Author of Blog: Daniel Day

Friday, November 16, 2018

N St Mary's, There will never be enough parking.


80.1
On Tuesday night, October 30, 2018, (Image 80.2) instead of attending the weekly SATX Social Ride, I decided to go to the meeting on what's being plan for the N St Mary's Strip, from Josephine to Mulberry and I have to say, I'm a little disappointed because in trying to please everyone, San Antonio Transportation and Capital Improvements, TCI, isn't pleasing anyone, accept the fire department. There's no plan to collect fees for parking to create an improvement and maintenance fund for the strip. There's only a lousy compromise to have parking on the strip after dark and to allow bicycling in those parking spots during the day.  But in the end, it does nothing to slow the cars, create a walkable environment and fails to build upon what makes the strip great.
80.2

Lets start with the "parking problem," or in this case the result of having a great place.  When you have a great place, people will show up and because everyone is forced to own a car to get around. Well the residence don't like parking on their streets.  In our capitalist world, it is sacrilege to impose on our free parking regardless of the cost it imposes on everyone else.  The only solution that was floated by the chief of Staff for Trevino's District one office was to offer a plan that is currently in place in Southtown. But here's my question, why can't we charge for on street parking and use those fees that are collected to improve and maintain the neighborhood?  This is called a Parking Benifit District, where the fees of the parking are collected and go back into the neighborhood and you don't have to look far for there's one of these Parking Benifit District in Austin. But god forbid we do it here an actually put money back in the neighborhood that everyone is visiting because that's just common sense and we just can't have that in San Antonio.  This is why there's a saying "Keep San Antonio Lame."
80.3

When we look at TCI's plan, (80.3) we see everything that goes against good urbanism which are wide vehicle lanes, narrow sidewalks, and no protected bikeway.  What TCI does float as a solution to not planing a protected bikeway is parking during the nighttime and a bike lane during the daytime which I know from experience, there will be cars parked in the bike lane and don't be surprise that there's a food truck in that lane during the day.  The only thing that I can figure that the reason why we see this design with 12 foot lanes is because the need for our large fire and EMS vehicles to be able to get through fast. Yet these wide lanes only encourage speeding, the opposite of Vision ZERO. (Image 80.4)
80.4
Thanks to the courageous people who created a crosswalk last year on N St Mary's, TCI will be putting "Bulb-Outs" to many of the intersections along the strip.  These "bulb-outs" which are better known as sneckdowns in other places are extensions of the sidewalk into the street to slow down turning cars.  I posted a video called "Snowy Sneckdowns" by Streetfilms years ago on my Facebook page explaining how these "Bulb-outs" slow down turning cars. My biggest thing against this design is that TCI will not be cutting a 5ft way through the bulb-out, instead forcing cyclist towards the cars like they already do to the bulb outs on N Main next to the Fox Tech. (Image 80.5) Now TCI did build a bicycle cutout of a bulb out already a few years ago when they completed that useless protected bikeway on E Commerce underneath I-37, (Image 80.6) but having experience on how other projects turn out, I'm betting this project is going to live up to the saying "Keep San Antonio Lame." 
80.5

Bike San Antonio, (no affiliation to my blog) has come out for a full protected bikeway (80.1) either a two-way protected Bikeway on one side of the strip with parking on the other side or having a protected bikeway on either side of the strip.  And don't get me wrong, I'm way for this but I have a feeling that TCI along with the Councilman's Trevino's office and the Tobin Hill Neighborhood association will prevent this from happening.  So when you email the councilman and the engineers designing this project, (see at the bottom for email addresses) please let them know that you don't want to be forced out into traffic when approaching a bulb-out, that you want to be able to go through that bulb-out instead of around it.  Also having the bicycles go through those bulb-outs will force the cars to make slower turns, keeping with TCI's goal of Vision Zero.
80.6

But I'm going to make a prediction, I'm going to be posting a tweet of the bulb-out with my bicycle parked in the bike lane once it is build out saying "Thanks @sanantoniotci for Keeping San Antonio Lame and being anti #VisionZero."  Please Mr Trevino, prevent me from making this prediction a reality. 

As with Bike San Antonio request, I ask everyone here to take time out to send emails to the following address to tell them to support having not just a protected bikeways down N St Mary's but if they don't do that, have cutouts into the "Bulb-outs" so people don't have to ride close to the speeding cars, Thanks.
sean.strong@sanantonio.gov, james.wucinski@sanantonio.gov, joe.doctor@sanantonio.gov, district1@sanantonio.gov

Read the Rivard Report story on this meeting. (Image 80.2)
Images:
80.1: Bike San Antonio Recommendations compare to TCI designed.
80.2: TCI meeting announcement for N St Mary's.
80.3: TCI's crossection showing their recommended Design at the Meeting.
80.4: A Meme created by StrongTowns.org Illustrating how wide Lanes for emergency vehicles cause the crashes they are designed to help save the victims from.
80.5: An "bulb-out" N Main Ave with the bike lane between the cars and the "bulb-out."
80.6: The "bulb-out" at the South Bound Exit ramp to E Commerce which has a cut out for cyclist to get onto the Protected Bikeway.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Why Cyclist Should Vote NO.

When I started writing this blog post about Prop A, B and C, I thought that I would tie it into what Chuck Marohn (presentation starts at 17:24) and Joe Minicozzi talk about on why our cities across America are dying.  But the more I wrote, and read into these propositions, the more I began to realize that this is an attempt by outside forces that don't have biking in mind for the future of transportation let alone transit to gain a foot hold in shaping city policy. 

