The zero-sum future - Page 2

We can switch from cars to bikes, now. Or we can leave our kids a climate-change disaster

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GETTY IMAGES/JUSTIN SULLIVAN

In fact, a lot of European cities are less dense than San Francisco — and have far fewer drivers. Even in California, the city of Davis is famous for its bike culture; "In Davis," Henderson said, "There are all these children riding their bikes to school."

 

ACRES OF PARKING

One of the most profound changes San Francisco is going to have to make involves coming to terms with the immense amount of scarce space that's devoted to cars. Parking spaces may not seem that big — but when you combine the 300-square-foot typical space (larger than many bedrooms and offices) with the space needed for getting into and out of that space, it adds up.

"Parking for 130 cars amounts to about an acre, and the aggregate of all non-residential off-street parking is estimated to be equal in area to several New England states."

Cars need more than a home parking space — they need someplace to park when they're used. So in a city like San Francisco that has more than 350,000 cars, a vast amount of urban land must be devoted to parking. In fact, Henderson estimates that parking space in San Francisco amounts to about 79.4 million square feet — or about 79,400 two-bedroom apartments. Off-street parking alone takes up space that could house 67,000 two-bedroom units.

And it's hella expensive. Building parking adds as much as 20 percent to the cost of a housing unit. He cites studies showing that 20 percent more San Franciscans could afford to buy a condo unit if it didn't include parking.

But the city still mandates off-street parking for all new residential construction — and while activists have managed to get the amount reduced from a minimum of one parking space per unit to a maximum of around eight spaces per 10 units, that's still a whole lot of parking.

And if San Francisco is expected to absorb 90,000 more housing units, under current rules that's 72,000 more cars — which means a demand for 72,000 more parking spaces near offices, shopping districts, and parks. Crazy.

So how do you get Americans, even San Franciscans, to give up what Henderson calls the "sense of entitlement that we can speed across town in a private car?" Some of it requires the classic planning measures of discouraging or banning parking in new development (AT&T Park works quite well as a facility that is primarily accessed by foot and transit). Some of it means putting in the resources to improve public transit.

And a lot of it involves shifting transportation modes to walking and bicycles.

San Francisco has had significant success increasing the use of bikes in the past few years. But there are limits to what you can do by tinkering around the edges, with a few more bike lanes here and there.

There are, for example, the hills. And there's grocery shopping for a family. Those things need bigger shifts in the use of urban space.

San Francisco's street grid, for example, sends travelers straight up some nearly impossible inclines. Young, healthy people in great physical condition can ride bikes up those hills, but children and older people simply can't.

Henderson suggests that the city could install lifts in some areas, but there's another, more radical (but less energy-intensive) solution: Reroute the grid.

If city streets wound around the sides of hills, instead of heading straight up, walking and biking would be far easier. That would involve major changes, particularly since there's housing in the way of any real route changes — but in the long term, that sort of concept should, at least, be on the table.

Bikes with cargo trailers make a lot of sense for shopping, Henderson told me — and once big supermarkets get rid of all that parking, the price of food will come down.

 

Comments

F*cking baby boomers make me sick. You've lived your self-centered lives of gluttony and excess(cocaine, big cars, big houses, etc), ruined our country, our economy, always bitching about "utopia" yet you lived in it and destroyed it for all future generations. (1972: you could buy a brand new car for $6000, a new house in SF for $32K, and could even find a job paying that amount yearly. Nobody today gets jobs equal to the price of a home).

And now you want everyone in your shit path to ride bicycles, live humbly, be unimportant and unassuming, and live in harmony with your feral, devolved offspring so you can die with a little less guilt, assuming you're capable of having any.

Fuck You! Fuck your advice! And I look forward to the day 50 years from now when I can watch a sunset and know that none of you motherfuckers are still alive.

That felt really good to write...

Posted by JoetheSFRepublican on May. 08, 2013 @ 11:47 am

that will help -- or what was your solution again? (PS we're not boomers, thanks.)

Posted by admin on May. 08, 2013 @ 11:55 am

Jason Henderson was born after the baby boom generation.

The issues you raise are related to class, not to generation.

I am pre-baby boom and bicycle is my primary means of transportation. It's very practical and fun and healthy. You should try it, it might make you less unhappy.

Posted by Guest dirk on May. 08, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

are in evidence.

