Letters To The Editor

Finally, a Bike Lane
on Valencia Street

Dear Editor,
I’ve been an active bicyclist since moving to San Francisco seven years ago, and I’ve always commuted by bike. So it was a true joy that first day that I got to ride down Valencia Street in a bike lane not having to worry about battling the cars behind me!! (I was hit by a car from behind in 1996, and ever since then I’ve been unable to shake off the anxiety of sharing a lane with cars.)

I’m so glad that the Bicycle Coalition has been a constant force in advocating for the emerging network of bike lanes (like Folsom Street! — Right on!). I want to thank you folks for all the great work!

Frank McIlveen
San Francisco

Challenging Park Lovers

Dear Editor,
In a nutshell, the biggest problem about Golden Gate Park is that it is hardly a park at all. It is a series of grassy traffic islands. Think about it. A park is supposed to remove one from the man-made world. What I have found is that whether one is a bicyclist, walker, or picnicker, one can never get away from the incessant car noises in Golden Gate Park, weekday or weekend.

The issue goes beyond closing one third of JFK Drive on weekends. Why has the park been carved up as if a giant Freddie Krueger scrapped his fingernails across it? With large capacity roads on all four sides of the park, and a major artery—Highway 1—going thru the middle, why do we sacrifice nature so a few people can speed through the park on a dozen different roads? Those roads serve no positive purpose. Even Stow Lake is a drive-around lake!

Understand where I am coming from. I am not a bike fanatic. I enjoy biking and driving. But how can you even think of Golden Gate Park in its present state in the same league as New York’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park?

Take this test: Go walk through the park and see how far you get away from the cars and roads. How long do you have to walk until you don’t hear the sound of traffic? The truth is you can’t get away from the automotive drone.

I challenge the SFBC to think creatively to solve tough problems and not to get caught in the no-win politically correct struggle of pitting cars against bikes. The issue of Golden Gate Park is much bigger than that. For brevity’s sake, here is my solution: build the Golden Gate Park garage so people can drive to one place in the park, but close 90% of the Golden Gate Park surface roads, so people cannot drive through the park. Then we will have a real park.

The issue of trying to keep people from driving to the park by opposing the garage is a canard. Most people will not ride a transit system that is unreliable if they have alternate transport, regardless of cost. That’s a Muni issue and has nothing to do with the park. Why oppose the garage but support people driving all through the park as they do now to look for parking? It’s our choice—a park that is a true urban refuge or one that is a series of grassy traffic knolls.

Marc Prager
San Francisco

The Tube Times welcomes your Letters to the Editor. Mail letters to the Tube Times, SFBC, 1095 Market Street, Suite 215, San Francisco, CA 94103, or email them to shahum@sfbike.org. We reserve the right to edit for space. And if you are leery of preaching to the converted, remember this newsletter issue will reach 4,000 nonmembers.