Unless you are big readers of Streetsblog USA, you probably haven't heard about the stories on how the Koch Brothers PAC, Americans For Prosperity, campaigned in several cities to stop transit initiatives especially those that required a sales tax hike.  In the New York Times story, "How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country" the author quotes from Tori Venable, the Tennessee state director of Americans for Prosperity saying: “If someone has the freedom to go where they want, do what they want, they’re not going to choose public transit.”  This is clearly not the case for if you compare the amount of return on investment to highways compared to transit, transit gets a better return so Venable's Statement "they're not going to choose public transit" is false.  Just look at Tony Dutzik (Assoc. Director and Sr. Policy Analyst at the Frontier Group) tweet on his comparison on the the amount of money spent on transit compared to highways.  Apparently highways got way more money and less return on investment compared to transit when taking into account for the increase in the number of users. 

Now the Koch Brothers don't need to have their Americans for Prosperity PAC to do their political campaigning because there's already a like minded organization here called Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) and Texans for Toll-Free Highways which are full of people who think just like Tori Venable.  Many of the articles listed on TURF are from the CATO Institute's Randal O'Toole, a famous anti transit advocate.  In one of the stories that TURF has posted, they have a quote in the story saying "San Antonio is using an “advanced transportation” tax to pave costly sidewalks and bike paths." Again, go back to Charles Marohn video and learn how investing in sidewalks and bicycle lanes actually leads to increase tax revenues.  
"The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institute states that it favors policies "that are consistent with the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, and peace." Jan 26, 2018 Cato Institute - Source Watch: https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Cato_Institute.
As you read these propositions, take into account how voters here have never said no to such increases lately whether it was about finding money for the Howard W. Peak Greenways, getting PK4 SA funded or to buy land over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.  So lets go into the Propositions that are place on the ballot and see what they say. 

Proposition A states:
SHALL THE CITY CHARTER BE AMENDED TO EXPAND THE TYPES OF ORDINANCES THAT MAY BE SUBJECT TO REFERENDUM INCLUDING APPROPRIATION OF MONEY, LEVYING A TAX, GRANTING A FRANCHISE, FIXING PUBLIC UTILITY RATES, ZONING AND REZONING OF PROPERTY; INCREASE THE NUMBER OF DAYS WITHIN WHICH A PETITION MAY BE FILED SEEKING A REFERENDUM ON AN ORDINANCE PASSED BY COUNCIL FROM FORTY TO ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS AFTER PASSAGE OF THE ORDINANCE; AND TO PROVIDE THAT NO MORE THAN TWENTY THOUSAND SIGNATURES OF REGISTERED VOTERS ARE REQUIRED FOR A REFERENDUM PETITION IN STEAD OF TEN PERCENT OF THOSE ELECTORS QUALIFIED TO VOTE AT THE LAST REGULAR MUNICIPAL ELECTION?
It basically says, "if I don't like what you're doing and what ordinances been passed, then I'm going to get signatures to change it my way and I'm given 6 months to find the people who hate what you did instead of 40 days."  This will change the city charter to make it easier to reverse ordinances, sales tax hikes or what District Councilman Rey Saldana did to appropriate more money to VIA and that doesn't go into all the other things like the opposition to the LGBQ Nondiscrimination Ordinance.

Remember, for the last 10 years, we pretty much said yes to a sales tax increase to fund certain initiatives. Now take into account what's going on right now as I write this is that the city is working on changing it's zoning ordinances to allow more density and there's talk about mayor Nirenberg bringing a referendum to the voters to give VIA more funding and you begin to realize that Prop A is written to repeal everything the city is currently doing. 

Proposition B States:
SHALL THE CITY CHARTER BE AMENDED TO LIMIT THE TERM THE CITY MANAGER MAY SERVE TO NO LONGER THAN EIGHT YEARS AND TO LIMIT THE COMPENSATION OF THE CITY MANAGER TO NO MORE THAN TEN TIMES THE ANNUAL SALARY FURNISHED TO THE LOWEST PAID FULL-TIME CITY EMPLOYEE AND REQUIRE A SUPER MAJORITY VOTE OF CITY COUNCIL TO APPOINT THE CITY MANAGER? 
Now for the record, I don't like Sheryl Sculley and wishes that she be fired. But at the same time, I won't be saying that she doesn't deserve her pay for the triple AAA credit rating makes that argument moot. I agree with What Jarrett Walker, author of the blog Human Transit said in his blog post 'basics: should I vote for a transit tax?' In question "6.  But the managers have such big salaries!," his response is spot on, quote: 
"You’d better hope they do.  These are complex jobs with appalling responsibilities.   Many of the people in them could go to the private sector and make ten times as much.  The best of them are in this business because they believe in it." 
Prop B isn't written to reign in the current city manager position, but to make sure that there isn't a person to replace Sculley. Now I don't believe that Sculley is in the position for "pious" reasons, but I do know that after the job she has done, she does deserve her current pay.  If you ever took time to watch Chuck Marohn (presentation starts at 17:24) and Joe Minicozzi talk, you begin to see that her decisions are made from the standpoint of trying to make sure that everyone gets trash pick up.

Now this Prop B won't be reducing Sculley's pay or reducing the amount of time she has left to serve. This proposition, if passed will affect the next city manager that will replace Sculley and as much as I agree with the ideal of reducing the compensation of the city manager, I don't agree with term limiting the next person who takes over for Sculley for that person will need more than 8 years to clean up her mess and I consider term limits a lazy way to replace the political opposition. 

When you take into account the way Prop B is written, you begin to realize that it's written to make it impossible to elect a new city manager for it will require a super majority approval. The way it was written is to allow only someone at the top of the political power pyramid in San Antonio to decide who becomes the city manager and it's so happens that there's another proposition on the ballot called Prop C to create this exact position.   

Proposition C states:
SHALL THE CITY CHARTER BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS LOCAL 624 WITH UNILATERAL AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE THE CITY TO PARTICIPATE IN BINDING ARBITRATION OF ALL ISSUES IN DISPUTE WITH THE ASSOCIATION WITHIN FORTY-FIVE DAYS OF THE CITY'S RECEIPT OF THE ASSOCIATION'S WRITTEN ARBITRATION REQUEST?
If Prop C passes, it will give the fire union the sole right to declare when it has reached an impasse with the city on contract negotiations and unilaterally require that San Antonio go to binding arbitration. The people that I've seen align with the Firefighters Union on this Proposition are normally against unions especially with unions getting this much power.  So I have to ask the question, why are people who are normally against unions backing this measure to give Local 624  lot of power?

