Driving us crazy

Street Fight: Are some progressives screwed-up on parking?


STREET FIGHT Parking reform is one of the most radically important elements of making San Francisco a more livable and equitable city.

In this geographically constrained city, parking consumes millions of square feet of space that could be used for housing, especially affordable housing in secondary units. Curbside parking in the public right of way impedes plans to make Muni more reliable for hundreds of thousands of transit riders. Parking in new housing and commercial developments generates more car trips on our already congested and polluted streets, slowing Muni further while bullying bicyclists and menacing pedestrians.

Fundamentally, parking is a privatization of the commons, whereby driveway curb cuts and on-street parking hog the public right-of-way in the name of private car storage. The greater public good — such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing public safety through bike lanes, wider sidewalks, public green spaces, and transit-first policies — is subsumed to narrow private interests. These are among the many reasons why, for over a decade, parking reform has been a key part of progressive transportation policy.

Yet lately, it has been disappointing to watch progressives, especially on the Board of Supervisors, retreat from that stance. In Potrero Hill and North Mission, a vitriolic reaction has slowed rollout of nationally acclaimed SF Park, which raises revenue for Muni and is a proven sustainable transportation tool. Yet there are murmurings that some progressive supervisors might seek an intervention and placate motorists who believe the public right-of-way is theirs.

On Polk Street, some loud merchants and residents went ballistic when the city and bicycle advocates proposed removing curbside parking to accommodate bicycles. The city, weary of Tea Party-like mobs, ran the other way, tail-between-legs. Progressive supervisors seem to have gone along with the cave-in.

Along Geary, planning for a desperately needed bus rapid transit project drags on. And on. And on. And on. The lollygagging includes bending over backward to placate some drivers who might be slightly inconvenienced by improvements for 50,000 daily bus riders.

One thing that is remarkably disturbing about this backpedaling is that, in an ostensibly progressive city by many measures (civil rights, tolerance, environmentalism), the counterattack is steeped in conservative ideology. That is, conservatives believe that government should require ample and cheap parking, whether in new housing or on the street. This conservative ideology, shared by many car drivers and merchants — and even by some self-professed progressives — is steeped in the idea people still need cars. This despite the evidence that cars are extremely destructive to our environment, socially inequitable, and only seem essential because of poor planning decisions, not human nature.

Progressive backpedaling has become more confusing with the recent debate over 8 Washington, defeated at the polls Nov. 5, and on the same day of a convoluted Board of Supervisors hearing on a proposed car-free housing development at 1050 Valencia. Both of these projects highlight the muddled inconsistency emerging among progressive supervisors.


Shared access to shared parking space is not something anyone has. it is something that people have access to sometimes. Your libertarian "takings" fetishism has no truck here.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

(like a view, for instance" shall not be taken away without compensation.

If you bought a house with a garage and then the city makes it "pedestrians and bikes only", you are entitled to be compensated for that.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

People are entitled to believe in Jesus Christ as well, but that does not make it real.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

rent-controlled dump, so you know exactly what I mean.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

The law was clear on what the legal obligations were for those who use public dollars to evict to provide for relocation compensation.

Your hair brained theories that specious individual claims can be made on the "taking" of the commons have no basis in the law.

When government wields its discretion in cases like this, it does so best by due process where all interests are given consideration and projects are modified according to what is learned.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

their own gain. Real men progress with their ;lives fearless and do not cower in the shadows, running away and endlessly whining.

There is nothing you have done to be proud of, and nothing for anyone else to learn from. All you've done is bleed others.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

Only weak people post anonymously to chat boards on sites they disagree with. Real men stand behind their words.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 5:01 pm
Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

Nicely put, Sir!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

weak arguments. I prefer more of a challenge.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

Almost all San Franciscans *do* *not* have a car. And even your statement about Americans is nonsense as well.

"In 2008, Americans owned 137,079,843 passenger cars, or a little less than one car for every two people."

Less than half. And declining.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:47 am

car, and I can only assume that you mix in very poor circles. Every SF'er I know has a car - some have more than one.

Take that 137 million cars and then add in those too old and young to drive, those with no DL etc and you find that a significant majority of Americans own and use a car. In fact, it's impossible to live in most of the land area of the US without one.

You must have a very strange life.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

"If you take out those too old and too young to drive and those with DL, etc" then you find that almost everyone uses a car.

I guess people too young and too old and people without a DL are not people to you then. Very strange logic.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

GPD, only 31.4% of households in San Francisco do not own a private car (according to the U.S. Census), so your statement is incorrect that "almost all San Franciscans do not have a car."

