Author of Blog: Daniel Day
New Post once a month.

Friday, May 20, 2016

VIA fixes Fiesta Disaster

Every year we have two big parades in downtown San Antonio, and every year it was always a pain to get to work on those days by bus. I wrote about this in my blog last year in Advice on Improving VIA Part II, number 5. This is due to the fact that every year, VIA reroutes the buses and have them turn around at a handful of locations around downtown. So if you are use to riding the 34 which turns into the 2 to catch the 96, well you're out of luck and you will be required to walk from the turn around stop at Nueva and St Mary's and walk all the way to Travis Park. Imagine doing this with a walker?  And that's what I thought I would be doing this year, filming myself walking from one bus stop to the other bus stop across the Battle of Flowers parade.


But it didn't happen this year.  The bus I was on was the 28 and as I was coming into town, it made it's usual detour, except this time it went to Nueva and St Mary's and then continued on via El Centro as route 62.  When I got to El Centro, I saw this sign directing me which bus to take to be able to connect to my route.  They also had supervisors on hand to direct any bus rider complaint and help us riders get to our proper connection. 

Now maybe it's just me, but I'm starting to see small improvements like a change machine at Randolph Park-n-Ride that gives you not just quarters, but dimes and buying a a cheap Day Pass on the bus.  As long as VIA can keep up the momentum, they can start to change belief of many riders including myself that "VIA sucks" to "VIA actually does a good job."  

54.1: A picture of a sign directing people what buses to catch to connect to their bus on the other side of the parade.
54.2: The Map issued by VIA to help their patrons out.   http://viainfo.net/Communication/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=2756

Monday, May 2, 2016

Suburbans Complain about Useless Sharrows

A friend of mine posted this news story from KSAT news about a suburb next to O.P. Schnabel Park whining about useless sharrows that were recently painted. In the video, they called the newly painted sharrow, graffiti, which made me laugh, and then made me wonder, where did I hear about bicycle infrastructure being called graffiti?

Now back in September 2015, I came across a video from the Late Late show with James Corden, where he did a piece about the residence of Coronado, California complaining about the expanding bicycle lanes where the rich old white ladies called the bicycle markings pollution, and graffiti. 

Fast forward to 2016 and you pretty much hear the same complaints about how these useless sharrows are going to make the traffic worse and yet the city states, quote: "Unlike bike lanes, sharrows don't change where people can drive or park. TCI Assistant Director Terry Bellamy said that's why the city doesn't have to ask neighbor permission."  And that's the thing, it ain't going to make a difference. 

Now if you want to know why I say a sharrows are useless, it's because the Dutch say's their useless because the way we use them.  For all of my travels, I haven't yet seen any decent sharrows at all.  A recent story in Streetsblog USA reporting on a study by the University of Colorado Denver telling how Sharrows not only don't make a difference, but makes things worse. Quote: "the results strongly suggest that sharrows are ineffective as a safety strategy."

Now I've been pretty much been stating since the beginning of this blog that the city isn't serious about bicycles or for that matter, every other form of transportation that don't include a car and this story seems to prove my point yet again. You see, when you have residence like Thomas Korenek coming out against everything that don't include a car going as fast as it can, then you'll have people like TCI Assistant Director Terry Bellamy, not able to do anything about improving bicycling or Vision Zero, because the person Terry is counting on to back him up is councilman Chris Medina and judging by the councilman's voting record, I doubt that Terry would stand up and put his job on the line to actually do something to make the neighborhood safer, which is to lower the speed limit to 25 miles per hour.  And I'm not blaming Terry, I'm blaming the councilmen Chris Medina for not having a backbone for Vision Zero or for actually allowing his people to actually create significant changes that would make the neighborhood safe for walking and cycling.  So in the end, we get a bunch of useless sharrows instead of an actual improvement, slower speeds in a neighborhood.

So here's my advice to all the parties involve, do nothing.  Cris Medina needs to say, we're sorry for the sharrows, but we are not going to remove them.  To do so will be a waste of tax payer money and will let nature take it's course.  

Now before I go, I'll be leaving you with this quote from a San Antonio Bicycling Activist after I said how useless they are. He said that sharrows are....
It helps us on our group rides. Gives us a feeling of solidarity when riding close together. It may have limited effect on car drivers, but cyclists are effected in a positive way (in my experience). Safety is always up to us not the folks behind the wheel.

53.1:  A chart showing how speed plays a roll in pedestrians surviving crashes with cars.