As we first reported yesterday, San Francisco’s Planning Department is recommending that the Planning Commission approve the redevelopment of the New Mission Theater and the construction of 114 condos at 2558 Mission Street next door. That being said, conditions of the Department’s recommendation include a reduction in the number of off-street parking spots, down from a proposed 89.
From the Planning Department:

The Project Sponsor proposes a quantity of parking beyond the principally permitted amount through Conditional Use Authorization [Editor’s Note: the principally permitted amount is 57 (.5 per unit)], pursuant to Section 151.1. The [environmental report] prepared for the project does not identify transportation or circulation impacts that rise to the level of a significant impact under CEQA. However, the ready availability of excessive parking for the project may serve as a disincentive for residents to travel by means other than the private automobile. The resulting movement of additional vehicles around the Project Site and in the vicinity may degrade the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Excessive parking to this degree also conflicts with multiple policies in the General Plan, and specifically the Mission Area Plan, to contribute to a built environment that encourages a variety of transportation options and discourages private automobile use as a primary mode of travel in walkable, transit-rich neighborhoods.

Therefore, this Conditional Use Authorization is subject to a condition of approval limiting the amount of parking permitted for the project. The residential parking is limited to an amount smaller than permitted by Conditional Use Authorization by Section 151.1 for the Mission Street NCT District, not to exceed 77 spaces (equal to .67 cars for each dwelling unit). Therefore, the condition of approval limits the number of residential parking spaces to 77.

The question of the day: If you own a car, are you more likely to take walk, bike or take public transportation if your car is parked in a garage (where it’s easy to come and go) or on the street (where it can’t stay parked for a prolonged period of time)?
On The Agenda: New Mission Theater And New Condos Approvals [SocketSite]
New Mission Theater Plans Moving Forward, Targeting 2013 Opening [SocketSite]
The Next Big Housing Thing To Define The New Mission [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by WTF

    I’d just drive to the next spot. It’s a PITA, but . . .

  2. Posted by steve

    I would argue that Muni is the greatest disincentive to people taking public transportation.

  3. Posted by lurker

    I’m impressed. steve took the words right out of my mouth.

  4. Posted by Michael

    I park on the street and I am more likley to drive on the days when I have to move my car for street cleaning. I think I would drive less if I had a garage, not more.

  5. Posted by futurist

    In answer to the specific “question of the day” by SS: (the question seems a bit too rigid; it’s not an either/or answer. Here’s why.
    I would answer: it depends: my car is garaged. I sometimes hop on the J to go downtown.
    I walk a LOT for morning exercise. We sometimes walk to Valencia St. for lunch or dinner with friends. I sometimes walk to WF for groceries.
    I usually drive my car 1) at night. 2) if it’s pouring rain like crazy. 3) if I have a lot of groceries to pick up or errands to run all over town.
    What is nice living in SF is that we have a CHOICE, and we can exercise that choice in the way that works best for us.

  6. Posted by Jackson

    I drive my car primarily to do grocery shopping at Costco and for out of town trips. Otherwise, I walk to stores in my neighborhood, or take MUNI.
    The hassle and cost of parking limits my driving.
    Of course, the anti-car bicyclist crowd still will not accept me wanting to own an automobile in San Francisco.

  7. Posted by anon

    steve/lurker – I agree that Muni does suck, and I don’t personally use it much, but it does have more than 700,000 trips per day. Hardly nothing, and clearly if it’s a “disincentive”, that disincentive ain’t working, with SF having one of the highest transit-usage rates in the country.
    As far as the question in the post – sure, if I owned a car, having a parking spot would cause me to drive it less. That’s the wrong question to ask though – the question is whether having more parking included in developments attracts a different type of buyer. The city isn’t trying to get people to give up cars or use their cars less, they’re trying to attract folks who don’t want/need a car in the first place.

  8. Posted by Oceangoer

    Futurist and Jackson said it for me.

  9. Posted by futurist

    Echoing what Jackson said, I would add that the very vocal, very one sided, law-breaking anti-car bike crowd just really hates it when we talk about choices.
    Their primary rant is that we should ALL live just like them.
    Thankfully we don’t have to, or would want to.

  10. Posted by lol

    My car was parked on the street. I’d always try and synchronize my chores with the bi-weekly switcheroo. After a while you have an internal clock set on street sweeping time. I did cycle less as a consequence.
    A neighbor who owns multiple property out of state and is never there often just pays the once-a-week ticket which I guess works out cheaper than renting a $300/month garage. Sucks for the neighbors because the sweeper is always going around his spot.
    On WEs I’d hate to move the car because of all the inflow of visitors. You come back 1 hour later and have to exile yourself up Liberty Hill. That’s not really my definition of freedom but then again, I am too cheap to rent a garage. The paradox is that having a car on residential parking made my WEs more local-centric.
    I just started experimenting life without owning a car in this neighborhood. I’ll see if ZipCar works out as well as my friends tell me it does. Wifey is supportive so far. With a walk score of 100 all around the Castro, this should be easier than the Sunset or even NV.
    Shopping is definitely an adjustment. Instead of a 5-bags 2-week shopping cycle to TJ’s with a few local fares, I have to cycle my 2 bags of grocery back up from 8th/Bryant every week. I shop more locally for standard stuff.
    On another note, I do not think having this building will greatly degrade the experience of cyclists. I cycle past this lot every morning, FYI. When this was a gas station you’d get quite a bit of a mess with people coming in and out. Some of their cutomers were unfamiliar with the area (otherwise they’d go one block up and save $$$) and didn’t always understand how the bike path worked. I expect the residents to be more in tune with cycling traffic.
    There’s more danger coming from the jackasses who double-park on the bike lane to get their lattes at Peets a 1/2 block up.

