Friday, November 28, 2008

Do they need an EIR for this???

The city of SF just finished the Draft EIR which will now be reviewed, moving us a step closer to putting some new bike infrastructure in the City. For the last 2 years nary a bike rack could be put in, and let me tell you, they can use 2-3 of them in front of Pakwan.

As I understand it (this whole paragraph is subject to technical error but you will get the point) - generally, the "government" (city, county, state) in California can decide not to do an EIR for a project if the impact of such project is negligible. Rob Anderson argued that the bike plan needed an EIR, a judge agreed with him. The City could have prepared a statement to say there need not be an EIR but decided it would be easier to just do an EIR. The draft is now done.

Now, how could adding in bike lanes and bike racks have a negative impact on the environment? To hear Mr. Anderson, the removal of lanes will cause a backup of traffic and cause more pollution. I don't agree - but we can look at the EIR and see what that says.

What I wonder is - did Costco need to do an EIR on their gas station? I have never ridden by this place and not seen the following scene...

4 lines ten deep to fill up, cars all running. Talk about gridlock. What's amusing is I saw a co-worker in this line as I rode to Caltrain. He lives in Menlo Park, 1 mile from Caltrain. I urged him to take the train, he said "It takes too much time". Is he factoring in the 30 minutes he spends filling up twice a week?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rob Anderson is a complete tool.

Rob Anderson is a complete tool.

No need to play politics or try to convince this irrelevant batty old fool that he is wrong. I'm done wasting my time - he's in the killfile. If I do go nutso and decide to run for D8 Supervisor I will go down swinging with the statement that San Francisco needs to get things done and become a livable city. Local to D8 to me that means things like calming the traffic on the Eureka Street "Expressway", making sure that Whole Foods does not turn 24th Street into a parking lot (I love that we will get the WF but how will Noe survive the traffic influx?), and global to the city meaning getting that EIR done so we can get some bike racks and bike lanes out there, and getting the TEP rolling in this century so we can get MUNI cooking with gas. And wasting as little time as possible on fools.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holier than You Quiz

I have had my share of dumb dustups lately.

1) At work, I park my bike in a parking garage. Where I enter the garage, there is a gate that swings up and down to let cars in, you need your badge to open the gate. There is a gap on the right side that is more than wide enough for a bike, so I just ride through. One day, there was a car going into the garage. Instead of swinging to the right where there is no gate, I just followed the car. The car went through. The gate started going back down. I went through. Boom.

2) At bowling, I park my bike on a railing in the parking lot. I ride up from the BART station, into the parking lot. Last week there were a couple of cars going into the lot via the main entrance, and I noted the handicap access slot going onto the sidewalk surrounding the lot. I rode up the ramp, onto the sidewalk, to then cross the sidewalk and go into the parking lot. Problem - there is a 4 inch curb around the parking lot on the edge of the sidewalk. I hit the curb, went over the bars, boom.

Somehow I managed to get through both of these unscathed. Amazing as in the past it seemed everytime I crash, I have major surgery.

Today I had a minor incident that was not my fault. First person to guess what could have possibly caused an incident on Sand Hill Road going through Stanford gets to be Holier than You for a day. Bonus - if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can have some holier than you pomegranates from our tree in Healdsburg.

For those not familiar with this stretch of road, here is a street view of the "Danger Zone". It's like Baghdad, as you can see. I was in the luxurious bike lane on the opposite side of the road, outside of the white SUV in this picture.

This isn't really a trick question, I am just a little annoyed and sanctimonious.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Carbon Offsets are Holier than Yours

We go to Healdsburg 2-3 times a month. And the Honda Pilot (Aiyah!) is always involved - even if I take the GG Transit 72X bus up, my wife drives up. It drives me batshit insane but the problem is that even though bikes on transit is improving, and the 72X is really good and connects to SC Transit #60, Dogs on Transit is just not happening (you can actually take a muzzled dog on SF MUNI, but that won't get us
to Healdsburg).

I soothed my nerves and conscience with some "Carbon Offsets" last weekend. I have been a very harsh critic of the whole concept of offsets. That money people pay to "offset" their carbon is not paying the "Hoover C02 Vacuum Company" to suck the
CO2 from the air. And even if they are planting a tree out in Madagascar to suck in CO2, most of the money is going into administrative costs, and the net effect of that tree is debateable (and perhaps we should be reforesting even if we DON'T drive to Chez Panisse and take BART instead).