In a few more months, we'll eventually find the person who paid for the collection of the signatures and I'm betting that person will hold similar views of the Koch Brothers.  And why support a union when your anti union?  Well the answer to that is the Police, Fire, and EMT employees hold a certain amount of respect in our society and their unions can hold power over the the local government of the employees they represent.  In essence, the people who paid for the collection of the signatures wants  the Fire Union Boss to become the most powerful person behind the political scenes in San Antonio.  And it's not me coming to this conclusion for Rick Casey wrote an opinion piece in the Rivard Report titled: "Fire Union Boss Steele Seeks to Gain Power by Targeting It."  In his opinion piece he realizes that if all three propositions pass, they will make Chris Steele the most powerful man in the city limits of San Antonio.

When you look at all the propositions from C to A, and the amount of money that was paid for to collect the signatures to put these props on the ballot, you begin to realize what it is all about.  In Prop C, it ain't about the Fire Union getting the necessary compensation for doing their job, but to make the person in charge of the Fire Union to be the unelected leader in charge of San Antonio and to hold the city hostage. Prop B is written to make sure that the next city manager is chosen at the whim of the Firefighters Union President and if the person who gets appointed ain't his choice, well they just have to wait 8 years to get who they want to be in that position.  And finally, Prop A is designed to make it harder for real change to take hold in San Antonio and make the Firefighters Union the go to organization to collect the signatures necessary to to repeal not just ordinances, but sales taxes, zoning changes and setting utility rates. 

The insidious thing about all these propositions is that redundancy was written into each one. So if one or two of them don't pass, you have one left to pull the strings with. So if Prop A passes, then you can find TURF or anyone with money to throw around to overturn everything the Koch Brothers don't like in every election. If just Prop B passes, you cripple the city in the pocket book allowing the State of Texas to perhaps, appoint an emergency manager like the ones that took over bankrupt towns and cities in Michigan. If just Prop C Passes, you have a corrupt union leader to cripple the city by demanding everything under the sun including large, diesel guzzling vehicles in the name of safety and wide streets to race to the scene of the emergency that those wide streets created all the while lying from their teeth that bicycle lanes make things dangerous.

 So I hope that everyone who wants to see a bicycle friendlier city votes no on Prop A, B and C. The wording for each prop was copy and pasted from the official Bexar County Generic Sample Ballot by clicking here: https://www.bexar.org/DocumentCenter/View/4570/Generic-Sample-Ballot-PDF?bidId=.  
If you need the locations of early voting sites, please click here: https://www.bexar.org/DocumentCenter/View/4572/Early-Voting-Locations-and-Hours-of-Operation-PDF?bidId=.

Also, some of the people that I know won't be showing up to vote because their party didn't get on the ballot.  My advice to them, is go vote and just leave those who you think that aren't deserving of the position blank and vote NO for Prop A, B and C. 


JOINT GENERAL, SPECIAL, CHARTER AND BOND ELECTION
THE HOURS OF EARLY VOTING WILL BE:
Mon, Oct. 22 thru Fri, Oct. 26...............................................................8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Sat, Oct. 27, 2018...................................................................................8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sun, Oct. 28, 2018................................................................................12:00pm to 6:00 p.m.
Mon, Oct. 29 thru Fri, Nov. 2..............................................................8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Main Early Voting Location: 
BEXAR COUNTY ELECTION DEPARTMENT...................................1103 S. Frio
****DEAFLINK available for the hearing impaired.

BEXAR COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER...................................................................300 Dolorosa
BROOKHOLLOW LIBRARY...............................................................530 Heimer Road
CASTLE HILLS CITY HALL...(COMMUNITY ROOM)................................209 Lemonwood Dr.
CLAUDE BLACK CENTER......................................................................2805 East Commerce
CODY LIBRARY......................................................................................11441 Vance Jackson
CONVERSE CITY HALL...................................................................... 405S. Seguin Rd
COPERNICUS COMMUNITY CENTER.....................................................5003 Lord Rd.
EAST CENTRAL ISD ADMIN BUILDING..............................6634 New Sulphur Springs Road
ENCINO   PARK LIBRARY...........................................................2515   East   Evans   Rd
FAIR OAKS RANCH CITY HALL... (COUNCIL CHAMBERS)..................7286 Dietz Elkhorn
GREAT NORTHWEST LIBRARY..............................................................9050 Wellwood
HENRY A. GUERRA, JR.LIBRARY.......................................................7978 W Military Drive
JOHN IGO LIBRARY..................................................................     13330 Kyle Seale Parkway
JOHNSTON LIBRARY............................................................................6307 Sun Valley Drive
JULIA YATES SEMMES LIBRARY @ Comanche Lookout Park.............15060 Judson Road
LAS PALMAS LIBRARY...........................................................................515 Castroville Road
LEON VALLEY CONFERENCE CENTER...................................................6421 Evers Rd
LION’S FIELD.....................................................................................................2809 Broadway
MAURY MAVERICK, JR. LIBRARY................................................................8700 Mystic Park
MCCRELESS LIBRARY...................................................................1023 Ada Street
MEMORIAL LIBRARY.............................................................................. 3222 Culebra
MISSION  LIBRARY......................................................................3134Roosevelt  Ave.
NORTHSIDE ACTIVITY CENTER.................................................................7001 Culebra
NORTHWEST VISTA COLLEGE........................................................ 3535 N. Ellison Dr.
OLMOS CITY HALL...............................................................................120 El Prado W 
PALO ALTO COLLEGE................................................................ 1400 W. Villaret Blvd.
PARMAN LIBRARY@Stone Oak.................................................. 20735 Wilderness Oak
PRECINCT 1 SATELLITE OFFICE................................................... 3505 Pleasanton Rd.
SAN ANTONIO COMMUNITY COLLEGE (ECO Centro Bldg)...................... 1802 N. Main
SCHAEFER LIBRARY.......................................................................6322 US Hwy 87 E
SHAVANO PARK CITY HALL... (COUNCIL CHAMB)..........................     900 Saddletree Ct
SOMERSET ISD ADMIN BLDG.................................................................7791E. 6th, Somerset
SOUTHSIDE ISD ADMIN BLDG... (BOARD ROOM)..........................1460 Martinez-Losoya
SOUTH PARK MALL.........................................................................2310 S.W. Military
SOUTH SAN ANTONIO ISD ADMIN BLDG............................................5622 Ray Ellison
SOUTHWEST ISD ADMIN BLDG...................................................11914 Dragon Lane
THOUSAND OAKS/EL SENDERO LIBRARY...................................4618 Thousand Oaks
TOBIN LIBRARY @OAKWELL.....................................................4134 Harry Wurzbach
UNIVERSAL CITY LIBRARY.....................................................................100 Northview Dr.
UTSA (Bexar Room)...........................................................................1 UTSA Circle 
WINDCREST TAKAS PARK CIVIC CENTER...........................................9310 Jim Seal Dr.
WONDERLAND MALL OF THE AMERICAS @ CROSSROADS............4522 Fredericksburg
Bexar County Justice Center closes at 6:00 p.m.  
Also Closed Saturday
and Sunday
subject to change