  11. Posted by Invented

    I increasingly use my street-parked car because — as hard as I try — most bus trips in anything-goes, lookaway SF are increasingly disgusting and offensive.
    That said, I bike as much as I can and do most errands on two wheels.
    I would use the car the same whether garaged or street. There is no difference.

  12. Posted by frequent-muni-rider

    ditto on muni being the biggest deterrent.
    what fascinates me is the lack of citizen outrage over this issue. what’s the mayor doing??

  13. Posted by unwarrantedinlaw

    Paris had a program of reducing street parking in order to “encourage” people to use the public transit. They had goals, they’d announce with pride how many fewer parking spaces were available each year. They also had a program of reducing lanes and making traffic less efficient. These forcible improvements which are made for the good of the people always seem to be based upon some form of coercion.

  14. Posted by Zig

    clearly having no off street parking but owning a car almost requires you need to move the car everyday in much of SF. I’ve lived this
    Having less off street parking also makes one less likely to own two cars. I have lived this too. My wife and I got sick of moving one car around and just sold it. We are a one car household now with one off street spot and are fine.
    The 5-6x a year that we both need a car she just rents one and bills it to her employer

  15. Posted by Brad

    I live in the Mission and have a garaged car, but I only take it out on the weekends when I need to make big shopping trips or venture into Marin or the valley to see family.
    Day-to-day, I bike or walk around the neighborhood, and take my Vespa if I need to go a further distance within the city (though I usually BART downtown). I avoid driving because it’s frustrating and I hate spending time and money on parking. As a cyclist (and motorcyclist), dealing with congestion drives me bonkers, so I only drive a car when necessary.
    I share @steve’s sentiments about MUNI: its biggest disincentive is the people who ride it, particularly on the 14. I’ll ride most of the lines, but the 14 is an absolute joke.

  16. Posted by BayGuy

    I’m a “Senior” adult. You are NOT going to find me on a bicycle. I drive in the “inner sunset”, and trust me, NONE of the cyclists obey their portion of driving rules… I do believe that with all the glut of bike lanes and “parklets”, soon, San Francisco, will not allow auto traffic. It is a shame.

  17. Posted by anon

    These forcible improvements which are made for the good of the people always seem to be based upon some form of coercion.
    I think this is true of all government policy anywhere, whether they be taking something away (as in your example) or adding something that wasn’t there (as in forcing a set amount of parking to be built, in order to decrease competition for street parking, increase commerce, etc).
    Every policy has an intended goal, and all use implicit or explicit coercion to attain that goal. It’s better to evaluate each goal on the merits rather than scream “coercion!”

  18. Posted by BDB

    I have a garage, can’t imagine life without it, but having said that the car is used on Fridays to drive to work, mostly as we’ll go for dinner some place later and it’s nice to hop in the car and get home fast.
    I work in the financial district, so riding a bike to work is the most effective way of getting here. Faster than my car and Muni.
    My company will actually pay for monthly parking which I’m sure encourages many of the other employees to drive to work, but the hassle isn’t worth it for me.
    Aside from that I use the car on the weekends for grocery runs, and other trips.
    the days that I leave my bike at the office (post work drinks) I get Muni in the next day and wish I was on my bike..
    So I’m with Brad..

  19. Posted by lol

    unwarrantedinlaw,
    Once you decide to try and manage how a city works, you are “coercing” things on people. Stuff like traffic flow control, parking enforcement can seem like an attack on your freedom but if you choose to live in the city and do not have $40M to put into a 1/2 acre property with your own helipad, accept that you’ll have to bear with traffic control managed by the local government.
    As far as Paris is concerned, kudos to them to try and make it a better city to live in. Pollution is a public health issue especially when you know that 80+% of all new cars sold in France are diesel-powered (diesel is a silent killer). Traffic directly impacts pollution and therefore any effort to reduce traffic is good for most Parisians overall in the long run.
    The main reason Parisians didn’t complain too much about restrictions: many trips in Paris were done by commuters going from suburb to suburb. As suburban freeways get congested very quickly, people would take shortcuts across the city of Paris, saving very precious time. Paris wasn’t built for that much car transit and the city acted accordingly when it became liberal years ago.

  20. Posted by DCR

    I’m sure I’ll get some slack for this, but as a parent of young kids a car is a necessity for me. A parking space would be critical to me in buying/living somewhere, although often times the car isn’t used and we bicycle or walk or take the bus. What is important to me is that I have the option of using the car when I need it, and when I don’t it is secure and there’s no issue of having to move it.

  21. Posted by Willow

    I echo BayGuy’s sentiments…not everyone is in a position to ride a bike. The city unfortunately continues to support policies that attract a particular type of demographic at the expense of San Francisco’s ever diminishing diversity. Why not just turn SF into one big Valencia St with endless tacky parklets and Hipster wannabes everywhere and be done with it? Unfortunately I can’t see a change in direction anytime soon. How boring…

  22. Posted by futurist

    @ DCR: I support you completely. You have that option to use your car and it’s YOUR choice; something the bike-centric crowd does not understand.
    And Willow is right: Some of SF’s current pro-bike, anti-car policies seem to be geared toward only ONE demographic.

