Paris or Los Angeles?
First the initiatives: On the one hand we've got billionaire and GAP founder, Don Fisher assisted by bunches of merchants groups who want to stuff more cars into our city by relaxing the rules on the creation of off-street parking. On the other hand we've got SF Board of Supervisors President, Aaron Peskin and the liberals who want to provide additional funding for MUNI (our municipal transit system). But here's the problem, the MUNI initiative also reaffirms our current parking restrictions. So we can't have it both ways.
Now for some numbers: This city has approximately 470,000 vehicles registered to it's 820,000 inhabitants. That's low by American standards, but what isn't low is the fact that it translates to almost 10,000 vehicles packed into every one of our 49 square miles. On top of that, on any weekday another 35K cars are driven into San Francisco.
Now the merchants will tell you that this shouldn't be a "transit only city", but they're wrong. If there is any city in America that should be transit only (or at least very, very transit-friendly) it's San Francisco! Do we want more downtown congestion? No! Do we want more pollution? No! Do we want more frustrated cagers clogging up our transit lanes, maiming our pedestrians, bicyclists, and each other? NO!!!
In short people, San Francisco should remain a transit first city because we simply don't have the square mileage to be another Los Angeles, and really...who needs another LA anyway?
I like the cut of your jib. More user-friendly public transit is what this city needs.
Funny, I saw that article on the paper laying on the coffee table this morning and thought to myself, "I wonder what Kvatch would make of this?".
Thanks for the mind-reading parlor tricks.
I think putting TONS of streetcars into a city core, and banning private automobiles altogether would make a lot of sense. Moving goods could be accomplished by allowing truck traffic only at night, say between 1 and 5 am. During the day, every fifth streetcar would just be a flatbed platform that you could get on and off with packages, even bicycles and pets. You wouldn't have to worry about people cheating to get on either, because it would be free.
How the hell would you pay for it? Simple. With the value of the real estate that would be freed up that is now devoted to parking garages.
SadButTrue... As I live close to downtown, I'm all for banning everything but taxi and delivery traffic in the city center--again, more like Paris and less like LA is where we should be going.
PoP... Well put. I'm with you.
It is my dream that we charge non-residents a $25 toll to drive in this City.
Though I've given MUNI considerable grief in my time, MUNI is still better than 99% of all transit systems in the nation--despite it's miserable on-time performance. I mean...what other transit system comes so close to the "no more than 3 blocks from anywhere in the city," pledge? And when it comes to value, the "$45/mo all you can ride pass," is unequaled anywhere in the United States.
Aaron... Agreed, though the real trick is what to do about long-distance transit where the time involved with train travel makes it somewhat impractical.
Stay with the transit. It's not a good as the .15/ride I paid when I first moved there in 1958 but it's still one of the best.
SF was shortsighted when it tore up so many of its trolley lines but it's redeemed itself somewhat.
I never owned a car until the last couple of years I lived there. I wouldn't have then but I was doing a lot of weekend traveling. It spent the weeks parked in a garage for $100/month.
San Francisco is not designed for driving. It's a nightmare already downtown. I'd like to see something like a commute tax on the people who work in the city, live elsewhere, and contribute almost nothing.
Ah, hell, I know you're right. More cities need better mass transit. If cities would make mass transit free, just think about the amount of money they would actually save on road improvements, etc. Not to mention cutting down on CO2 levels.
Robert... PT would agree with you about the free transit thing. I don't, but for reasons that don't have anything to do with encouraging ridership--whole different discussion.
OK, I got it out of my system.
And then there's the commute issue. I kid you not, it's faster to drive to San Mateo than it is to take mass transit to downtown SF from the Outer Sunset. I've had jobs in both places and the travel time to my San Mateo job was faster and more consistent than to the downtown SF job.
Small wonder I was a SF car owner.
How did I know that was coming?! ;-)
I can tell you that trying to live carless in SF is a very, very different kettle of fish when you live on 46th Avenue and Pacheco
Fiat lux...Welcome to Blognonymous.
You're right. It's not easy in some areas of town, but I simply can't argue with $12,000 extra dollars in my bank account per year. As for the commute, driving to San Mateo may be faster, but it's an hour (or more) of dead time. I commute to Santa Clara once per week via Caltrain and the VTA and I get 2:15 of my workday done going down and coming back. Not a dead minute in there. Also we have car sharing in the city now, and it helps with those things that simply can't be done on a bus.
But...the notion of a pedestrian boulvard for Market is an awesome idea! It's not drivable as it is now anyway.
Here's another idea... Convert the center of Van Ness to F-line style classic streetcars. Would really beautify a corridor that needs some revitalization.
OK, I promise I'll stop now.
The F-line IS fabulous! I take it every chance I get, especially the Milano streetcars.
Tom... I'm all over that! We'll just have to see how the election works out. Public transit advocates tend to be a uppity, politically involved lot. So we'll probably be ok.
Since I hate parking and traffic, it was great for me.
Let's do it! Oh, wait, the days of Willie Brown style development are over...or are they?