The majority of households in SF *do* own a car. Now, I agree that many San Franciscans, myself included, often take Muni, a taxi, or walk in lieu of driving, but we also own cars. I personally think driving in the City is a hassle, and my husband uses the car for his commute outside of SF (I take Muni to work). We also drive to go weekly grocery shopping or for certain other errands. Occasionally, we may drive across town to go out to eat, etc.

I support improved public transit, better street scapers for pedestrians, etc., but most individuals will always still drive, at least to some extent. Rather than pushing an anti-car policy, I think it is possible to find a happy compromise that allows streets to be used by everyone in a way that still allows for efficient travel.

Posted by Chris on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

69% is not almost all to any speaker of the English language.

Is is most or perhaps many, but not almost all.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

GlenPark, in your earlier post, you said: QUOTE "Almost all San Franciscans *do* *not* have a car." /QUOTE

I cited U.S. Census information proving you were wrong, and your response is to say that I am the one using "crazy semantics?"

Okay, if 69% is not "almost all," then how the hell could 31.4% be "almost all?" What English language are you speaking?

It is a shame that you cannot just respond, "I made a mistake, Chris, and you are correct that the vast majority [if you don't want to say "almost all"] of San Franciscan households *do* own a private car."

In short, you are a troll.

I sometimes go for weeks without reading the SFBG, but whenever I do read a story on this site and choose to read the posts, I see you have have usually posted pages of comments to the story. Clearly, you waste hours on this site posting, and of the posts of yours that I have read, most of what you write appears to be just petty bickering with strangers.

Get a life, grow up, and learn how to have a reasonable discussion/debate with others.

You were wrong about the ownership of private cars in San Francisco, accept it, and move on.

Posted by Chris on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

I am sorry the English Language is so tough for you.

The comment I was responding to was "almost all San Franciscans have a car"

If you honestly believe that 69% is "almost all" then I fell sorry for you.

You really have no empathy or compassion for 1/3 of the population.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:12 am

Now, you show your true loser troll colors. A few final words to you before I stop responding to you permanently (since I do not like to waste time with trolls):

First, please take your sexual fetishes elsewhere. This is not a sex website, and I do not appreciate your attempts to sexually harass me with your sexual invitations. I do not know you, and I do not wish to have sex with you. If you want to be bitten or have your boots licked, or whatever nonsense you keep coming up with, then go online and solicit consensual sex from a willing individual.

Second, I love to say this: You were wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong about the percentage of ownership of private cars in San Francisco. I am sorry you cannot grow up and admit to being so wrong, but it doesn't change the fact that you were wrong.

Third, I understand English quite well, but you seem to be the one struggling with it since you seem to think that if only 1/3 of SF households do not own a car that means that "almost all" San Franciscans do not own a car--this was from your own post. You cannot escape the fact that you made a fool of yourself.

Finally, as mentioned, I do not wish to argue any longer with a troll like you who doesn't know what you are talking about and who cannot admit you were wrong. I am sorry, you have such an insecurity complex, but you need to work it out with your therapist and take your nonsense off of this website.

Posted by Chris on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

I guess my nom de plume turns you on or something but I have never made a sexual remark to you or anyone else on this website.

You have obvious mental health issues, good luck in your recovery.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 5:50 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

You are delusional Chris, you are hearing voices that aren't there and seeing words that aren't there.

This is a symptom of serious mental illness and you should very seriously seek help.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

From soup to nuts, driving is subsidized. The subsidies required to explore, produce, refine and transport petroleum are massive. The ecological impacts of petroleum are shifted off books onto the commons.

The subsidy for driving infrastructure dwarfs that of public transit.

Cities have been redesigned for private autos.

Just saying that is not sufficient to change things. There has to be a transition strategy. There are many who want that transition strategy to be all sticks, I'd prefer to make some carrots to bring folks along on their own volition and reserve the sticks for the sticklers. That's why they call them sticklers, they need sticks to be moved.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 8:12 am

and only about and for drivers.

But everyone benefits from road spending, unless of course you never take a bus or cab, never buy anything, grow your own food in your back yard, and never need an emergency vehicle.

:Loading all those costs only onto private cars totally misses the point.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 8:39 am

One can segment out the share of subsidy for trucking and industrial transport from the subsidy for single occupancy automobiles. The construction of suburbs, for instance, was the product of favorable tax policy demanded by sprawl developers.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:06 am

What about buses and emergency vehicles? They are run by the city, but does the city pay its fair share.