  23. Posted by lyqwyd

    I’ve owned a car my entire time living in SF. First I had no parking at all, and I almost always took transit when possible as I hate having to circle for 10-45 minutes looking for parking.
    Later I got a parking spot in the driveway, I started driving more often, but still generally used transit (even though the trip was 3 times as long), or carpooled, as finding parking near my office was often a nightmare.
    Then I got a parking spot near my office. Now I drive every day, and haven’t been on the bus in several months.
    Having parking definitely reduced my transit usage.
    Muni definitely sucks, certain lines much worse than others. When I did bus to work I refused to take the 22 as it was just disgusting. The 33 on the other hand was quite nice, almost always had a seat, and has beautiful views when coming down from the hill, so I took that line even though it required me to walk 10-15 minutes to the nearest stop.
    Regarding coercion. Almost all highways in urban areas were built using eminent domain, demolishing entire neighborhoods. So as lol points out, there is plenty of coercion to go around.

  24. Posted by JustLooking

    First. I live in the City (near twin peaks) and have a garage at my house. I also have access to a space at my office (cost covered by employer) if I wanted it. But, I have done a time test (driving vs. Muni) and it is a virtual tie. So each morning I walk down to Cole Valley and take the N to downtown (all in 30 minutes). And to be honest, I like the walk and will continue to do so as long as I am able.
    The only time I need my car at work is when I have a meeting out of the City and this only happens once or twice a quarter.
    So. My answer is walk/muni – even with a parking space for me on both ends. Just a better use of my time.

  25. Posted by WTF

    What is SF most famous for? All the crazies that live here and the freaks who run it. Oh, yeah, can’t forget all the stupid rules and regs they come up with at their whim.

  26. Posted by anon

    Muni, never! Not ever!
    I would rather drive, walk or bike….often a combination of driving and walking. I park in many hoods with no garages and it does not deter me.
    I love bikes but the problem with bikes is lack of secure parking and the real dangers involved. Too many bikes get stolen in broad daylight with hundreds of people walking past. Plus riding is extremely dangerous in the bay area (and I say that as a lifelong, regular cyclist who also has ridden motorcycles on racetracks many times at very high speeds). There was a bike accident near my house recently. The person was hit so hard they just flew. And street clothes and a little styrofoam helmet don’t provide any significant protection (say vs. a padded full-body moto suit, armored boots and gloves and full-faced helmet).

  27. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    What “degrades the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists” are local residents circling the block multiple times looking for street parking because their condo or apartment doesn’t have a space.
    Additionally in the Mission, it’s the filth and stench of the street itself.

  28. Posted by ross

    Before I even had a chance to say it… Muni is the by far the biggest disincentive to taking public transportation in SF.
    And anyone who refers to any part of the City as “transit rich” is out of their mind. I would rather circle around my home and destination for 20 mins each than to wait 20 mins for a urine soaked bus.
    I love the idea of great public transportation but the City will never get there by using an “All Stick” approach. And let’s face reality, we live in one of the greatest regions on Earth. We have the coast, wine country, and the Sierra all of which will really be accessible by car for the foreseeable future. Create great public transportation for around town and people will use it… let people have parking spots if they want to pay for them so they too can enjoy this amazing region we live in!
    Here’s a novel thought… increase parking at homes and decrease street parking to make the sidewalks wider and more walkable or make the streets wider for more (and cleaner) public transportation. This obsession that the planning department has over private parking spots is so misguided in my opinion.

  29. Posted by Rocco

    This is an affluent town– people like to have choices, and many would be perfectly happy choosing MUNI if it were viable during rush hours (it actually really great at other times of the day) or to bike or walk. And having a car does not guarantee that it will be used daily– I have long lived in a building where every unit has a parking space but where most tenants take public transport or bike to work. Some of us only need a car once a week– which is why there should be more support for car share non-profits like City Car Share. So what we’re really talking about then is vehicle storage, which we don’t need on a 1.1 basis on that stretch of Mission Street. And people need to give up this notion that they have a right to warehouse their vehicles on the street.
    Note to lol: new diesel-fuel vehicles sold in the EEC are low emission, like the TDI vehicles we’re starting to see more of here. They’d be more popular here if there were more “clean” diesel pumps at gas stations.

  30. Posted by Dan

    I have a garage at home, and used to rent a garage space at work. Now I bike commute, and use my car rarely. I use my car for big grocery trips (TJs/Costco), but mostly walk to nearby smaller stores. I may drive when out at night, or when it rains, and to take weekend trips out of town. I would drive a little bit more if I didn’t have a garage, because I would have to move my car every 3 days.
    I think parking should be limited downtown, but that developers should be able (but not required) to provide parking when building condos in the neighborhoods.
    As a cyclist, I’m not opposed to residential garage parking, a long as the parking is underground. If the city wants to encourage cycling, it should crack down on cars and trucks that double park in the bike lanes!

  31. Posted by grove_cole

    Here’s a novel thought… increase parking at homes and decrease street parking to make the sidewalks wider and more walkable or make the streets wider for more (and cleaner) public transportation. This obsession that the planning department has over private parking spots is so misguided in my opinion.
    We’re going through the permit process to add a garage to our house. We started in September 2011 and we’re not done yet. And we already paid thousands and thousands to the City. Just FYI…

  32. Posted by curmudgeon

    OK, I agree that Muni sucks. But it is still amazing that if you went by the readership (or at least writership) of this blog, you would guess that nobody ever rides Muni. But in fact transit ridership is very high. I think the answer is..Muni is economically necessary for many people, and it isn’t quite as bad as some of you say, and is sometimes, believe it or not, pretty great.
    That said, I live near BART and that was a very deliberate decision on my part. There is so much more certainty that your trip is going to be timely, pleasant, and uneventful. And that counts for a lot.
    I park my car in the street, and figure that the occasional parking ticket is cheaper than the $250/month it would cost to garage it. But I do probably use it more because it is parked on the street…sadly I sometimes even drive it to work because I can’t find legal street parking in the morning (I’m sandwiched between two RPD’s in the Mission, and some of the only legal streets have streetcleaning three days a week) aargh…when my car dies I’ll probably bite the bullet and join city carshare