As a young boomer myself, I'm tempted to wonder what importance you think the relationship between 1972 house prices and wages (mistated by the way) should hold for me. I came of age in the time of oil crisis-induced downturns and Reaganism and have lived through a constant turmoil in the economic world which has devalued one skill after another which I have been forced to master.

Provided you aren't in actuality much older than you pretend, I picture you as a malignant and callow sort whose sense of self-worth and confidence derives mainly from an over abundance of hormones or pharmaceuticals, but remains completely clueless as to the nature of the world. Everybody has gone through such a phase... to some degree.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 08, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

whoa, you need to spark one and calm down. your demon boomers during more prosperous times and took advantage of all the opportunities available to them. you seem to deny that they contributed nothing positive to the society you have inherited.
by the way my father bought our first home for $9,300 in 1953 in a city where median price homes now cost about a million bucks and is one of the most expensive cities in the country.
and why not considering the desirability of southern california coastal property. have you ever factored in the fact that california's population has tripled since 1950?
quit whining like a little bitch and deal with your reality without blaming others, except the rich who are the ones turning us into a new feudal system and military empire.
boo hoo hoo who cares about a little self pitying brat and ingrate.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 10:06 am

@JoetheSFRepuplican: Can I be the one Baby Boomer that you allow to escape such vehemence? I never owned a new car or house, never made it to middle class, so I can't really support the status quo while securing the deprivation of others. Oh, and I have to be careful saying this in San Francisco. I don't do drugs, except the ones my nurse practitioner gave me for asthma and GERD. One last thing, I'm looking forward to death.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

Are you aware you're quite ageist and have "issues"? And ageism is like any other cancer we have on the planet.

Regardless of their chronological age, all people on the planet are responsible for either riding a bike, the metro, the bus (electric/hybrid electric) or continuing the problem in their "luxury designer" SUV with latte and texting device.

Of course it's a given that most people are not going to ride a bicycle. I mean, how would people engage in their texting addiction on a bicycle without stopping? Pretty risky. And the texting addiction is of utmost importance based on my observations. The right-wing especially despise bicycles and anyone who rides one. They want everyone in a big SUV type vehicle just like them with everyone stuck in miles of traffic as far as one can see.

Regardless of climate change, most people will continue on the status quo and in their vehicles because otherwise it would require a change in their behaviour and daily routine. Good luck changing that! Not likely to happen, unfortunately. That's being realistic about it.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

I'm glad to know that we have made your existance such a stinking hell, now and for next 50 years it will take for you to rejoice in all of our deaths. And then you will die after a miserable, pathetic life. That feels even better.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2013 @ 1:40 am

I'm glad to know that we have made your existance such a stinking hell, now and for next 50 years it will take for you to rejoice in all of our deaths. And then you will die after a miserable, pathetic life. That feels even better.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2013 @ 1:40 am

I have the advantage of retrospect to add that given the potential for the greater San Francisco Bay Area to add 3-million-more humans in approximately a quarter century, governments must begin to condition citizens to the very real possibility that topography, particularly in San Francisco, will be too restricted even for bicyclists, who must also yield to a much more advanced, smaller, faster mass transit system. This fails to address inundation of livable space near shorelines by increasing water level and mass human migration seeking succor from what investigative journalist Christian Parenti terms, “catastrophic convergence” that could occur in about 47-years. Drinking water is going to be very expensive by 2060 if the Bay Area's human population grows at the presumed rate.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 08, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

I can't believe that so many get fooled by it.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

@Guest: At that time there may be 1.5-million humans in San Francisco proper. The current supply of potable water, 85% of which is channeled from Tuoluome River via Hetch Hetchy to here will not meet demand. Think about it.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 08, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

Other than that, who knows what technology we will have by then. Cheap energy from fracking and nuclear could enable us to desalinate the ocean.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

A moratorium on hydraulic fracturing may be forthcoming and although the current federal administration hints at advocating the use of nuclear power sources, this should cause us pause as legislative consensus for storage of nuclear waste is difficult to talk-through. There is a great void from concept to reality. Constructive advancements can fail because of disagreement. One can be pathetically optimistic.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 08, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

Same overseas.

If CA bans it, it will just slip further behindf economically.

Nuclear use continues to expand - clean and sustainable.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

If California sanctions it, it will slip further behind environmentally.