Bikes use the roads but do not pay for them.

And even people use roads, and certainly benefit from them in many ways.

That's why roads are an infrastructural cost and should not be attributed by private auto's solely.

The suburbs were built because people who worked in the city wanted to have a normal family life.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:19 am

Bikes use the roads but do not pay for them? Silly me thinking that the 248 million dollar bond SF just passed to pay for repaving the roads was going to be repaid from general funds, when clearly they are being repaid for solely by the local gasoline tax that does not exist!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 10:54 am

But vehicles carry lots of taxes and junk fees.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:46 am

Our sales and property taxes pay for the roads, tenant and homeowner alike.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:22 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:47 am

The suburbs were built because greedy developers realized that they could sell rubes on the idea that they could have something for nothing: that they could have more space and a big car and that it would be cheaper and easier than staying in the city. It has turned our poorly for everyone, but most especially for the rubes. They are overweight, sick with diabetes and heart disease, breath unhealthful air and mostly live in crime ridden neighborhoods with mediocre schools. Their communities and families have been blown apart and they spend their time watching television instead of bowling together.

Not everyone fell for the trick. Those families that stayed in The City are better off, like mine.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:41 am

would be overrun with all those extra people, and you probably couldn't afford SF then anyway.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:48 am

People in San Mateo, Burlingame, Walnut Creek, Moutain View etc. all look pretty trim and fit on the occasions I go out to the suburbs for work or to visit friends. The notion that anyone not living in San Francisco is "overweight, sick with diabetes and heart disease" is just crap. And, where are you getting this crap about "families blown apart?"

Also, I personally know no individuals nor have I even heard of of anyone through work or acquaintances who lives in the suburbs and spends their time bowling (not that I think there is anything wrong with the sport). However, I have met a handful of individuals in San Francisco who do occasionally go bowling. That throw-away line, just makes you seem like a real snob--and not much fun to be around either.

I am not sure where you get your notion of what suburban life is like, but it is not based on reality. My gosh, have you ever even left your block? You don't seem to know your own metropolitan area, let alone the rest of the wider world. Go outside your comfort zone and meet other people, it will prove to be a real eye-opener for you.

Now, can we return to the subject of cars and parking in the City?

Posted by Chris on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 5:33 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:21 pm
Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

GlenPark, obviously, you are not a scientist.

Your evidence of what you think the suburbs are like is based on a 10 year old article in the New York Times that has no citations, and which is not describing Bay Area suburbs. Also, you cite some stupid book consisting of one persons assumptions of life in America, and I note it is not exclusively focused on suburban life. And, if you actually read the book, it does not state that majority of suburban people go bowling. In short, you have offered nothing to support your wild claims.

Instead of being a troll, just go out and test your stupid theories. Go to Burlingame or Walnut Creek and tell me how many fat people you see compared to how many fat people you see walking around in SF. Admittedly, it is not a scientific comparison, but it should give you a good idea that your notion of what suburbanites are like is seriously off. It's really embarassing that an adult living in a generally sophisticated city like San Francisco could be so clueless about the rest of the world.

You would do well to educate yourself and stop being a troll who posts nonsense.

Posted by Chris on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

You cannot present it because it is not true. Go find some Walnut Creek blog to post to so you can forward your crazy theories? Oh you mean Walnut Creek residents don't have one? What a surprise.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:15 am

Again, you presented no evidence yourself. A 10-year old article from the NY times without any citations that isn't even about the Bay Area is not evidence to support your point. Also, a social-political science book that is about the level of participation in social instituations is also not evidence of either the fitness of Bay Area suburbanites or their preferred recreational activities. Do you even know what the word "evidence" means? You made an assertion, the burden is on you to prove it.

I don't mind discussing/debating things with individuals who have different viewpoints, but I do mind dealing with silly trolls like you who only surf to this website to post stupidity and to try to argue with others just for the sake of arguing. You don't understand what you are writing. Most of your posts are ridiculous, rude, arrogant, arugmentative, and just plain wrong.

In short, you are not contributing anything worthwhile to the discussion of any the subjects on this website.

If you want to argue with people, get off this website and find other individuals who want to engage in petty bickering.

Posted by Chris on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

"Evidence" is a book or article in a respected publication. "Evidence" doesn't mean, go look around and make some observations that agree with mine.

