Jackson West’s Obsessive Compulsion

links for 2006-06-30

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 30, 2006

links for 2006-06-29

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 29, 2006

San Francisco Bike Lane Brouhaha

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 29, 2006

San Francisco resident Rob Anderson recently got a lot of play in the local press over his work getting an injunction to stop all activity related to expanding and improving bike lanes across The City. In a sad irony, he managed to convince the judge that because The City didn’t follow the proper procedures for conducting an Environmental Impact Report, they weren’t in compliance with the law. The City Attorney, naturally, disagrees.
In a follow up comment to his press release announcing the judge’s decision to issue the injuction, he states:

“I am not pro-car or even anti-bike. I just think that redesigning the city’s streets on behalf of 1% of the city’s population—taking away traffic lanes and street parking, among other things—is poor public policy. I also think riding a bike in the city is very dangerous and shouldn’t be encouraged by city government. This whole bike thing is a progressive utopian fantasy that’s not going to happen.”

Speaking of fantasies, I’d have to say that 1% number is seriously suspect. I find it very hard to believe that fewer than 9,000 people in San Francisco ride bicycles in The City. Rob responded to the recent coverage in this post. I went ahead and left a comment, but since they’re moderated and I didn’t want to risk losing it, I’m cross-posting my response below:

I don’t understand how you can maintain that riding a bike in The City is any more dangerous than walking or driving a car.

According to the CDC, 623 people died while riding a bicycle in the state of California between 1999 and 2003, at a rate of 3.6 per million in population. Whereas occupants of motor vehicles in the same area and period died at the rate of 46.4 per million (8,006 deaths). That means riding in a car is an order of magnitude more dangerous than riding a bicycle.

Walking, actually, is way more dangerous than riding a bike, with 4,052 pedestrians killed — and I’d be willing to bet the farm that 99% of those pedestrian deaths involved a car, truck or bus fender. For more perspective, firearms accounted for 16,240 deaths — making cars half as deadly as guns.

As for your argument that this affects small business disproportionately, you’ve only offered anecdotal evidence. While certainly compelling, that does not mean that there is, on average, any impact on business in The City (positive or negative) by removing parking spaces to create bike lanes.

Finally, while demanding The City comply with local, state and federal laws and procedures is admirable, this was obviously a good-faith effort to improve the environmental conditions in The City by decreasing the amount of car traffic (and, therefore, emmissions). So why are you surprised that you are being called a curmudgeon after challenging a popular and well-intentioned program on a bureaucratic technicality? That’s what curmudgeons do.

To make a final point, all motor vehicle related deaths for the period total 19,418, actually making internal-combustion traffic more deadly than firearms. If you’re interested, I done got my statistics from this tool at the CDC, which is one of my favorite new research resources.

More Vox Invites

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 29, 2006

So I’ve been handing out ‘starter’ vox invites like candy (somehow I must have ended up atop a Google query I’m assuming).  But I just got two ‘standard’ invites, which are full-featured.  So here’s my challenge to anyone who wants one — send me a short story about the passionate, illicit love affair between Jessica Alba and Jennifer Beals.  Raunchiest two stories win.

links for 2006-06-28

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 28, 2006

links for 2006-06-27

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 27, 2006

Digg 3.Oy

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 27, 2006

I’m not a member of ‘Diggnation,’ seeing as how I don’t actually flag (or ‘digg’) any articles or participate using any of the social tools (I’m busy enough keeping track of all my del.icio.us bookmarks). I do watch the RSS feed of their front page, though, just to keep on top of the zeitgeist as it were.

So if I see a headline I like in Bloglines, I’ll go ahead and control+click or right-click to open it in a new tab. But since their upgrade to the new version, I found two changes really annoying. First, for some reason I had to login to view any stories that weren’t in the ‘technology’ category. Obeekaybe, whatevs. They need their ad-targeting data or other aggregated, anonymous (I hope) user-tracking info.

But even more annoying is that when I then clicked on the link in the actual Digg page, it spawned a new window. The old version didn’t do this, and it was a feature I actually dug (pun kind of intended) and is what social news grandaddies Metafilter and Linkfilter do.  In fact, it would be really nice if their title links in the RSS feed just went to the damn content, instead of to an intermediate page on the Digg site.

As an aside, is there a way to force Firefox to replace any new window calls with a new tab call instead? And for site designers, is there a way to code a link so that it opens in a new tab instead of a new window? Something that fails gracefully for Internet Exploder users? Because christ almighty, if I never see a new browser window spawned by idiots trying to keep me on their sites, it will be too soon.

links for 2006-06-25

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 25, 2006

links for 2006-06-23

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 23, 2006

links for 2006-06-22

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson West on June 22, 2006
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