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.


Transit should get priority. I hear that MTA is talking about moving bicyclists to Mission Street so that Muni can have Market all to itself. This seems like a good idea to me, though I would like actual separated lanes on Mission Street.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 12:17 am

Either move bikes to Mission, which I use to get from the North Mission to the FD in the mornings, or redo Market Street for a carefree commute. A Market Street redo could take several forms, move the BART holes away from the street to create more space for bikes, or, a new idea I've had, to ban private autos from Market inbound, dedicate the left lane to transit only and the right lane to bikes/transit shared. It is the sawtooth blocks that are the problem, buses having to make right turns across bike traffic, that snarls transit much more than bikes would on the south side of the street where there is less contention with turning vehicles.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 1:58 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

Stores can be made to take deliveries at times that will have least impact on other road users. I believe that this is already the case to some extent. My riding inbound on Market is rarely impinged upon by delivery trucks, this is really a non-issue.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

more to avoid congestion than because of any requirement.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

Sorry, but I bike all the time and I'm not very fast--and believe me, I'm never holding up Muni. It's the endless lines of single-occupancy vehicles stopping at lights and people illegally parking because they can't park 50 feet from their destination that hold up Muni. Every hour of every day.

Posted by 94103er on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

sometimes happen, especially where a bike lane forces buses to compete with traffic.

He said bikes slow down traffic and, as a driver in SF, I can tell you there are countless times I have to slow down for some wobbling idiot climbing a hill who really should not be taking a lane at all.

Drivers know better than cyclists how many times they have to slow down for cyclist. And don't even get me started on cyclist riding side-by-side. They must have a death wish.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

The same law that compels to obey the same laws as autos grants us full use of the lanes.

Second class citizens are held to meet all burdens but enjoy no rights.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

are more likely to be hit by a vehicle taking evasive action, the further left you are.

CA vehicle code says that slower traffic must keep right and, unless you are going downhill, I'm guessing that you are safer keeping well to the right.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

Keep in the right lane, yeah, keep right.

Sgt. Ernst, SFPD, said it was okay to swerve into traffic when the bike lane is blocked.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

But if you ride left, I'm probably going to give less of a crap about your life at the margin.

Your call.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

I know you think you are entitled to the entire road, but I am not riding in the door zone and risking my life so that you can get home 10 seconds sooner.

If you have a problem with that and buzz me, I am going to take down your license plate number and report you as a polluter. If you come too close I am going to pull over and call you in as a drunk driver. If I can get your picture I am going to post it on the Internet.

I am just that kind of guy.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 12:27 am

If you'd rather be hit by a car door moving at 1mph than be hit by a car doing 30 mph, then I am the last person to deny you that right.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

I am safer taking the lane. I also have 20 years of accident free city cycling under my belt, though I admit that could just be good luck.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

They say that automobile congestion slows down the average Muni run 50% and double what it did 20 years ago. Cars are the number one cause of congestion for all road users. Bicycles cause less congestion per vehicle, which is why you should be encouraging people to bicycle, not acting like a fool whenever you see one.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 12:18 am

that is true. I was on a bus today that had to crawl for a block because of a slow cyclist "taking the lane".

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

That bus driver should have just run over the cyclist and saved you 10 seconds.

Because obviously you are the most important person on the planet and no one else should be able to use the road other than you.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 2:20 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

Muni slows down bikes.

I'm constantly having to hit the brakes for some lumbering bus.

Those articulated jobs are the worst.

Whose idea was it to put those behemoths on crowded SF streets?

Posted by pete moss on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

If that bicyclist was on a car, he would be slowing down Muni even more, that is the belief of Transit Planners. We can move more people on our city streets on a bicycle than in cars.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 6:33 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

How are you going to talk people into car pooling? Maybe if we had a congestion tax with a break for multi-occupant vehicles we could do that. Any other suggestions.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

By Professor Henderson's own reasoning as outlined in his insightful book "Street Fight," he's siding with the neoliberals in the SFBC against the progressives and conservatives. No wonder his position is not gaining traction.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 8:07 am

Since you are having trouble deciding who is and who is not a progressive, you should leave that topic out of your conversation. Most of us gave up on those distinctions some time ago as they are meaningless. Cut to the chase, and just say, I hate cars and everyone who disagrees with me.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:22 am

Many car lovers feel that our independence is at risk where our right to own and park a car in San Francisco is concerned. How many folks who rely on public transit, shared vehicles and cycles will expect a friend with a car to drive them out of town in the event of an emergency or power shutdown? When all the electric buses and BART fail to function, and the bike and car share machines shut down, I will be driving my personal vehicle or relying on it for shelter if need be. I hope everyone who hates cars is comfortable curled up next to their bike on the sidewalk.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:41 am

After the bridges fall down and the freeways are unusable, I will still be able to get around on my mountain bike. I expect that I will be able to evacuate my family on my bicycle while you are still stuck in your SUV in traffic.

I hope you are fine with sitting in traffic while the city burns and all of cyclists are blowing right by you. I would suggest getting a mountain bike, just in case.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:59 am

I've had my eye on one of those Bullitt cargo bikes like Spirit Courier uses.