  33. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I’d ride Muni more often if it weren’t so redundant with cycling. I can bike from A to B usually quicker than Muni can, especially when you factor in latency. I do however use transit like BART and Caltrain for longer trips.
    My car stays parked off street almost all of the time even though I also have “free” parking at work. But I’m kind of an outlier so feel free to disregard this data point.
    But in situations when I score parking at a destination where street parking is scarce, I’m a lot more inclined to complete the rest of the day’s errands on foot. I’d rather walk miles than hassle with finding another parking spot.
    For those who think that reduced parking will increase street congestion as drivers circle looking for a spot: think it through. That only happens if drivers are either extremely stubborn or stupid (or both). We humans are actually a lot smarter and adaptable than than.
    And to those who think that owning a private car (and hence needing long term parking) is the magic key that opens access to California’s Gold (RIP Huell !), let me introduce you to my friends Avis and Hertz.

  34. Posted by futurist

    Yea, like I’m going to give up my awesome, little German SAV and call Avis or Hertz to rent one their crappy Pos’s that has the smell of spilled juice or worst..and use that for my next road trip to the Joshua Tree.
    It is nice to see some voices of reason here as to why they “choose” to use their cars, at times, and the continual disdain for Muni, one of the poorest run public transit systems in the country.

  35. Posted by ncydr

    I would commute to work via bicycle and by foot MUCH more if I had a garage space. But I have to drive to work avoid weekday and saturdays $62 violations for 2 hour and metered parking.
    There is a sea of empty parking space around my area. SFMTA nevertheless and against neighborhood protest on deaf ears install meters in the guise of avoiding turnover and transit first. What turnover?
    The move is all in the name of filling SFMTA coffers to pay for their poorly managed 1/2 billion dollar budget. Sad.

  36. Posted by pachts

    Where are these reports posted on the Planning Department website? I have looked but have been unable to find them. I wish the editors would post links versus just excerpts if they are available – it would be more educational.

  37. Posted by anon

    @futurist – my rental car of choice right now is a three month old BMW M5 from a place called City Rent-a-Car (on Bush). Took it up to Mendocino this weekend, actually. You can rent basically any car, depending on which company you use, so not sure why you think it must be a crappy car.

  38. Posted by lol

    Rocco,
    Low emission diesel doesn’t mean no particle. The paradox of improved diesel engines is that now they only emit extremely fine particles, which are the ones going deeper into the lung alveoli and therefore harder to get rid of. Some are comparing the effect of these particles to asbestos, with consequences on public health coming after 20 or 30 years. But the effects of the ongoing diesel craze in France are already measurable…
    MoD,
    +1 on RIP Huell Howser. A great lover of all things California. He’ll be sorely missed.

  39. Posted by around1905

    At present, there are no permanent parking spots where the gas station and theatre stand, so even at 0.5 spots/unit in the new development, there will be more garaged cars. The city is not taking away existing garages in peoples homes/apartment buildings, either. So the real issue here is how the city grows.
    A nice side-effect of biasing new construction towards occupants who must use public transit is that, eventually, we will have enough votes to allocate enough money to muni to really fix its myriad problems. If there were political will to do it now, it would happen (bond issue, etc…) but there just isn’t. Only the little people ride muni.
    For now, I ride my bike almost everywhere, except in the pouring rain or when I am exhausted. That said, about once a year or so I am first on the scene of a bike accident and have to use my EM training, so I am not evangelical about bike riding.
    For this building and others coming, a nice compromise might be to allow stackers for as many cars as the developer cares to accomodate. it would then be enough of a pain to get the cars out that folks will probably use muni for short trips, but the car will be there when it is really needed…

  40. Posted by wc1

    We went back and forth about getting a car in spite of the fact we have a garage space.
    We use City Car Share for short trips around town, and rent a car for longer trips. We use MUNI/taxies/Lyft/Uber for everything else.
    It’s still more cost effective in the end than owning a car.

  41. Posted by Toady

    Reduction in parking spots is a disincentive for me to live or spend my money in the city.
    Suck it, Planning Department.

  42. Posted by MomeyMan

    Want to fix muni? Eliminate parking for all muni AND all city employes and elected officials. Require them to take public transportation.

  43. Posted by futurist

    @1905: I agree with some of your comments, but wait!
    You mean that if we were to just throw enough (a lot) of money at Muni, that would fix their “myriad of problems”?
    I disgree. No, it wouldn’t. Not until we reign in the powerful SFMTA unions who support exorbitant salaries and pension plans and who (almost) prevent even a bad employee from being fired. Money will NOT solve those problems.
    The BOS are subservient to the union.

  44. Posted by VancouverJones

    Copenhagen did it. So can we. Vancouver did it. So can we. Ahh, but “fear of the other” and crony capatilism ties up the politcal process and economic resources which would otherwise be used to vastly improve our transportation choices. So the lowly car is nothing more than a proxy for the struggle to democratically improve the built environment (for the benefit of everyone).
    I grew up watching Huell Howser. He will indeed be missed!

  45. Posted by Sidney W.

    @MomeyMan: My thoughts exactly. If stupervisors had to find their own damn parking or ride Muni regularly, there would be huge changes very quickly. City initiative anyone?

  46. Posted by futurist

    From Statistics Canada. com:
    Vancouver is one beautiful, liveable city, I would agree, however:
    Commuters by car: 82%
    Commuters by public transit: 12%
    Commute by bike or walking: 6%

  47. Posted by soccermom

    If we had fewer toilets, people would stop [going to the bathroom so often].