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Traffic Circle and New Scooter Law.

78.1
For all of those who answered my request to call 311 to tell San Antonio TCI that where they built the bicycle ramp was unacceptable. (Image 78.1)  Well, they decided to do a band aid fix instead of an actual fix. (Image 78.2)  For all your efforts, I would like to say thank you because from what I heard, they were planning on just leaving it the way it was.  They widen the bike lane just a bit and left it.  At some point in the future, they'll have to come back and redo the ramp, but we won't see that for a very long time, about the time when San Pedro gets a bike lane.  If you happen to be going through this circle, just stay on the sidewalk until the first driveway and go into the bike lane for that's the safest way to go.  

Also if you happen to need to get something fix, please email me at sirbikesalot06@gmail.com or leave a message on FB or Twitter about the problem along with the picture of it.  If it's not a useless bike lane, I'll post a similar call to action on this blog post FB and twitter feeds. 

78.2

Now I have another request to ask all my readers.  The new e-scooter law that is expected to pass on October 11th will allow the use of e-scooters on sidewalks so long as they yield to pedestrians.  My question is, why can't bicycles be treated the same way?  Right now, and I have mention this many times, Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited makes it currently illegal to use your bicycle and e-scooters on the sidewalk.  Well we as a community now has a chance to change the law and help those council members who said yes to removing that silly law from the books during the last municipal elections.  
 
Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited states: 

  • (a)     It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or propel or park or stand any vehicle upon any sidewalk.
  • (b)     Law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel while using bicycles provided by governmental agencies and while in the performance of their authorized duties are exempt from the provisions of subsection (a). Any person, while parking a bicycle in city installed bike racks, is also exempt from the provisions of this section.
This law also applies to SWell Cycle for which their customers continuously breaks. If you want to contact Swell Cycles, our local bicycle share company about this issue, then click here to inform them on how their customers continuously break the law.  https://sanantonio.bcycle.com/contact

I also ask everyone to please call or email or your Council member and let them know that bicycles should be allowed to use the sidewalks just like the e-scooters. Below you'll see my letter that I sent to our mayor, which I also left his official contact information, at the bottom of this story. 

If you don't know who your council member is, please click here: https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/Find-My-Council-Member

Also I posted the council member answer to question F. " Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk" below their contact info. 

District 1:  Roberto C. Treviño.  Main office ph# 210-207-7279  Field office ph# 210-207-0900
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d1/Email-Form
F. Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk?
Answer:  Yes
Explanation: I would explore this but we must have a thoughtful discussion of equal access to all so that sidewalks are safe to elderly and disabled.

District 2:  William H. ("Cruz") Shaw.   Main office ph# 210-207-7278.  Claude Black Comunity Center Field Office ph#  210-207-0950.  Rittiman Field office ph# 210-207-0970.
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d2/Contact?sendto=District2

District 3:  Rebecca Viagran.  Main Office ph# 210-207-7064.  Constituent Office ph# 210-207-0969
Email:   https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d3/Contact

District 4:  Rey Saldaña.  Main Office ph# 210-207-7281.  Constituent Office ph# 210-207-0880
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d4/Contact?sendto=District4
F. Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk?
Answer: Yes
Explanation:


District 5:  Shirley Gonzales.  Main Office ph# 210-207-7043.  Collins Garden Library Field Office ph# 210-207-0960.  Las Palmas Field Office ph# 210-207-0990.
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d5/SuggestionBox
F. Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk?
Answer:  No (see explanation)
Explanation: In the existing environment, there are times and places where cyclists feel pressured to ride on the sidewalk, but an ordinance to allow riding on sidewalks does not address the underlying causes. Moreover, adopting such an ordinance may negatively impact the effort to improve cycling and walking in the city by tacitly acknowledging streets are the rightful domain of motorists, and that bicycles belong on sidewalks.  My goal, and I would ask the cycling community to share this goal, is to make cycling safe and pleasant on every street. A street where a person feels it is prudent to ride on the sidewalk is indicative of a failing street, a street that needs redesign, not the adoption of an ordinance to permit riding bicycles on sidewalks.

District 6:  Greg Brockhouse.  Main office ph# 210-207-7065.  Constituent Office ph# 210-207-3749.
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d6/Contact?sendto=District6

District 7:  Ana Sandoval.  Main office ph# 210-207-7044.  Centerview Field Office ph# 210-207-0870.
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d7/About/Contact
F. Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk? 
Answer:  NO
Explanation: We would need to evaluate bicycles on sidewalks on a case-by-case basis as it is important to balance pedestrian safety and bicycle safety.  

