Tens Would Suffer
Your crossword is a little messed up this week. I know crosswords are getting meta-tricky, but really? It looks like they didn’t quite finish, and you just went ahead and printed it. The box left of 20 has no number, but needs one for a clue and a word going across (hence the name “crossword”). For 52 across there is no clue.
Of course, I can handle, no problem, really, it’s the usual snooze-level Reader crossword otherwise. But please do not morph it into some “almost factual news” type of thing. There are tens of us out here who would suffer grave disappointment.
Thank you for publishing this article (“Stop the irrational Bike Bias,” August 25 cover) as the problem is getting worse and the outcry greater.
I used to bike everywhere, and was known as “the bicycling barrister.” But, I eventually realized in my bicycling and in my representation of bicycling-accident victims, that it is unreasonably dangerous to bicycle with or without motor vehicles and that the workplace could not afford or appreciate generating profuse sweating.
In a colder climate like Great Britain or San Francisco, bicycling has a greater chance of factoring into the workplace, but definitely not in Southern California. This is a frivolity seemingly perpetuated by brainwashed true-believers.
Anything They Desire
“Stop the Irrational Bike Bias” is well overdue, but it could have been more objective. It seems like all the bicyclists figure they should be entitled to anything that they desire on everybody else’s dime. Watching them erode the roadways with their bicycle lanes that are used by less than one percent of the vehicles on the roadways is less than the right way to go in my opinion. Thanks for the great article.
- Name withheld
- via voicemail
The Letters? Not So Much
The article “Stop the Irrational Bike Bias” was thought-provoking because two respected experts were cited. These men have authored academic articles citing facts and figures to support their views.
Not so the letters in response, particularly those opposed to the views expressed. While the letter writers were quick to put down the experts cited in the article, they offered no cogent data to support their views, only opinion.
These writers need to be reminded of a well-known statement from W. Edwards Deming: “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” Deming understood that improving industrial process required facts, not opinions. His statement is frequently quoted when important decisions affecting public policy must be made for the same reason.
I would be interested in the data the pro-bike folks have to offer, not their opinions.
Let’s Get Real Here
At first glance, like many other readers, I thought Moss Gropen’s cover story was some sort of joke or funny take on cycling and alternative transit in San Diego. But, no, Gropen really set out to challenge those “hipster cyclists” (his words), who he tells us are mostly younger, liberal and backed by “city planning types” who, in Gropen’s world, are going to turn the 21st Century into a place where, heaven forbid, city dwellers stop using cars and actually walk, bicycle or ride alternative transit, and maybe lower greenhouse gas emissions, and help address climate change. Can’t let that happen, so Gropen cherry picks three “experts” carefully chosen from the libertarian, right wing-influenced Cato Institute, the conservative Reason Foundation (funded by the Koch brothers), and one anonymous online commentator in the U-T newspaper!
Let’s get real here, Moss, starting with your subtitle: “The Case for Car-Centric Planning.” Hello? As if car-centric planning is a new thing? The entire 20th Century, indeed the core of the city planning profession in the United States over the last hundred years, has been nothing but car-centric planning!
Check out the master plan of every major U.S. metropolitan area: zoning for suburbs, freeways, shopping malls and sprawl. We are at the very beginning of a new century in which the overwhelming consensus is that we need a new model — one that is driven by sustainable development, compactness, new forms of transit, new ways of living.
To cite statistics about cycling at the dawn of a new era is disingenuous to say the least. And then quote two hand-picked commentators who claim cyclists are “smug” (“like vegans!”)? Really? And that San Diego has “forlorn buses” with their “handful of riders who appear old, crippled and poor.” Hey, Moss, ever hear of Bus Rapid Transit? It’s the cutting edge of transit technology that has already changed the way millions travel around cities across the planet. It’s slowly catching on in the U.S., in cities like Portland, Denver, and Las Vegas, though you kind of left that part of the story out.
Your article reads like a screed to scare San Diegans about evil government and socialist city planners who are going to take their cars away from them by creating more space for cycling or transit that will only be used by those “hipster bikers” who you think should just stay in “rural hippie enclaves of college towns like Davis, California and Ames, Iowa” and let San Diego remain a city of freeways and horizontal sprawl. Dream on.
- Larry Herzog, Professor,
- School of Public Affairs, SDSU
I’m a second generation native San Diegan, and long-time reader of the Reader, which I find hilarious, informative, informational, and controversial.
That said, this article is probably going to bring some pretty interesting responses from the one percent who are going to be angry about this article. But the truth of the matter is that it’s true. Unfortunately, our city council only wants to do what’s good for one percent of the people. But they’re used to that because they already do that. The only one percent they care about is themselves and each other, not the other 99 percent of the City of San Diego.
A good example of this is where I live. They demolished a large industrial park to make way for condominiums. My neighbor worked at that industrial park and normally walked or rode his bike there. Now he has to drive all the way to San Marcos due to San Diego City Council votes and planning. I don’t see how that makes things any better.