Anyway, instead of cutting a check, I planted 2 "Flowering Pear" trees in our yard. OK, there are my offsets. Of course, how much C02 this will take out of the air is debatable (I am as self-flagellating as I am self-congratulatory).

1) I didn't plant them from seed, the trees already existed. Of course, by buying the 6 foot tree, the Felton Urban Tree Farm will plant some new starts.

2) We had to get in the car AGAIN to go get the trees. How long until I offset just that trip!

3) Does planting a tree do anything? Among other nagging questions "Some researchers suggest forests in the snowy North might actually increase local warming by absorbing sunlight that would otherwise be reflected into space. And dead, decaying trees release some of that captured carbon back into the atmosphere." (the flowering pear is deciduous).

On the bright side - Measure Q passed! No dogs I am sure, but it's still a good omen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Huzzah Shirley!

The SFBC's Bikes ONBoard subcommittee has worked hard under the
leadership of the tireless Shirley Johnson and Caltrain is ... how
would I put it? "Grudgingly listening?" We'll see. But if it were
not for efforts from Shirley's crew, Caltrain would have just rolled
their plan to slap up a few more racks and be done with it.

Here is a mail from Shirley to all those Caltrain cyclists who signed
the petitions circulating on the train and at bike related events the
past several months. Make time in your calendar to Crash the Gates at
the JPB meeting in January.



Update from Caltrain board meeting held November 6
Caltrain staff intends to present two options for modestly increasing
onboard bicycle capacity to the Joint Powers Board (Caltrain board) at the
board meeting on January 8, 2009. No word on what those two options are
yet, and we're concerned that Caltrain may not adequately address
cyclists needs. We'll need a strong presence at the board meeting, so
please mark your calendar for 10am, Thursday, January 8 at 1250 San Carlos
Ave, San Carlos.

Email Caltrain every time you're bumped
Caltrain continues to downplay the severity of the bike capacity problem.
We need to keep reminding them, so please email Caltrain every time you<92>re
bumped. You'll probably get a form letter response, but please keep
writing to them. You can find a handy email link at the top of our web

Photo help needed
We're looking for people to take photographs on trains, particularly if
you travel north in the morning and south in the evening. If you'd like
to help, please respond to this email. For photos so far, please see our
web page:

Thank you!

More bikes, no bumps,
Shirley Johnson
BIKES ONboard project, SFBC

P.S. Please forward to other cyclists or anyone who cares about bike

Monday, November 10, 2008

About those taxes I don't pay...

Cyclists get a lot of guff from the uninformed about how since we aren't buying gas (and thus not paying gas taxes) or paying for DMV registration tags, we don't belong on the road because we aren't paying for the road.

This argument has been debunked many times.

Apparently it turns out that taxes are not only used to build roads and pay for cops and put in stop lights and the like, they are also used to bailout the automobile manufacturers. Is this bailiout only being done with gas taxes? Somehow I doubt it...

I wonder - will the bicycle industry be begging next? My guess is no.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Prop 8 campaigners holier than me.

Returning from a Cross race in Santa Rosa (I didn't race - kudos to those who did including my buddie's wife who won the Women's C's - sandbagger) we encountered a bunch of Prop 8 campaigners. On one side of the 101N onramp of Windsor Road was the Yes on 8 crowd, on the other the No on 8 crowd. Each side about 10 strong.

Every time I have seen these sorts on TV, there are always a bunch from each side at the same location, waving around their signs. How does this happen? Does the Yes side decide to have a sign waving event and call the No side to coordinate the time and place? "Hey Phil, the Holy Rollers were thinking that since it is shit pouring rain out there, we should show our devotion to our sides of the issue by standing out in the monsoon a few hours. Are you Godless Heathens in?"

Or does one side decide to start, then when their opponents see them, they put out a tweet and get the troops to rally at the same spot?

As you can see from the cyclocross photos, it was super gnarly conditions out there. I really can't see what impact the sign wavers were having, certainly people were blaring their horns at them, but that seemed to be mostly preaching to the choir. At this point the most important campaigning is GOTV - but this won't really accomplish that nearly as well as say - phone banking or canvassing.

God bless them, but I'll take my nice walk through the NV desert anytime.