Narrow minded, naturally

Here's another example of what happens when environmentalists run cities: perfectly good roads are deliberately ruined:

Many astounded Berkeley residents pleaded with City Council members Tuesday, asking them not to interfere with Marin Avenue, slated for reconfiguration of lanes in Albany and proposed for the same in Berkeley. But an equal number applauded the city for attempting to make a safer and quieter street out of this four-lane roadway.

After listening to more than 40 residents speak their minds, the city put off the decision until next week. But the hearing raised issues ranging from credibility of studies that spawned it to the rights of Marin Street residents.

The street, which feeds directly into I-80 and stretches all the way to Grizzly Peak Boulevard atop the Berkeley hills, serves the double purpose of a major traffic artery and a residential street. Facing the city is a decision whether to reconfigure the Berkeley section of Marin Avenue from four lanes to three, one of which would be designated as a turn lane only. The reconfiguration would include bicycle lanes in both directions.

Speaking in favor of the project were many Marin area residents who wanted a safer street to live on: to walk their children to school, to cross the street, and to bicycle down. Against the project were neighbors who feared an overflow of traffic into their neighborhoods and hills residents who wanted to retain good freeway access and did not want the city to tamper with a street that worked well for them.

"Are we going to turn all four-lane streets into two-lane streets?" asked Berkeley hills resident Paul Winsberg. "The reason I bought a house in the hills was because there was good access on a major artery."

Yeah, well you should have thought about environmentalists in government before you bought the house in these here hills, buddy! If they had their way, they'd tear down your house and route a creek through it. Narrowing streets is only a first step!

But for now, the meme is that streets are for people, not for cars! And bicycles are people! Cars aren't! Cars consume oil, which is bad, and they contribute to war! Long term, the question really becomes, should streets exist at all?

Steven Malcolm Anderson wondered in a comment why I bother to write about idiotic environmentalism. I guess it's because they have the podium, and for some reason they're always allowed the moral authority by default -- which allows them to win by a process of shaming others. I happen to think that if there is such a thing as morality, the environmentalists the ones who are immoral, and profoundly so. They oppose human progess in the name of a contradiction, for we are as much a part of "the environment" as Bambi, botulism, asbestos, or lead. Their sanctimonious bilge about "nature" makes about as much sense to me as the moralistic invocations of "nature" and "nature's god" to condemn men for "unnatural" orgasms. It's equally magical, mystical and Puritanical.

Such people want to rule the world, of course, so they use nonsense logic and ill-defined terminology to do it.

Naturally (for lack of a better word), the City of Berkeley is run by them:

Presently, bicycle activists run Berkeley's Transportation Commission, known around City Hall as the Bicycle Commission. The bicycle recreational lobby, which sees itself as a church of ecological salvation and its fanatic disciples as superheroes in Spandex, seeks a flexing of its muscles, not paths needed by civilized bicyclists. These zealots see road constrictions not as safety measures taken in the interest of pedestrians, but as means to get large numbers of motor vehicles, eventually all of such, off all the rights of way they feel are their inheritance in this, as they perceive it, post-private-automobile era. The Internet is filled with the fantasies of these vastly overspoken, underwheeled ideological blokes who, in most of their power plays, are not seeking safety, not even their own. They fantasize that choking traffic will cause a significant number of commuters to switch to public transportation or... you guessed it ... bicycles! Give me a brake (but no derailleur)!

One source of funds for this game is grant money from clean-air-seeking organizations such as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), a source Albany has tapped for implementing their initial phase of the Marin project. The BAAQMD bit on the road dieting line a few years ago, when Oakland was to change its portion of Telegraph Avenue from four to two lanes. But the bikers had overstated, in their grant application, the number of transportation-mode switchers, and the grant was withdrawn. May Albany's present grant likewise be reconsidered.

Reconsidered? Dream on. Might as well ask Donald Wildmon or Robert Knight to "reconsider" their opposition to homos.

Anyway, the road will be narrowed.

In the name of morality!

As for the traffic and congestion, those who despoil nature have no right to complain!

MORE: Bear in mind that bad ideas start here.

posted by Eric on 02.05.05 at 12:46 PM


Quite right about environmentalism and its contradictions. Here's a good site dedicated to exposing the fallacies of environmentalism:

All too true that too many have conceded moral authority to the radical environmentalists, the "don't build anything!" crowd, the man-haters. Just as all too many have conceded moral authority to the Donald Wildmons and Robert Knights, and for the same reason. The book is buried somewhere on my bookshelves and I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but, in his "The Quintessence of Ibsenism", George Bernard Shaw noted that, if somebody wants to legalize something tradition, he or she is looked on as an immoral libertine, but if somebody wants to prohibit something traditionally enjoyed, he or she is looked on as a moral authority.

I agree with George Orwell that saints should be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

legalize something traditionally forbidden

Robert James Bidinotto's ecoNOT Web site.

To paraphrase Heinlein

You gotta wonder about people who accept dams that beavers build as a "part of nature" but not ones built by man.

Radical environmentalists are the epitome of misanthropes.

Darleen   ·  February 5, 2005 4:27 PM

Am I off, or wasn't Marin a pretty narrow road as it approached Grizzly? I actually raked a layer of paint off a parked car while trying to get up Marin [?] once when I met an oncoming car, as the horrified owners, who just happened to be walking out, watched. I had not allowed for a 1 1/2" external door hinge which protruded from a van I was driving. Curses! I was sure I had it made.

If this be the case, Marin needs to be widened up there, imho, at least so that people can get down without fear or oppression to watch the Pelican dances.

J. Peden   ·  February 5, 2005 9:34 PM

I need to get back to work writing that big thing on 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional spectra. So far, I've described 10, but there are more to go. And, after that, at least one more such post on some more such spectra of major significance.

Joseph, it sounds like you know the turf around here!

Eric Scheie   ·  February 9, 2005 2:57 PM

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