One should always try to understand long-term consequences associated with certain decisions, i.e. nuclear waste has something-like 250-reactive-years when stored in expensive "caskets" underground in sealed earthen spaces. 250-years is more than 31.25-two-term US presidential administrations.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 08, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

central part of the US, which is where most of the shale reserves are, so what CA does isn't as important as usual. North Dakota is probably the leader here.

Europe and Canada are getting on board too, so CA will only hurt itself by being petty.

And yes, nuclear requires long-term thinking - not a strong suit of the left, sadly.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

Like the tens of thousands of years that land affected by accidents at nuclear generating plants is uninhabitable. See Chernobyl, Fukishima. Which one is next, Guest, great oracle of markets that never lie. Ha.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

None in the US, AFAIK. How many have died in oil and gas and coal accidents?

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

Chernobyl range from 4,000 to 985,000: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster#Deaths_due_to_radiation_....

Fukishima: to be determined. The plant is still not stable. There was a jump in infant mortality in the Pacific Northwest in the months following the meltdowns.

Of course, these unnecessary deaths affected people in Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, and Japan, which won't concern a xenophobe like you. Enjoy your irradiated seafood.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

Good to see you agree with my statement that there have been no deaths from nuclear in the US.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 7:11 am

@Guest: I have noticed that each opinion proffered by you ends in a contrary opinion. Perhaps, in my case, I am deserving of such a rebuttal, but there must be some premise that withstands your gainsaying? Perhaps, years of American conditioning that one must be always optimistic, or clicking keys on handheld gadgets all day has made you more impulsive, requiring more instant and greater gratification? Maybe neoliberal dogma has captured you? You may be okay for the moment, but you may be mystified, say at a later maturity, when you look back at the cost and worth of what you accomplish, with ne'er a care. History is too copious to account for each moment, even if it were possible for humans so to do. It is true that the victors write the histories, whether accurate or skewed to protect the ego or even life itself. I also know many individuals who placed their self-worth in that which they once possessed and now that they lost everything, they also gave up their self-worth.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 09, 2013 @ 9:07 am

Just more personal speculation?

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 9:51 am

@Guest: Neoliberal capitalists do not accept proofs offered by others since neoliberalism uses an ever moving frame that forms the basis of the end justifies the means that advances the “winner take all” standard. That is, the rules are always changing to suit the end. It's a zero-sum game, even when it's rhetoric.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

Just the usual empty left-wing "deny everything" mantra?

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

Right back atcha

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 10, 2013 @ 11:46 am

E=mc2 there is no such thing as cheap energy.

Posted by pete moss on May. 15, 2013 @ 9:23 am

The massive US investment in shale is a global game-changer.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2013 @ 9:49 am

'Massive US investment'? In other words huge government subsidies. You are ok with that?

Posted by pete moss on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

it appears that cheap energy could jump-start our economy and potnentially bail us out.

Should our taxes go to promoting winning industries or losing welfare recipients? Oh, I'm very clear on that.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

But don't government subsidies turn out to be quite expensive in the long run?

Once instated how often are they ever rolled back.

Shouldn't we be careful giving away tax $s to every salesperson who walks in the door?

Posted by pete moss on May. 16, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

politicians who is most likely to direct investment towards what you want to see.

If you want to see taxes directed towards those who won't work and want to sit on their ass drinking beer, then vote accordingly.

I'd prefer to vote for those who will direct my taxes towards energy indepence for the US.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

So long as its energy independence based on fossil fuel extraction?

Posted by pete moss on May. 17, 2013 @ 9:22 am

Excellent blopg here! Also your website loads up fast!
What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link
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lol

Posted by Get China facts on Wikipedia on Aug. 04, 2014 @ 12:47 am

Y2K was an imaginary problem which anyone with real computer savvy knew well.. unless they were paid not to -- while climate change is a genuine problem which petroleum industry scientists are paid to not... Hmmm.... I guess they are similar in a way.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 08, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

I have long been a sceptic of the quasi religious belief that there is man-made global warming and more particularly that many or any of the measures such as carbon trading, wind farms, solar energy or electric cars would be of any efficacy if there was or in many cases are any more than an outright fraud. I have come in for some vituperative comment and action from “Warmists” for this stance, even though I have never said that I don’t think there is climate change, but that I would like some unadulterated evidence a) that it exists; and b) that it is man-made, and if that is provided, some suggestions for dealing with it which might work rather than simply lining the pockets of those who exploit this.