You can haul anything with one of those.

I agree, after the big one, a four wheeler would be a poor choice of escape vehicle.

After Loma Prieta, when the bridge broke, South of Market was basically car storage facility for days.

I, however, plan to stay put after the big one.

Posted by pete moss on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:15 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 7:11 am

AND use public transportation. In my family, we use all three. Perhaps that's why my position is a bit more nuanced than some.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 8:55 am

reasonable than usual, then I'd have to agree.

Heck, I'm even agreeing with Marcos with his opposition to parking meters in the Mission.

It's a strange day here today.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:09 am

And when the gasoline runs out... what then?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:26 am

They're going to squeeze this planet dry until the last drop of gasoline drips out long after we're long dead.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:34 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

I've been hearing that since High School and yet, with fracking and other high-tech methods, it's nowhere near happening.

And then there are all the alt fuels.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:45 am

a fixable computer programming difficulty with natural resource depletion?

Everytime I read that comparison, I realize that you are unintelligent (and perhaps still in high school).

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

The "peak oil" myth has been around since the 1970's and yet the amount of known, untapped reserves now exceeds what was known 40 years ago.

Yes, that's right, after 40 years of auto use, there is more known oil out there than ever.

It was a con.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

There is obviously an inexhaustible amount of oil in the planet and anyone who tells you otherwise just doesn't understand about the perpetual motion gnomes who generate it every day just for you!

Oil will run out, it is only a question of when. Most Geologists predict Peak Oil in the next 20 years. In any case, global warming is already a problem.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 12:24 am

If we keep discovering recoverable oil faster than we use it, then it can last forever.

Even if not, cars can use a variety of alternative fuels, and electric cars can run forever.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

Oil will run out, but the magnitude and urgency of the issue was hyped to produce a scam that benefited oil speculators and Petro dictatorships.

Same thing with the anti-car sentiment -- it's good thing to make it easier to bike and improve public transportation, but being rabidly anti-car is a scam that benefits property owners and landlords.

Because not everybody can live close to work/play, it's incredibly SNOBBISH (Snob Francisco, anyone?) to reduce access to areas for people who live farther away from you, that are more pleasant for you -- who happen to live nearer.

I'm getting fed up with these SF snob locals. And snob locals often think that it's because of them alone that an area is pleasant and desireable; no -- it's because of tax dollars investing in local development, newcomers who bring in more dollars, businesses working hard such as restaurants and retail, and just plain old luck that benefits the those locals who happened to pick the right spot to claim their living spot way back when.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 20, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

The richer people in SF get the more cars they buy and drive. When the scales tip and there are more owners and market rate renters the pseudo progs will no longer be elected and this anti car nonsense will stop.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:11 am

ability of the roads to carry them at any reasonable speed or volume.

In the past, we built more roads when that happened. But since NIMBY'ism took hold in SF, some 50 years ago, we have failed to keep up with demand.

The freeways proposed in the 1950's would in fact have keep all thru traffic in SF off the city streets. Right now, people driving between the other counties and over the bridges have to compete with local bikes, buses and cars in SF, causing congestion, expense, delays and death.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:28 am

Because there is no congestion, expense, delays or death on freeways, right?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:20 am

I spent most of the week-end on them and saw no congestion.

But 101 at 8am? Sure. What else would you expect?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:44 am

Do you fantasize about Scarlett Johansson while banging your wife?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 12:34 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

Can you substantiate an increase in pro-automobile politics by the newcomers.

Didn't think so.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 19, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

This article is a bunch of crap.
Thank you for listening.

Posted by Richmondman on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

*Fellow Taxpayers*

Stop wasting your time on the BOZO who wrote this garbage. The conflict is between the SFTMA and the Neighborhoods who want to be left alone. The simple solution is BALLOT INITIATIVE similar to the 8 Washington Project. VOTE THE SFMTA OUT!!

Did you lose street parking this year?
Was your car wrongfully towed?
Tired of paying for whatever bills the city runs up
Did you have to choose between paying a parking ticket and feeding your family? VOTE THE SFMTA OUT!!
Is the Central Subway construction making a mess of your neighborhood?
Did the SFMTA create traffic congestion with bicycle lanes that no one is using?
Is the MTA planting trees with Bond money that was allocated street repairs

The SFMTA would get crushed at the Ballot box. Put them all out of job so that they know why ordinary citizens need their street parking.

Posted by sfparkripoff on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

And can they please take that empty headed, grinning little mustache puppet with them?

Do you enjoy being told you can't drive a car anymore?
Do you enjoy getting screwed out of your homes and businesses with tools fashioned from your own tax money?
Ed Lee Gets It Done!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

The voters of San Francisco created the MTA as an entity more or less immune to political pressure so that it could do the right thing for the long term interests of San Francisco. This passed in a ballot initiative.

The MTA is not subject to elections are are appointed.

But if you want to try and overturn the will of the people at the ballot box, go ahead and put your own initiative out there to build more freeways and parking lots. I guarantee you it will lose. But I will sign your initiative anyway, just for grins.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 12:31 am

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