Monday, May 10, 2010

An insult to actual activists everywhere...

In the Noe Valley Voice

The proponents of the plaza trial were led by 23rd Street resident John Murphy. Murphy, a father and local activist, hopes the neighborhood will give the project a chance.

"I support this plaza because it is the sort of big public space that suits the demographics of Noe Valley, that will bring customers for our businesses and will improve the quality of the intersection of 24th and Noe," he says.

Murphy says he and a loose-knit group of supporters are creating their own window signs and may set up a table at the farmers market as well. They've also been using email and Twitter to get the word out. "I think that viral approach is more effective in this day and age," he says.

Murphy's pro-plaza blog, yesnoevalley, rallied supporters to the first meeting at St. Philip's. "A lot of the supporters are parents with young children," he says.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Love Letter

On the Noe Valley SF Blog - I can't link the original LTTE that I wrote because it's not online (the Noe Valley Voice is online but always a bit behind).

I think perhaps Chris Daly has joined the plaza opposition. That can't be a bad sign.

Anonymous said...
This may or may not be a bit off topic. It relates to the proposed Noe St. plaza.

Did anyone read the letter from John Murphy pontificating and ranting on and on about the notion that the plaza is THE only solution, and that he is right. period. period.

Oh, and that we are "special" in our little valley. Fact is, we are no more "special" than Glen Park, or Bernal, or Twin Peaks, or Potrero Hill, etc. Each neighborhood is unique, with good and not so good qualities.

god, what a bunch of arrogant, self-centered bs. talk about feeling entitled.

As others have stated very professionally and eloquently, you don't just push a so called "trial plaza" on the neighborhood with the intent of circumventing legitimate and important planning and traffic studies. It's irresponsible and smacks of sweeping public due process under the rug.

Quite simply, the so called "trial plaza" is not, by any stretch of clever words a "bold experiment" as Mr. Murphy states.

It is a quick, sneaky attempt to close off a public street, paid for with public taxes, for the benefit of a few. Don't be mislead. Please continue to contact Bevan Dufty and Andres Power and express your opinion to oppose this project.


May 5, 2010 6:48 PM

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Requirements for "Bike Commuter of the Year"

Yesterday, two anecdotes.

I saw a tweet on the "caltrain" search of twitter.

TawneeKendall - Trying a new bike route today which removes VTA from the trip all together. Santa Clara Caltrain to Milpitas. Wish me luck!

I can think of no reasonable way to bike from Santa Clara Caltrain to Milpitas that doesn't include pretty much riding almost all the way to Lawrence Caltrain (a better served stop). Depending on where you are going in Milpitas, your choices of route include sections on Lafayette, De Anza, Trimble, and Montague. Not good.

@TawneeKendall - Google Bike Maps suggested I take highways (merging with freeways) as my bike route to work. Bikes aren't meant to merge w/semi-trucks, FYI.

Yeah. Google suggested DeAnza to Trimble to Montague. Yuck. I got a hold of Ms. Kendall and suggested Lawrence Caltrain, San Tomas Creek bike path, Tasman. Good luck.

Later, after work, riding to Lawrence Caltrain I ended up riding with a co-worker who often goes to the climbing gym before heading home. He looked over at me and said "Do you have a lock I can borrow? This is my sister's bike and I forgot to grab my lock". I've "lent" a bunch of tubes in my time, but never a lock. I grabbed it out of my bag and sent our man on his way, finding it safely on my desk this AM.

Help your fellow cyclists out, any time you can.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I am a bike anarchist

Per "Anonymous" on the Noe Valley SF blog...

and let's be clear: murphstahoe is more than a bike advocate. He is a bike anarchist, constantly preaching, harping and ranting that we ALL should be living just like him and riding only a bike anywhere. I just had to clear that up.

This confuses me. Checking Wikipedia... and taking definitions which seem reasonable...

Anarchy - "Absence of government; a state of lawlessness due to the absence or inefficiency of the supreme power; political disorder."


"A social state in which there is no governing person or group of people, but each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder)."

"Anarchist" is a catchy term, but here it is not used accurately, probably in order to make an Ad Hominem attack. If you look at the thread on the Noe Valley blog it is far more accurate to portray the driver of the Mercedes who wrote the note, and those who back his/her position, as anarchists. The driver decided they didn't give a shit about the law, parked illegally, and when they were caught, made an ad hominem attack on the person who turned them into the fuzz.

If you look at my collective writings, and those of "prominent bike activists", the tendency is to want *more* government and *more* enforcement, not less. We want more bike lanes (at least some of us do). We want motorists who cause accidents that injure others (cyclists, pedestrians, other motorists) to be taken to task. I do not want to force everyone to "live just like me" (whatever that means). However, I don't want to be forced to live "not just like me" because we do not support the choice to drive, bike, walk, or take public transportation and charge each mode accordingly.

The instant reaction to this point is that "cyclists don't want the laws to apply to them - ergo 'anarchists'". I disagree. There are certainly sitations where cyclists think the law is improper and we'd like to change the law, but a desire to change the law is not anarchy. The simple understanding that the law exists such that you want to change it, is an acknowledgement that the law applies, and that if you skirt it you are aware of the consequences and subject to penalty.

I certainly have done a "California roll" of a stop sign or two (thousand) and will grudgingly run a red light after waiting 2-3 light cycles to find I'm just never going to get a green because the traffic sensor isn't detecting my bike. This doesn't mean I don't think the law doesn't apply to me.

And if I were ticketed for running a stop sign on my bike, I doubt I would tell the cop a "This is a community, not Nazi Germany". Just like any motorist I would grumble, perhaps even try to beat the ticket, but I'd hardly think I was above the law.