District 8: Manny Pelaez.  Main Office ph# 210-207-7086.  Igo Library Field Office ph# 210-207-0943.
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d8/Contact?sendto=District8

District 9:  John Courage.  Main Office Ph# 210-207-7325.  Frost Bank Field Office Ph# 210-207-0955.
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d9/Contact?sendto=district9
F. Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk? 
Answer: Yes
Explanation: YES. 

District 10:  Clayton Perry.  Main Office ph# 210-207-7276.  Constituent Office ph# 210-207-0994.
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d10/Contact?sendto=district10

Mayor:  Ron Nirenberg.  Main Office ph# 210-207-7107.
Email:  https://www.sanantonio.gov/Mayor/About/Contact?sendto=Mayor
F. Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk?     
Answer:  No     
Explanation:  Bicycling on pedestrian pathways poses avoidable dangers to both pedestrians and cyclists. We should insist on separated bicycle lanes instead.  

Images:
78.1:  A picture of the traffic circle bicycle ramp taken on August 15, 2018.  As you can clearly see, there's not much of a bicycle lane nor paint pointing the way.  
78.2:  A picture of the Traffic Circle bicycle ramp showing the band aid improvements that San Antonio TCI made. 


My letter to the Mayor, Ron Nirenberg.

Dear Mr Nirenberg,

I hear that the new e-scooter law that will be voted on Octoboer 11, 2018 will include a provision to allow these vehicles to be used on the sidewalk so long as they yield to pedestrians.  My question to you sir, why can't bicycles be allowed to do this as well?

The current law on the books, Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited states that: 

  • (a)     It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or propel or park or stand any vehicle upon any sidewalk.
  • (b)     Law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel while using bicycles provided by governmental agencies and while in the performance of their authorized duties are exempt from the provisions of subsection (a). Any person, while parking a bicycle in city installed bike racks, is also exempt from the provisions of this section. 
Thus, this current law makes it legal for law enforcement to give out tickets not just to those who use the e-scooters, but those who also use the SWell bicycles that are docked just outside of the City Chambers. 

I can tell you from using a bicycle for daily commute and using the e-scooters that controlling a bicycle is way easier than an e-scooter.  The e-scooters are much harder to control because you're using not just your legs to balance the vehicle, but also your hands on the handle bars and there has been more collisions with e-scooters with pedestrians then there has been with bicycles colliding with e-scooters. 

I hope that when the rules governing these vehicles come out, they also include new rules to allow the many safe cyclist to use their bicycles on the sidewalk as well, so long as they yield to pedestrians.  


Sincerely,
Daniel Day.  

My Letter to SWell Cycle

To Whom it May Concern, 

It has come to my attention that the new e-scooter law that is to be voted by the city council will allow these vehicle to use the sidewalks, so long as they yield to pedestrians.   My question is this, why can't bicycles be also allowed to do the same?

The current law on the books, Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited states that: 

  • (a)     It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or propel or park or stand any vehicle upon any sidewalk.
  • (b)     Law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel while using bicycles provided by governmental agencies and while in the performance of their authorized duties are exempt from the provisions of subsection (a). Any person, while parking a bicycle in city installed bike racks, is also exempt from the provisions of this section. 
Right now your customers are constantly breaking the law when they ride your bicycles on the sidewalk.  So far, I have yet to hear of a story of one of your customers being pulled over by police and issued a traffic ticket, but that can change at any time.  

I can tell you from using a bicycle for daily commute and using the e-scooters that controlling a bicycle is way easier than an e-scooter.  The e-scooters are much harder to control because you're using not just your legs to balance the vehicle, but also your hands on the handle bars and there has been more collisions with e-scooters with pedestrians then there has been with bicycles colliding with e-scooters.  

I ask the people at SWell Cycle to ask the city council that when they vote to allow e-scooters on the sidewalk, that they also allow not just your bicycles, but everyone who rides a bicycle on the sidewalks as well.  

Sincerely,

Daniel Day. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The League of American Bicyclist is about to set back San Antonio again.

77.1

Back in August, Alamo Area MPO sent a tweet (image 77.1) out about San Antonio again reapplying to the League of American Bicyclist to become Silver ranking as a bicyclist friendly city.  I am here to warn people that if we win Silver status, then biking will get worse in San Antonio for the people who are in charge will use the status as a crutch not to improve the current situation. 

I've been pointing out the fact that since the awarding of the Bronze Status, that we don't deserve it. When your city voted to remove a bike lane, I think that everyone would agree, you don't deserve to be marked as a Bicycle Friendly City. Since that time, the city pretty much stop painting bike lanes except if they were down neighborhood streets that didn't need them or in District 5.  They also built a Protected bike lane and put it in a places where it didn't do any good plus the signal lights are timed in a way to to give cars a priority.  The biggest complaint that I hear of is about cars parked in bike lanes.  And the most  unfriendly thing that TxDOT and San Antonio TCI refuse to do is to enact the Bicycle Master Plan.
77.2

So how is the league coming to it's conclusion?  They are using this chart (image 77.2) to determine our city status and the greatest flaw in this chart is that they're going to be counting a street like South Pine which doesn't need a bicycle lane.  They're going to be counting the protected bicycle lanes along I-37 where the bicycle green light doesn't come on unless you push the beggars button. (image 77.4)  They're going to be counting the bicycle lanes filled with parked cars. (image 77.3)  They're going to be counting the miles and miles of trails that are illegal to use after dark because of Sec. 22-28. Public parks hours of operation and curfew. All the while ignoring the handful of needless deaths that their status leads to.
77.3

So What's our real status as a bicycle friendly city?  Back in May 2018, People's for Bikes came out with a new status based on actual metrics.  Out of these measurements, the city of San Antonio ranked 1.5 Stars, just sightly higher than Houston, or Dallas. Fort Worth has a higher status of 2.2 and Austin is at 2.8.