  48. Posted by Laura La Gassa

    I have a parking spot in a condo building — and I don’t drive. I got rid of my car last year because I determined it was cheaper and easier for me to take taxis, public transportation, and use a car-sharing service than it was to actually own, insure, and maintain a car.
    If you want to influence people to use public transit, then keep improving Muni and BART. When it becomes easier — in terms of price, availability, convenience, and cleanliness — for people to use public transit, then people will. Disallowing privately-owned parking spaces in privately-owned buildings is not the answer.

  49. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    MomeyMan wrote:
    > Want to fix muni? Eliminate parking for
    > all muni AND all city employes and elected
    > officials. Require them to take public
    > transportation.
    Great idea…

  50. Posted by around1905

    Futurist:
    Your point is well taken that money isn’t the only problem — one need only recall the recent decision by the BOS to allocate a few million dollars of unexpected funds towards free public transit for low-income youth, instead of using the funds to maintain the decrepit infrastructure. Muni needs both money and sound political oversight (don’t give up, Scott Wiener!).
    The planning department’s goal of preferentially accommodating residents who don’t regularly use cars will hopefully solve both problems — busted muni won’t be tolerated when a larger fraction of the voting public relies on it. It doesn’t take that many more votes to really swing things over.
    Meanwhile — to answer the moderator’s question: when I lived in the Castro, I lived in a flat without parking and got fed up with the street parking situation and got rid of my car (used my bike and taxis and car rentals for weekend stuff, etc…). Then I moved into a flat with a garage and bought a car. I only use it a few times a week, if that, but its a nice luxury. So chalk me up as somebody who, without a garage space, won’t own a car in SF at all.

  51. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    VancouverJones: “Copenhagen did it. So can we.”
    Maybe you should familiarize yourself with what Copenhagen exactly did. All mass transit in Copenhagen is ridiculously expensive, 3-4x the Muni or BART fares. In addition to a huge amount of buses there are 85 local train (S-train) stations and 22 Metro (subway) stations. Quite a different scale than SF but for a city that is smaller.
    On top of that, car prices are 3x, gas prices are more than 2x what we have here and street parking is extremely expensive and scarce, so there’s actually more sticks than carrots in action in Copenhagen. But the vehicles are much newer and cleaner and tend to be on time. Youth gangs (especially of a certain variety I’m probably not permitted to describe here) are increasingly becoming a deterrent, though.
    So what do most people do? They bike. Almost all streets in the city have bike lanes and traffic lights at intersections are optimized so the bikes move faster than cars during rush hour. Oh, and don’t forget that Copenhagen is pancake flat.
    Sound like something the SF bike naz… I mean advocates would like? No way. Traffic and safety violations by cyclists are severely enforced so people stop at red lights and even yield to pedestrians (imagine that in SF? Ha!) You average fixie-riding Missionite anarchist would be bankrupted by tickets in less than a week.
    Anyway, I agree with the implication that SF can learn from overseas cities with superior transit systems, but the devil is always in the details. If we had the Tokyo Metro in the Bay Area I’d cut up my driver license but that ain’t gonna happen.

  52. Posted by futurist

    The BOS and traffic laws have to stop being held hostage by the SF Bike Coalition.

  53. Posted by sfwalker

    During the past 4 years in sf I have bought and sold 2 houses and looked at countless others. I have determined that the price of offstreet parking is approx 3-400K. I would think that the city would try to encourage more private parking as it would increase tax revenues. I can’t imagine coming home late on sunday night in the rain and trying to find a space, and i would certainly not buy any real estate that did not have any parking. That said I walk nearly everywhere in town and seldom take muni. I think that most people I see or know are fit enought to walk where they need to go, although they seem amazed that I would do so with regularity.

  54. Posted by Michael

    I have a garaged car, but take a bus to work. I use the car a couple times a week, mostly to get groceries or out of town trips. I can’t imagine dealing with street parking here – too much hassle. When I was looking for a place to buy I didn’t even consider anything without parking, both for my own sanity and for resale.

  55. Posted by lol

    futurist, if you do not approve of the current priority given to bicycle transit, then join a car driver coalition and make yourself heard. But I think you’ll be more passéist than futurist.

  56. Posted by Rillion

    I have a car parked in a ‘garage’ (its actually an outdoor spot but off-street) and one that is parked on the street. I drive the one that is parked on the street way more. Primarily because we keep a car cover on the one that is in the outdoor off-street space so it is easier and quicker to drive the one parked on the street. The car in the off-street space is newer and is primarily used for when I need to drive for work or I go up to the mountains (its my subaru so the AWD is nice in the winter). The other is an older toyota which is our “city” car (a couple dents, dings, and lots of patch scratches).
    I am supportive of reduced parking requirements in order to reduce the number of cars in the city. I am a living example of how the availability of parking increases the number of cars in the city. We only had one car when we lived where we did not have a parking space. After we bought a place that had a deeded off-street parking space we bought a new car without trading or selling in our old one. We would not have done that if we had to park both of them out on the street.
    75% of my trips out of the house are carless though as I prefer walking or taking MUNI.

