Paris or Los Angeles?

The battle's on my San Franciscan friends, and the Chronicle has identified precisely what's at stake. We're going to get a chance to decide what kind of city we want to be because two upcoming ballot measures are directly in conflict with each other.

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?

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