And we're such a bicycle friendly city, that the latest hit and run case (and thank god that she's alive) is Samantha Flores, age 23.  She's going to need help paying those medical bills, so please visit her gofunme page by clicking here

We as a community need to fight this ranking because if we do manage to get Silver, you can kiss the ideal of protected bicycle lanes down Broadway, Austin Hwy, Commerce, Military, Fredricksburg Rd, or any other major stroad.  You will see the City of San Antonio to continue to flaunt the new status, just as they flaunt the current status of Bronze as a bigger crutch to avoid putting down any new bicycle infrastructure.  The City will even will go so far as removing it, like they recently did on Broadway at Jones, especially where they are needed. 
77.4

So What can you do to fight back against this false status?  For starters, you can take some time out and fill out this survey by the League of American Bicyclist and let them know on question 6 that we don't deserve any friendly status.
Link to Survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/app_BFC_FA18

Second, you can sign your name to this petition and share it with your friends and urge them to sign it.  The more people who sign it, the better we are able to prove our case. To sign the petition, please click here.

Third thing you can do is to email the League of American Bicyclist, amelia@bikeleague.org and tell them your unfriendly story about our Bicycle Friendly city.  I have a sample letter available by clicking here if you need help on writing your letter. 

Fourth, you can contact Bike Texas by email mail@biketexas.org and let them know of your unfriendly experience of riding a bicycle.  I have a sample letter available by clicking here if you need help on writing your letter.your own.

Fifth, You can call the two friendliest bicycle council ladies on the city council and let them know that if we remain a bicycle friendly city according to the League of American Bicyclist that San Antonio Transpiration and Capital Improvements will continue to drag it's feet when it comes to building necessary bicycling infrastructure.
Shirley Gonzales, District 5.  Contact page: https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d5/SuggestionBox
Main Office: 210-207-7043

Anna Sandoval, District 7.  Contact Page: https://www.sanantonio.gov/Council/d7/About/Contact
Main Office: 210-207-7044

And that's all we can do folks. I can only hope that the league won't help Red McComes or Ancira car dealerships out by providing the City of San Antonio with a crutch to continue to remove or put in bicycle infrastructure that don't serve any purpose.  

Images:
77.1: Tweet from Alamo Area MPO. 
77.2:  League Of American Bicyclist https://bikeleague.org/community
77.3: Complaint about the cars park in the bike lane on Dover Ridge on the Far West Side
77.4: A meme illustrating how wrong they time the bicycle lights here in San Antonio. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

E-scooter Dilema & Update: Politically Correct Streetcar.

It's funny how after I write a blog post, new information seems to come to light. The reason why I left out Dockless Scooters out of Dallas Bike Share is simple; because I didn't observe any dockless scooters around when I was in Dallas.  The same thing with the Politically Correct Streetcar; new information came to light showing a possible solution to VIA's plan boondoggle of buying the Chinese Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit, aka, the Trackless Train, aka the real name, the Politically Correct Streetcar.

E-Scooter Dilemma/Update: Dallas Bike Share.
76.1
"Tech Bloc is representing our industry's interests and working with city staff on the initial draft regulations for dockless e-scooters and bikes in SA. We hope our city leans forward on innovation and keeps them here. The City Manager and her team have been very open and collaborative throughout. The draft ordinance will go before Mayor and Council in September. This public meeting on 7/31 is an opportunity for individuals to learn more about the issues and provide input. Let your voice be heard."

"July 31, 2018; 6pm-8pm
Central Library Auditorium
600 Soledad St."
Yesterday, I came across TechBloc's Facebook post (Image 76.1) yesterday about a meeting being hosted by TechBloc about the current Dockless E-Scooters that are plaguing San Antonio with it's greenness and showing people that you don't need a car to get around or order a Lyft.  From what I'm observing, it's doing the same thing that I observe with the dockless bikes in Dallas; leaving messes to be pick up by someone else while at the same time, showing the lack forethought by current and previous city leaders on alternative transportation options and vision zero.

As I wrote down in "Dallas Bike Share," I observed that these dockless vehicles are helping provide the last mile service that VIA or any other North American Transit system are unable to provide.  I'm fairly certain that the same thing is happening here with the E-Scooters for walking sucks on a hot summers day and waiting an hour for your connecting bus in that Texas heat also sucks.

Did you hear about the success about how E-bikes are reducing the number of Uber trips in San Francisco?  Well that's exactly what's happening there according to a CNN Money story.  Uber purchased Dockless E-bikes and the places where these bikes are being used is reducing the number of Uber car trips.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get the numbers from Lyft, Uber and Bird rides to see if the same thing is happening here in San Antonio? After all, we're not quite staying inline with EPA air quality standards right now.
60.8

If anything, the dumping of this awesome service is showing the years of neglect of transit and bicycling infrastructure especially into protected bicycle lanes by past and present City Council members.  Because there's no bicycle infrastructure, the users of these E-Scooters are on the sidewalk and causing havoc, turning honest citizens into criminals by violating city ordnance Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited.   If I can find room for a protected bicycle lane on Broadway between 3rd and Houston, (Image 60.8) then so can the civil engineers at San Antonio Transportation and Capital Improvements, who hold degrees and licenses. Just another example on how the City of San Antonio isn't serious about Vision Zero.

I will not be able to attend this meeting because, I'll be at work and I like to be able to earn a living.  I will not be surprise at all if no one shows up and points out to the city manager in attendance; possibly the one who so gracefully removed the civic safety improvement on Mistletoe at N St. Mary's showing that if this city had invested as much energy into bicycling and transit as they are right now into moving the Cenotaph at the Alamo, then we wouldn't be having a big problem with E-scooters on the sidewalk.