The media on climate change is so biased it would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that the subject and the waste of scarce resources on cons which pose as solutions are quite serious.

Then I read things like this: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/16/us-climate-slowdown-idUSBRE93F...

Compare and contrast the massive coverage for the self confessed scaremongering of the climate change lobby with the low key coverage of findings such as this i.e. that there has been no significant increase in temperature this century and the Northern Hemisphere experienced unusually cold weather this winter. Snow cover last December was the greatest since satellite monitoring began in 1966. The United Kingdom had the coldest March weather in 50 years, and there were more than a thousand record low temperatures in the United States. The Irish meteorological office reported that March "temperatures were the lowest on record nearly everywhere." Spring snowfall in Europe was also high. In Moscow, the snow depth was the highest in 134 years of observation. In Kiev, authorities had to bring in military vehicles to clear snow from the streets.

The Associated Press has assured us, though, that this cold spell is not only consistent with a warming globe, it is actually caused by global warming. National Geographic News informed us that "global warming is the main culprit behind this month's eastern U.S. snowstorms. The proffered explanation is that cold weather in Europe is a result of melting sea ice in the Arctic. If this special pleading strikes you as unusually tendentious, it is all in the best tradition of explaining away ex post facto any weather event that appears to contradict the global warming religious beliefs.

In 2000, British climate researcher and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contributor David Viner told the Independent that "within a few years, winter snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event." Sadly, he predicted, "children just aren't going to know what snow is." In 2008, environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote in the Los Angeles Times that "snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don't own a sled."

Of course, faced with the evident lack of any actual global warming, the flying circus has begun to shift its ground to claim that what it really meant was that there would be increased extreme weather events. But not only has there been no increase in mean global temperature for 15 years, drought is not increasing, tornadoes are not increasing in frequency or intensity. Routine hurricanes such as Sandy and Katrina have been offered as evidence of climate change, but worldwide hurricane activity is near a 40-year low.

And this absence of evidence of the predicted dire consequences is not limited to weather. Over the past 20 years, sea levels have risen by about five centimeters - an ominous trend unless you're aware that since the end of the last Ice Age, global sea level has risen 120 meters. At the end of March, the areal extent of sea ice in the Arctic was 3 percent below the 30-year average. Sea ice in the Antarctic, however, was elevated 24 percent. Global sea ice was above the 30-year mean and higher than it was in March 1980. Yet a study published in Nature Geoscience on March 31 concluded that the increase of Antarctic sea ice is caused by you guessed it global warming.

With each passing year, it is becoming increasingly clear that global warming is not a scientific theory but a political ideology or religious belief that has to be fiercely defended against any challenge and whose risible claims and contorted “explanations” are parroted by a media which has made its mind up before viewing any of the facts. Why would I waste my time arguing with people who had long since decided their beliefs?

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 11:13 am

@Guest: You wrote, "why would I waste my time arguing with people who had long since decided their beliefs?" Uh, maybe because several adroit individuals have observed some climatological anomalies that demand a bit of caution? These are not beliefs or belief systems although, these guys have worked hard to observe these things and, yes, they have invested themselves. However, if one is truly a skeptic (I hate this word) then one would not care what another thought, knew or could otherwise prove about his or her convictions. The skeptic is similar to the believer. You cannot convince either that their system is vulnerable.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

hoping to cast the science as a paper tiger easily disposed of; and has the temerity to ask for solid proof of our impending doom despite ample reasons for concern.

But we who have grave fears about this don't need absolute proof to establish the need to act. Whatever doubt petroleum industry rhetoric might seek engender is insignificant in the face of the basic fact: there will no turning back once the precipice has been passed.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:42 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

What point? My dear Guest, you only offered a counter opinion. Not a substantive point. In other words, you simply disagreed with what someone else opined.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 10, 2013 @ 11:56 am
Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

@Guest: This is similar to "shifting frame argument" in that if I can lead one on a trivial pursuit, confusing a defended (or perhaps a “parallel bias”) topic, I have therefore legitimately posited a substantive, if not compelling argument to the contrary of the premise. Climatology is a very complex subject and even should one be able to definitively substantiate its validity, the slightest probability causes us pause to consider that it is better to err on the side of caution, in considering the possibility of the climate change and "catastrophic convergence" topics, the latter being a second order effect of the other.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 12, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

But took 200 words to try and disguise that fact.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