  57. Posted by spencer

    my experience.. i have lived in SF for 20 yrs and always with a car. it is a very car-friendly city in many ways. For 10 yrs, i had no parking garage and found myself driving a lot more, as i needed to move my car frequently. Now, as a garaged parker, i use only for groceries, across town trips or out of town trips. I commute out of the city sometimes for work. In the city, for local trips, I always use my bike or walk. Muni takes way too long for anything. i would rather walk 20 blks than take the bus. I do think garaged parking would limit local congestion.
    a lot of good comments here. i noticed the below comment which is very valid.
    “What “degrades the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists” are local residents circling the block multiple times looking for street parking because their condo or apartment doesn’t have a space.”
    i think the lack of parking increases local congestion for this very reason.
    also, going to repeat my post from the sanchez thread, which turned into a parking thread. for those on that thread, you can just skip it..
    “Traffic is very very light in San Francisco. There is barely traffic. DO i like that? yes. love it. I have a parking garage and am a homeowner. I can get anywhere in the city in my car in less than 20 minutes. Transit in SF sucks. Does it suck because there is too much car traffic? NO. It sucks because of poor planning and investment, and I don’t see it changing for at least 10 yrs.
    Yet, while traffic is light, parking is very bad. When I want to travel to visit a local business, I always drive because transit is terrible. Can i park? mostly, but it takes a long time. I ahve however, turned around and gone home on occassion. Who loses out? Local business. Why only local business? Because huge chains like safeway and costco and whole foods offer parking. local stores are subject to parking availability.
    I am in favor of parking meters and market based pricing so I can actually park.
    In summary, it looks like transit will suck for at least a decade, there is little traffic and congestion in SF (except during critical mass), yet parking is very scarce.
    If congestion were an issue, I would be all for severely limiting parking. But since there is little congestion and using a car take 1/3 of the time as transit, people continue to use cars. And I would guess (realizing i don’t have the stats) that the vast majority of homeowners are going to have a car whether or not they own a parking spot.
    I would still like to see the metric on number of homeowners without a car.
    By the way, i get the point on developers not wanting to add parking if they don’t have to. Of course it makes economic sense for them. But i think the city should mandate more parking in new condos due to the above issues.

  58. Posted by futurist

    Again, I agree with Spencer. My situation is very similar and I also walk a lot. Using Muni is a rare occasion because of the inconsistency, slowness, filthiness and often times crazy people, or ill mannered thugs.
    And again, I would prefer 1:1 off street parking for ALL new condos and rental properties being built today.

  59. Posted by anon

    Curious where all of you folks who never have to deal with congestion live. I’m in Hayes Valley, where we’re absolutely drowning in it. Took me 35 minutes to get from Octavia/Oak to the Inner Sunset a couple days ago when I had a rental car. Every time I rent I spend an hour getting out of SF and quickly realize again how much I despise driving.

  60. Posted by spencer

    anon said..”Took me 35 minutes to get from Octavia/Oak to the Inner Sunset a couple days ago when I had a rental car”
    i take fell all the time, and msotly during rush houw. it takes 5 minutes from hayes valley to inner sunset during a normal time and 10 to 15 tops during rush hour.
    did you get lost? i can get out of SF on the north and south in less than 15 mintues. going east is an issue due to bay bridge but what you are saying is incongruous with my experience driving here. and i agree that in the past 20 years, the traffic has not gotten worse.

  61. Posted by futurist

    Ok, to be fair to anon: (I can’t believe I said that).
    Rush hour times in the morning and at night, esp Friday nites can be a bit rough on certain routes.And yes, Hayes Valley can be pretty congested, thanks to the Fell/Octavia/Market St. connections.
    However, I can drive during day easily from Noe Valley to Fort Mason in the Marina in 20 minutes.
    And, to echo Spencer, having lived here 35 years, I see no essential difference in traffic in The City.
    But Muni is definitely worse.

  62. Posted by Rillion

    I guess I am in the minority on this board in not hating MUNI. I ride MUNI almost every day as I use it to get to work downtown. It does a really good job of getting people downtown and back on weekdays.
    I guess it is just me that doesn’t mind occassionally having to spend a few minutes each month in the company of the infrequent crazy/smelling/obnoxious person. I really do not mind that I do not have a little bubble of perfectness around me all the time.
    The adoption of the nextbus gps tracking on the buses has greatly improved the usability of MUNI. I no longer have to spend 20-30 minutes standing at a stop wondering when or even if a bus is going to arrive. Before leaving the house I will check when the bus is due to arrive at the nearest stop.
    The number of times I have had a negative interaction with a driver is tiny compared to the number of trips I take on the system.
    Biggest complaint is that there are not enough 38L’s during the morning rush hours.
    Overall MUNI is a tremendous bargin for me coming in at less then $45 a month after the tax advantages (since I get to buy my monthly pass with pre-tax dollars).

  63. Posted by anon

    @spencer,futurist – nope, didn’t get lost. Just the usual crappy mess of people double-parking and blocking intersections after lights change. Your numbers for getting around seem drastically suspect for me, but I would guess that you just don’t notice how long it takes much of the time.
    If you truly believe that traffic is the same today as it was in 1980, then I would think that you would be praising planning’s policies. How many cities can you add 135,000 people (!) in population and not notice a difference in auto traffic? Only cities that have successfully implemented policies to curtail auto use, I’d assume.