For the Record, SWell Cycles needs to be involved in any Ordnance that is written for my suggest about Dockless Bikes also should be applied to E-Scooters.
"Make all companies that set up shop pay a fee to SWell Cycles to pick up stranded bicycles.  Just having the companies themselves pick up the bicycles will not solve the problem for they'll only pick up their bicycles leaving their competitors to litter the sidewalks.  SWell Cycles will be responsible for putting an equal number of bicycles at certain locations."
Please read my blog posting on the Dallas Bike Share to see more suggestions on how to manage this problem.

Update: Politically Correct Streetcar
76.2
For those who are just reading this for the first time, The so called Trackless Train isn't a train at all but a Guided Bus and I went into detail of what it was in my last blog post, "The Politically Correct Streetcar.  The thing that I left out was a type of Guided Bus called the Guided Light Transit which uses a uses a single rubber tire on a steel track for guidance.  Its used in Nancy, France today and since VIA is going to the buses, I really think that it should look into this technology.  The single guided track is perfect for making our buses to be able to have level boarding, not just at transit centers like I described with the Kerb Guided buses in the last blog post, but at everyday major bus stops like where the buses have to share the space with cars.  

The problem with this single track technology is that it's a proprietary system of Bombardier and that it ended up costing more than light rail to maintain it.  There was also one other guided light transit system in Caen, France (Image 76.2) that used this technology and guess what, they're turning it into, a light rail and it's scheduled to be operational in 2019.  In Europe, they call light rail, Tramsways.

76.3
In the end, these attempts to replace buses with light rail called guided busways ended up costing more than the dreaded, hated, communist light rail.  In Essen, Germany, the place where the Kerb Guided Busways got their start were eventually turn into light rail, protected bike lanes or just landscaped out of existence.  (See where this is going.)
My recommendation to VIA is to look into the ExquiCity 24 CNG Hybrid by Van Hool. (Image 76.3) This vehicle will do what you want of it just like the politically correct streetcar you want to buy from China. Also having it powered by an overhead wire like a trolleybuse would be a plus too.   And I'm not against the optical guidance for it's pretty successfully being used in Castellon, Spain by their trolleybuses. (Video Below) Optical Guidance isn't in much in use except in Castellon.  And if you want to find out more of what happened to many systems that tried optical guidance, please click here and scroll down to "Civis, Cristalis, Optical Guidance." 
 


Images:

76.1:  The Flyer about the Dockless Vehicle Public Meeting updated from the Facebook post.  Originally posted on Twitter.  https://twitter.com/WTSsanantonio/status/1021474440583020545?s=04

60.8:  My cross section of Broadway segment.  The top is from the 73-page report by California-based design firm MIG and Parsons Brinckerhoff of Canada at http://therivardreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Final_Broadway_Corridor_Plan_web.compressed.pdf.  The bottom is my recommendation Featured in the blog post "SA Doesn't Make The List/There will be no Bike Lane on Broadway."

76.2: Français : Bombardier TVR n°516 et 508 sur la ligne B du réseau Twisto de Caen, au terminus Hérouville Saint-Clair.
By Billy69150 (voir les conditions d'utilisation / see licensing below) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41607136

76.3: Français : Van Hool ExquiCity 24 METTIS n°1315 au terminus P+R Woippy, sur le réseau LE MET' de Metz.
By Billy69150 (voir les conditions d'utilisation / see licensing below) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36608578

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Politically Correct Streetcar

Update to this post can be found by clicking here.


For the record, I thought that I wouldn't have to do a blog on this, but now there's no choice, I have to because now VIA along with Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Judge Nelson Wolff proposal for the future.  Ever heard of the Straddling Bus, or the Trackless Train?  You've probably heard about these vehicles for they have been making the news for the past 5 plus years from China. But the real name of these vehicles should be the Politically Correct Light Rail, aka the Straddling Bus, and the Politically Correct Streetcar, aka the Trackless Train.  The Reason Why I call these vehicles "Politically Correct" because there's this unwritten 11th commandment that states "Shall not slow down my car" because these vehicles don't break that technically. 

75.1
The Politically Correct Light Rail official name is the Straddling Bus. Wikipedia calls it the Transit Elevated Bus and it doesn't run on rubber tires, but a track along the roadway.  It is designed to be above the moving traffic while not taking away any space that's set aside for cars or blocking them while making a stop, thus this is the reason why I call this the "Politically Correct Light Rail" because building a light rail track above the roadway isn't the "politically correct" thing to do even though it's the most obvious thing to do.  Now if you ever saw the videos from the early years of Houston's Light Rail removing idiot drivers from the road, then you'll understand why this vehicle has no future and according to the Wikipedia article I sited, it was scrapped in 2017. 

75.2
The next vehicle is already being tested with passengers in Zhuzhou, China, and it should be called the Politically Correct Streetcar, but the official name is this vehicle is the Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit. The mayor and VIA is referring to this vehicle as the Trackless Train. (Image 75.2)  It's not a train at all, but a bus that has a body of a modern streetcar and uses a technology called Optical Guidance. Wikipedia States that "Optical guidance relies on the principles of image processing. A camera in the front of the vehicle scans the bands of paint on the ground representing the reference path" and a computer process the image and controls the steering of the vehicle.  This technology isn't just being used in Zhuzhou but in Rouen and Nîmes France and Castellon, Spain.  In essence, the Politically Correct Streetcar is a Guided Bus.  If this vehicle was a train, wouldn't have a need for a steering wheel for trains follow the rail that's lay down.  (I'll leave a link to Reading Rainbow episode "Kate Shelley the Midnight Express" explaining the controls of an Amtrak locomotive which can be seen starting at 1:45) Unlike a regular bus, it has a steering wheel at both ends of the vehicle.  I was trying to look for a story back in 2004 on why GM discontinued with offering this type of rear wheel steering called 'quadrasteer,' but I wasn't able to find the article pointing out how the rear steering wheels would get stuck in the turn position while the vehicle was in motion. In essence, Nirenberg, Wolff and VIA where coned by Chinese salesman who put lipstick on a pig or in this case a bus.