There are many, many peer reviewed articles in respected scientific journals that I can cite to substantiate my claim that people living in suburbs tend to be heavier and in poorer health than those living in cities. I pointed you to two of them. You claimed that you didn't agree with them but offered no counter-evidence other than your own anecdotes.


In a decade of economic growth and rising income, obesity has risen dramatically. This is puzzling when researchers have found that there is an inverse relation between income and obesity. This paper argues that new location patterns produced by suburban sprawl are an important cause of rising obesity rates.

"For instance, studies in Vancouver found that each additional hour spent in a car per day increased the likelihood of being obese by 6%. (Reference 2) Furthermore, walk-friendly residential designs increase the number of people getting the recommended 30 or more minutes of physical activity per day. (Reference 3) A summary of recent research into the trends and causes of inactivity can be found in the Reference 4. Obesity is related to a number of risk factors in addition to lack of exercise. A good resource is the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website:"

Adult obesity 16% 25%

Obesity rates are over 50% higher in Contra Costa County vs. San Francisco.

I could go on and on and on like this. If you would like me to provide more scientific studies that indicate that suburban living tends to lead to poor health, I am happy to do so.

If you wish to provide counter-evidence, you are welcome to do so. Please do so without engaging in personal attacks.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

Jym, it is market based in the sense that SFPark uses a demand based pricing model. It is a tollbooth on what had traditionally been a first-come first-served time-limited shared resource. It is in that sense an enclosure on the commons.

The MTA needs to be making progress in putting a rapid and reliable transit system in place before they begin to raise costs for existing residents. Under the ENUF plan, parking permits would go to existing residents and businesses and not to residents of upzoned condos. So parking would go from free to what every other residential neighborhood pays.

The way to solve this is to put upzoned market rate housing entitlements on hold until Muni meets its 85% on-time goal. That would enlist developers to fix Muni to get at those sweet, sweet condo profits instead of nickle and dimeing those whom we'd hope to be our allies on other progressive issues on which we agree.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

from a true believer.

All of this true believer non sense has repeatedly been debunked.

The will to believe trumps reality again in the cause of "I want."

Jym's next act will be that of David Horowitz, true believer red diaper baby leftist turned neo-con airhead, just give it time. Binary types always wave in the wind.

Posted by Matlock on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

Honestly, everytime I read something by this guy, all I can think is that he must hate cars because he couldn't score in the back seat of one when he was younger.

Posted by Guest: morgan on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

@Guest - Some people are so hot they don't NEED a car to help them score.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

Jason Henderson, I agree with every word of your column.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

assumes they know what is best for all then writes a long diatribe based on argument by definition.

Americans don't vote for this dreamy non sense en mass and yet the progressive intelligentsia can't figure out why, so they just define the terms of their own non sense and keep on wallowing in their own make believe world.

The author is living the dream of attempting to make us live a nightmare.

Posted by Matlock on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

The real problem is that the MTA is using the people of San Francisco as an ATM.

I'm all for transit first. Which is to say that first we need to fix the problems with transit, so that going car-free is viable for more people. I'd love to bike all over the city, or take public transit. But right now it's just not viable.

There's not enough transit, it's slow and it costs too much. And with biking, you have to be wary of cops with a chip on their shoulder enforcing stop sign rules. Frankly, cars are still the most viable way of getting around. And that's just in the city. What if you work outside the city? What if you want to get away for the weekend? What if you're just disabled and can't bike everywhere. The fact is, we'll always need to find ways to co-exist.

And please, spare me the nonsense about parking being a privatization of public space. If that's the case, so is being on the sidewalk. As long as I'm on the sidewalk, I'm using that space for a private purpose. Should I have to pay money to walk on the sidewalk too?

Lastly, this isn't a progressive vs. conservative issue. It's ironic that the author is on the same side as the Ed Lee-appointed MTA, against the neighborhood interests who are fighting against being gouged by the city family.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

Bike lanes slow down transit, favoring young, fit, healthy and (usually) professional folks over the very young, the very old, and the disabled.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 7:18 am

Do cars or bikes slow down transit more?

And you really need to cool it with your hatred of young people. I see older people cycling all the time, but even if that was not true, you have no right to discriminate against the young because of your irrational agism.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:49 am

user. As do bikes that cannot keep up with the flow of traffic.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

I'm noticing that during my afternoon bicycle commute home, there are so many bicyclists heading west on Market, that bikes are indeed slowing down transit to some extent.

More people will depend on transit than will bicycle, so transit gets absolute priority.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

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