  64. Posted by NoCar

    I cannot answer the survey because I have never owned a car since moving to SF in early 1975 (and I raised a child here without one, to those who believe that’s impossible!).
    However, I notice that a number of people mentioned the efforts made in Paris since Delanoë came to office. Yes, those efforts (mostly reduction of both traffic lanes open to private vehicles and parking) have been relentless and are on-going. But they seem to be working. At least the French press has reported a 25% reduction in vehicle traffic in Paris in 10 years. Although this data came from the mayor’s office and I have no idea how to verify it, it seems reasonable to me. (I lived in Paris from 2006 through 2010 and rode my bike everywhere in the city regularly.) Of course, French drivers have complained but Delanoë has ignored them and persevered–and the citizens of the city are better off for it!
    I admit Paris has a formidable mass transit system which will never in my lifetime be replicated here. However, I think Americans will never put more money into mass transit until they start putting a lot less money into private vehicle ownership. They will not dedicate money to mass transit until they feel they have no choice. So it seems the only things that work are making it as expensive and inconvenient as possible to own and use a private vehicle in the city. Eventually, if the traffic is gridlocked and there is no place to park, people will get out of them. And then they will get interested in supporting mass transit. And to those who think more money is not the answer, get real. Paris has 14 metro lines crisscrossing a city that is slightly smaller than SF with long trains running as frequently as every 1-1/2 minutes on many of those lines during the commute periods. Even on Sundays and late at night a 10 minute wait for a metro is considered very long. Add to that the buses running on the surface everywhere and now the tramway around most of the peripherique. MUNI’s budget wouldn’t even come close to touching a system like that.
    If our goal is to reduce private vehicle traffic in the city limiting parking seems to be one of many things we need to do.

  65. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    You can’t possibly compare Paris’ Metro to our hilariously underperforming Muni system. And “transit” on the Peninsula and in Marin is nonexistent except for once-per-HOUR Caltrain and a few buses grinding up and down El Camino Real.
    Once-per-hour train service is good enough for a remote village in the Alps, not the suburbs of a major metropolitan area with millions of residents.
    Then again, SF may not actually be the major metropolitan area it wishes it was.
    “Make SF like Paris” is not a viable answer. We need parking and cars because the government has provided no viable alternative (and it IS their job to do that).

  66. Posted by spencer

    anon said “Your numbers for getting around seem drastically suspect for me, but I would guess that you just don’t notice how long it takes much of the time.”
    i notice how long it takes. I am incredibly impatient and track my time religously. I get from south san francisco to pac heights 3x week and always take fell. It takes me 35 minutes on average from south city (oyster point exit) to get to west pac hts.
    as part of that i travel though hayes valley to stanyan. that is about 5 minutes of my trip.
    you can walk from hayes valley to inner sunset in less than 35 minutes. how do you really expect anyone to beleive it took you 35 minutes to drive 2 – 2.5 miles
    there is also a thing called “google”. you can map directions that show you how long it takes to get from point A to Point B. I just googled the drive time from Fell and buchanan to 7th and irving. Right now, in the height of rush hour (5:05PM), it says 9 minutes(in current traffic). You can argue with me, but not with “the google”
    just to show you how wrong you are, also using “the google” you can get from A T &T park to 7th and Irving in 23 mintues right now (in current traffic). on average that only takes 18 minutes

  67. Posted by spencer

    now that you ahve me going, you can go from A T & T park all the way to the cliff house, right now, in rush hour, in 34 minutes.
    you must drive very slowly

  68. Posted by Willow

    anon: 35 minutes from Hayes Valley to Inner Sunset? That’s all of 2-3 miles. There are so many different ways to get there. Surely you jest?

  69. Posted by futurist

    Anon is just trying to bait us.
    I too pay attention to my drive time. I have checked my drive time from Noe to Fort Mason several times on my Nav system in my car: approximately 6.4 miles from my house: approx. 20-24 minutes drive time.
    And how in hell does it take anon 35 minutes to go maybe 3-4 miles?
    So there.

  70. Posted by not my real name

    On-street parking causes congestion, off-street parking does not. Fact.
    Now why on Earth would the city deliberately cause a shortage in off-street parking? Let the developers add as much parking as they want and then remove an on-street space for every off-street space that’s offered as timed public parking. I guarantee you, traffic will flow better, cyclists will be happy because there’s room for bike lanes and pedestrians will be happy because the cyclists can stay the hell off the sidewalks.
    Oh right, if we do it that way the Politbüro a.k.a. Board of Supervisors can’t control the price of parking. The market will decide. And they won’t be cashing in on the congestion they artificially created.
    There’s a good solution to every problem. And you can rest assured that it will never be the solution that’s implemented by the Politbüro.

  71. Posted by Willow

    soccermom: Your comment @ 2:30 is the best thus far this year. It deserves its own posting!

  72. Posted by NoCar

    @Jimmy
    I’m not interested in arguing with you but it would appear that you didn’t read more than the first few sentences of my post. I never suggested we should try to make SF like Paris (believe me, that’s impossible) nor did I compare the Paris metro to MUNI. My post was strictly that reducing parking and traffic lanes do appear to be things that work to reduce driving of private vehicles.
    I would take exception to your comment however that we need cars and parking because the government is not providing us a viable option. The government provides us what we are willing to pay for. It may be a little naive but in reality voters do set the priorities (and allowing others with big bucks to set them for us is our own collective fault). If we want dynamite mass transit in lieu of private vehicles and we are willing to pay for it, the government will provide it.

  73. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “We need parking and cars because the government has provided no viable alternative”
    No viable alternative has been provided because the government has invested in such a lavish auto transport infrastructure.
    … and then we go round and round until the whole thing seizes up due to the intrinsic limitations of an auto based system. By then it is too late to fix things because we’ve already misinvested the billions needed to construct a proper public transport system and instead created a huge distributed white elephant of parking garages, freeways, and sprawl.
    Visionary leaders are trying to steer us away from an economy collapsing failure of our transportation system. As they make small changes like reducing parking maximums, Sunday meters, or bike infrastructure people complain about minor irritations.
    This is a big deal. Bigger than what you want today and right now.

  74. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    I’d gladly take a functional mass transit system like Paris, or London, or even Sydney or New York. But instead we are headed for Bangkok — one neat-o train and total gridlock 24/7.
    Did we vote for that? Not really. I’ve never seen a ballot initiative for a New York style subway system in the Bay Area. Even if it cost a hundred billion dollars, it would probably be money better spent than the hundred billion dollar train-to-nowhere.