In VIA's own Long Range plans, they want to eventually buy the railway right of way that runs from Centro Plaza to behind the Rim. Now I thought they were going to use this right of way for rail transit, but it's beginning to look like if they ever buy it, they'll be using it for buses.  In my blog post Streetcar IV: The Future of Rail in SA, I stated how "Union Pacific Railroad will also stand in the way like one of their freight trains blocking traffic at a railroad crossing.  They dragged their feet when it came to the linear creekway trails going underneath their railroad tracks.  I'm personally counting on Union Pacific to seal those feet in cement to prevent that train from getting next to the Westside Multimodal Center" now called Centro Plaza. I was sorta right for Union Pacific walked away from talks with the Lonestar Rail district back in Feburary 2016.  It's my own opinion that this event had swayed VIA's rail plans and I'm wondering if the final plan is to turn this right of way into a Guided Busway.  

I can only hope that VIA has the foresight to use the type of guided bus called Kerb Guidance or (KGB) because it doesn't require a computer to guide the vehicle.  According to Wikipedia, "kerb-guided buses (KGB)" uses a "small guide wheels attached to the bus engage vertical curbs on either side of the guideway. (Image 75.3) In the video above, you'll see a Streetfilms video on the the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway between Cambridge and St Ives in England.  This type is used also used on Leigh-Salford-Manchester Bus Rapid Transit in England and on the O-Bahn Busway, in Adelaide, South Australia. Personally I wish that VIA would implement this technology at many of it's transit centers to provide level boarding so our buses don't have to waste time getting the ADA ramp out. Level boarding is a boarding method where the platform is at the same height of the floor of the vehicle making the stop.  This method is used on many light rail systems to allow quick and easy boarding for wheelchairs. By clicking here you will see a video from DART about how their level boarding works on the DART Light Rail in Dallas.
75.3

The reason why I called these technologies "Politically Correct" because they don't break the 11th commandment which states "Shall not slow down thy car."  Yes I made it up, but it's literally the truth when you try to remove a vehicle lane anywhere in the world especially here in San Antonio.  The people who created these Politically Correct Transit Vehicles are trying to bring low cost fancy transit vehicles to the public believing that there's isn't enough  political support to remove a vehicle lane nor pay for light rail. We are hearing about these things because the Mayor and VIA doesn't think that Light Rail, if brought to a vote, will pass unless it's during a Presidential election and from what I understand on who goes votes, well he's right.  

As a rule, I don't mention political parties on this blog for I have a very good habit of insulting both Trump supporter and Hillary supporter in same sentence and I want to win over everyone to my point of view.  But for this point, I'll be breaking this rule for I need to get across the point that what you think is true, isn't.

Back in 2014, I attended a townhall hosted by Tommy Adkisson to test the waters to see if he should run for mayor. I was just 34 years old and the youngest dude in the crowd.  Back then, we were still talking about the Streetcar and I told the crowded in attendance what I wrote about in Streetcar Part III, No Need for Streetcars Down Broadway about how it's just there for development but I was still for it.  After the meeting was over, I walk over to this person and who wanted the bike lanes removed from South Flores and I told her that "you know, when you ride a train, you don't have to fold up your stroller like when you board a VIA bus."  Her reply was this, "well they should just suck it up and deal with it" and then went on  to describe how we need more car lanes. Now if I were to ask my friends who vote for democrats, does this sound like a democrat? They would have said no, that's a Republican.  But in reality, this is an average Bexar County Democrat voter; she pro-car, anti-bike, and the most important thing to our Mayor, is that this is the type of person out of all of the eligible voting population that is guarantee to show up and vote in every city election. This is the person that our Mayor and VIA needs to convince to increase VIA's funding. (Image 62.1)
62.1

My goal wasn't to make fun of Democrats, my goal was, is to try to get you to show up to every council election.  The majority of San Antonia's population do want trains, they do want bike lanes and more bike paths, but those people don't show up and vote, that crazy lady does and all the people who serve our local government, both past and present know this. this is why VIA is talking about the Politically Correct Streetcar and not Light Rail.  

This is also why I don't get into state and national politics on this page because I guarantee that the most people who identify with one particular political party over the other political party have stereotypical ideals of how their political party acts like and how the other side of the isle act like and my experience have found for the most part that this is not to be true. I'll just leave it at that and I hope never to have to cross this line again.  

And that's why Mayor Ron Nirenberg has ditch light rail for a bus with lipstick on it which I'm correctly calling it the Politically Correct Streetcar.  VIA needs more money and he's gambling on people like that person that I talk about in voting yes for it. Regardless if VIA buys the Politically Correct Streetcar, they need to receive more in the sales tax like Dallas, Austin, and Houston to meet the transportation demands of our growing city. 

Remember when I ask then Councilman of District 8 if he would bring rail to a vote as mayor?
K. Are you willing to bring Light Rail to a vote?     
Answer:  Yes     
Explanation:  If voter-approved, commuter rail will be an important element of a modern, multimodal transportation system in San Antonio. I have committed, on the record, to implementing this plan as mayor of San Antonio.   
I will be holding him accountable in the next election and For the Record, I will be also voting for Mayor Ron Nirenberg proposition on VIA as well.

Images:
75.1: a model of the Transit Elevated Bus.  By – FelixM – - InnoTrans 2016 – Chinese Bus… -ish Thing, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51672318
75.2:  A Screenshot from the YouTube video "World’s first "smart train" with virtual tracks launched in Hunan, China" https://youtu.be/Lqgvk6LWUDk
75.3:  The kerb guide wheel of a guided bus in Mannheim, Germany By Martin Hawlisch (LosHawlos) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87974 
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/MB_O_405_N_MVV274_guide_wheel_detail.jpeg
62.1:  The statistics that ilovesanantonio.org has on their site about voting. Was featured in the blog post "3 Reasons You Should Vote" bikesanantonio.blogspot.com/2017/04/3-reasons-you-should-vote.html