tough-to-resolve conflicts between reducing stops to speed service and the needs of the elderly and disabled, whether to limit cycling in certain stretches, how to slow traffic and limit parking without triggering motorist backlash, and how to quickly expand capacity again after you’ve improved the system and encouraged more people to use it.
But these are solvable problems if San Franciscans of all stripes acknowledge the realities of a growing city with a finite capacity to accommodate cars and an infinite need to improve Muni and the safety of pedestrians, laudable goals of the TEP and its new EIR, which is designed to smooth the way for many transit improvement projects to come.
We won’t get there by pandering to people who are pissed off about efforts to regulate street parking in their neighborhoods (and we certainly won’t get there if certain supervisors now making rumblings about taking parking regulation back from the SFMTA get their way). It’s time to truly become the transit-first city we claim to be, and that process starts now.

The SFMTA has had plenty of leeway to fix the Muni and so far, most folks feel they have done a lousy job. Most people do not feel that generating funds is the problem. Allocating funds is. Muni management is confused and failing to convince the public that they are succeeding in their chief goals of fixing the Muni and balancing the budget. We suggest, once again that they concentrate on “getting us where they need to go, not telling us how to get there.”

Golden Gate Park bikeway is confusing

By Ellen Huet : sfchronicle.com – excerpt

When San Francisco officials chose Golden Gate Park for the city’s first separated bikeway, they knew the format – with parallel parking sandwiched between car traffic and bicycle lanes – would take some getting used to. A year later, however, the city’s efforts to educate cyclists and drivers have dropped off, and confusion is still rampant… …  (more)
Who’s responsible: Bond Yee, director of sustainable streets at the Municipal Transportation Agency, bond.yee@sfmta.com

Chronicle Watch : If you know of something that needs to be improved, the Chronicle Watch team wants to hear from you. E-mail your issue to: chroniclewatch@sfchronicle.com, or reach us on Twitter at@SFChronWatch and Facebook.com/sfchronwatch

What do you expect when SFMTA hires the SF Bicycle Coalition to design bike paths and they come up with ideas that run counter to the California highway design standards, as seen here:
Bikeway Planning and Design, p. 15 of the June 26, 2012 edition of the Highway Design Manual, 1003.2 Class II Bikeways (1) a, “Bike lanes shall not be placed between the parking area and the curb. Such facilities increase the conflict between bicyclists and opening car doors and reduce visibility at intersections. Also, they prevent bicyclists from leaving the bike lane to turn left and cannot be effectively maintained.”

Wonder how many rules have been ignored by the SFMTA in their rush to disrupt our lives. Who will file the first to
file a complaint.

San Francisco is no longer tourist friendly.

When natives can no longer get across town easily, how do they expect the tourists to navigate through this city with bike lanes where parking lanes should be and red and green and purple streets. SF has the dubious distinction of being the third most difficult city in the country to navigate. Way to go, SFMTA. Do you feel safer with a lot of stressed out drivers behind with wheel?

To add insult to injury, we hear that a consortium of the SF Bicycle Coalition, Nelson/Nygaard, and individuals working for the SFMTA, have a hired lobbyist to to re-write the rules to legalize the Gold Gate Park disaster. Your tax dollars at work?

Just when your thought the SFMTA was going to work on fixing the muni, they come up with more plans for bike paths and subways, but nothing for Muni riders.
Spot-By-Spot, or Route-By-Route? SFMTA Refines Its Bicycle Strategy
Pricey Central Subway contract leaves little room for future cost overruns, “…$100 million more expensive than originally anticipated…”

Proposed Parking Changes on Polk in San Francisco Prompt Protests

Kron4tv – excerpt

Proposed Parking Changes on Polk Street Prompt Protest

City officials say there is a, “high rate of accidents in the area”.

Probably because the new rules are so confusing and everybody is so stressed. People have forgotten how to walk, bike and drive in the city. The level of civility is at an all time low. The right of way should belong to whoever enters the intersection first.

SFMTA claims the changes will start in 2015.

DON’T WAIT to act.

SFMTA has signs contracts years in advance of the work commencing. Stop the contracts by filing appeals and complaints early in the process.

North Beach residents concerned about the plan to extract the boring machines by tearing up Columbus Ave., learned at a recent meeting that the tunnel boring contracts were signed four years before they were told about them.

(more)

San Francisco’s Transit Planning Process Threatens Market Street’s Revival

krfarr.com – excerpt

When Kieran Farr recently resigned from the Geary Street BRT Advisory Committee, he stated, “what I’ve seen in the past 6 years has been a severe disappointment during which I have lost trust in America’s regulatory framework to enact effective transit improvements.” Farr acted after planners announced that Bus Rapid Transit on Geary— a decade old idea set to be implemented in 2012—has been pushed back to 2020. But as Farr also noted, delay in implementing transit projects is less a national problem than a San Francisco one. The Geary BRT experience shows how the city’s seemingly endless transit and community planning processes discourage rather than foster public participation. Now the challenge is for the city to avoid similar diversions and delays in transit plans for Central Market, especially as “new ideas” have emerged that threaten the community consensus for the area…
That’s why talk of shifting buses from Mission to Market and sending bicyclists in the reverse direction is so troubling. While I understand that “all options must be explored,” and believe in “keeping an open mind,” that Market Street is seriously being considered as a transportation hub for above-ground buses rather than bicycles is entirely inconsistent with the vision for the street that emerged from the community planning process… (more)

RELATED:
Market Street overhaul rethinks Mission too
Remaking one of the city’s busiest streets could involve banishing buses from downtown Mission Street and redesigning the thoroughfare to make travel safer and easier for the city’s growing number of cyclists.
The plan being studied by city officials is the newest of three alternatives for a $350 million Better Market Street project, which would remake the city’s main boulevard into a designated transit corridor and transform the adjoining downtown sidewalks and plazas into inviting places for the hordes of workers, tourists and other visitors who jam into the area every day…
“The curbs (on Market Street) were built of granite and meant to stay,” she added. “We don’t take moving them lightly.”… (more)

Comments and letters to the editor:

Slow down all of San Francisco’s wheels – In reference to city planner Neil Hrushowy‘s comment in “Broader view also rethinks Mission” (Feb. 5) that cars undermine San Francisco’s city center because the “key to the city center is people” and “you don’t go downtown to watch cars go by,” I’d add that I don’t go there to dodge bicycles, either.
High time for a transportation plan that discusses how best to manage wheels, not just those of cars, in our downtown, which Hrushowy describes as “the most democratic space in the city, with something for everyone,” as well as on all city streets.
– Bonnie Elliott, San Francisco

Give Muni money The city wants to spend well over $1 million redoing Mission Street so the area is bike and pedestrian friendly (“Broader view also rethinks Mission,” Feb. 5).
Why don’t they put the money into fixing Muni so that it’s a reliable source of transportation for everyone?
– Joanne Bloomfield, San Francisco