Nobody wants to argue with you because most of your long rant is total bullshit, and the rest is irrelevant anecdotal "evidence." For example, based on one early December storm, you claimed Northern California had a cold, wet winter, when anyone who lives here knows that just isn't true, that the truth is closer to the opposite of your claim. The latest Sierra snowpack measure is that it's 17 percent of normal this year. It also doesn't matter whether some country had a cold March because weather and climate are different, as most of us know but you don't seem to understand. Finally, while it's crystal clear why the oil industry and others who profit mightily from the current system are reluctant to embrace conservation and clean, renewable energy sources -- and that they are the ones funding the climate change denier campaign -- what exactly do you think motivates this global conspiracy (including more than 90 percent of the scientific community) to create a global warming hoax? Honestly, dude, almost nothing you wrote makes any sense.

Posted by steven on May. 16, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

Ditto. Some already say that "the precipice" has been passed. I appreciated your comment.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 10, 2013 @ 11:53 am

It takes a special kind of zealot to disagree with 97 percent of the world's scientists: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013...

Posted by steven on May. 16, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

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Posted by Chinese information on Wikipedia on Aug. 04, 2014 @ 12:39 am

1. JoetheSFRepublican is right about one thing: we Baby Boomers got to use up all the Earth's resources, then renounce our evil ways. Way Back In The Day I drove from Berkeley to Reno in a little over an hour in a Chevelle Malibu SS. Pedal-to-the-metal and Hendrix on the radio a branny-new Hwy. 80 lay defenseless before me. Good Times. But those days are over, kids. That world was never sustainable; at least we figured that out,
which gave rise to environmental awareness. Sorry, but there's no going back.

2. Cites are relics, anachronisms, and obsolete. The only reason to have millions of people living cheek-to-jowl is for the 1% to make money.
Cities are ugly, dirty, noisy, dangerous, and expensive. Suburbs are also ugly, but most of them could become more-or-less self sustaining communities, thereby eliminating the "need" for automobiles.

3. The idea that trucks, busses, bicyclists, pedestrians of all ages and abilities (with or without strollers, shopping carts, and luggage), and automobiles driven by late-to-work commuters or lost Tourons can peacefully co-exist is, well, a non-starter. As Tim mentioned, we need dedicated transit, pedestrian, and automotive routes. There is less-than-zero logic in designing an urban setting where a child cannot cross the street safely, let alone ride their bike to school.

4. All the revenue that the city looses from auto-related activities could be recovered by fining cyclists who ride on sidewalks, break traffic laws, and don't have the sense of a goose to wear a helmet.

Posted by TrollKiller on May. 09, 2013 @ 11:04 am

Back in the day I had a one speed Schwinn with 27 inch weels and a back-pedel brake. I got around the City cause I could throw it on my shoulder and climb that hill.

Now, I'm an "old timer" with an electric assist mountain bike with a dying battery. I witnessed a young man peddling up 29th Street between Castro and Diamond. I instead walk the stairs at the end of Valley, heavy electro-bike on my shoulder.

The corner of Mission and 29th St. is the center of the SF banana belt, the best weather in town. Why not a bike shuttle, like the Safari Tours, to shuttle bikers up 29th St. to Diamond Heights, and for an extra fee, to the top of Twin Peaks?

Stop gouging residents, and lets make our transport systems work for everybody.

P.S. Thank's Bart for considering letting us bike riders on at all times. Heck, we'll settle for a special cattle car at the end of the train.

Posted by GuestSFreptile on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

Back in the day I had a one speed Schwinn with 27 inch weels and a back-pedel brake. I got around the City cause I could throw it on my shoulder and climb that hill.

Now, I'm an "old timer" with an electric assist mountain bike with a dying battery. I witnessed a young man peddling up 29th Street between Castro and Diamond. I instead walk the stairs at the end of Valley, heavy electro-bike on my shoulder.

The corner of Mission and 29th St. is the center of the SF banana belt, the best weather in town. Why not a bike shuttle, like the Safari Tours, to shuttle bikers up 29th St. to Diamond Heights, and for an extra fee, to the top of Twin Peaks?

Stop gouging residents, and lets make our transport systems work for everybody.

P.S. Thank's Bart for considering letting us bike riders on at all times. Heck, we'll settle for a special cattle car at the end of the train.

Posted by GuestSFreptile on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:52 pm