  75. Posted by Lancette

    My main means of transportation in the city is my bicycle. I walk to do errands in my neighborhood but ride my bike everywhere else, day or night, when it is not raining. If it rains I replace those bike trips with walking and/or taking Muni. I have a car which I use once a month to go to different supermarkets to purchase all the non-perishable items that I need for about a month. I consider myself lucky because I park the car in a garage and don’t have to worry about it.

  76. Posted by grumpy

    Did muni ever restore the Valencia bus route, the one that was terminated for the sake of efficiency a few years back?

  77. Posted by futurist

    @ MOD:
    I’m convinced now that you are probably the biggest contributor of fear mongering, and negative projections here:
    1. The “lavish auto transport infrastructure” works to connect our entire nation from coast to coast. Why is that a problem?
    2. When is the “whole thing” going to seize up? and how?
    3. The “white elephant of parking garages, freeways and sprawl”..? Really? A white elephant? Where are all the parking garages in The City? If you hate sprawl so much, how about we close down ALL the suburbs and force them into SF? Then you’ll see density and gridlock.
    4. What the hell is an “economy collapsing failure of our transportation system”?
    Jeezus. Talk about a drama queen.

  78. Posted by Dan

    No Valencia bus. The 14 and 49 are just a couple blocks over at Mission. But with all of the private buses to Silicon Valley, there are more buses than ever driving down Valencia.

  79. Posted by Mark

    It’s really great to read comments from people who use their cars so infrequently, but won’t consider a car share program instead. Makes me wonder.
    As for the “I bike” people…that’s great. I applaud you and shower you with praise (but only if you abide by the traffic laws, which of course, few do). However, don’t assume everyone in the Bay Area fits your lifestyle and demographic. Try transporting two kids to school from the Sunset to the Marina every day on bikes, or juggling a couple packed bus lines. It’s a bit different than riding your bike from your hipster pad in the Mission to your cool tech job in SOMA, or walking to BART for an 8-minute ride to the Financial District. Getting back to choices…some have fewer choices than others.

  80. Posted by asiagoSF

    Tokyo, with 12x the population of SF and a world-class subway system that makes car-less life possible even for families with kids, imposes MINIMUM parking ratios to developers. Not MAXIMUM as in SF. That is the insanity we are really facing in our fair city.

  81. Posted by Garaged in SOMA

    The ultimate solution to driving and parking problems is to adopt extremely stringent drivers licensing requirements, to make driving truly a privilege and not the right it has become. You wouldn’t want someone with no education, experience or expertise performing surgery on you would you? So why do we allow inept, incapable people to mis-handle huge lethal machines in public? It’s just wrong––and it is the root of all traffic problems.

  82. Posted by anon

    @asiagoSF – source?
    To others, I see no one responded to this:
    If you truly believe that traffic is the same today as it was in 1980, then I would think that you would be praising planning’s policies. How many cities can you add 135,000 people (!) in population and not notice a difference in auto traffic? Only cities that have successfully implemented policies to curtail auto use, I’d assume.

  83. Posted by Alai

    I have determined that the price of offstreet parking is approx 3-400K. I would think that the city would try to encourage more private parking as it would increase tax revenues. I can’t imagine coming home late on sunday night in the rain and trying to find a space, and i would certainly not buy any real estate that did not have any parking. That said I walk nearly everywhere in town and seldom take muni.
    This is the key. “Increase tax revenues”? In other words, “make housing expensive and unaffordable” (and tax revenues would still be increased if that garage were a studio apartment instead, without having to sacrifice affordability). If having a garage allows you to keep your car parked so you can walk everywhere, that’s great, but it’s a heck of a price to pay for a bi-monthly costco run, especially with carshare as an alternative. Choice is great– but mandated parking is the opposite of choice.

  84. Posted by David

    I live in an upmarket condo building in the Mission that has around 25 parking spaces in the basement level. On an average weekday, during the day or at the evening, there are around 20 cars in their spaces. On an average weekend day there are maybe 15 cars in their spaces. On a long weekend or holiday period, there might be only 10 cars in their spaces. The sense I get is that most people don’t use their cars to get to work, or even on evenings very often. Most people use their cars the way I do — a couple times a month to drive to Tahoe, Stinson Beach, or Big Sur.

  85. Posted by Observer

    Couple of comments here:
    As many folks have said if MUNI was more reliable and focused on delivering a transport service then I would be happy to ignore the parking spots at both ends of my 1.2 mile Embarcadero ‘commute’ and take MUNI. But I challenge anyone to sign up for a daily commute on MUNI that requires you to use the MUNI Elevator at the Embarcadero MUNI station with a kid in a stroller.
    On another point, the building I live in has 200 parking spaces and on most weekdays the majority of cars 75-80% are not used, which shows that for many folks there are valid daily commuting options that work that do not involve a car or the need for a parking spot. But clearly a car parking spot remains something that folks are very comfortable filling once they have one.

  86. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    Condos that include parking spaces trade at a premium. The difference in a place like the Mission is easily $75K. That’s $900 extra *per unit per year* of Property Tax revenue that the city is sacrificing on the altar of an unrealistic “transit first” illusion and a totally unsubstantiated assumption of cause and effect. Money that could be spent on schools or perhaps some effective means of easing traffic congestion in the few spots where it actually occurs.
    I find that outrageous and infuriating. Vote these incompetent clowns out.

  87. Posted by lol

    I agree with MoD that we need to pop the car-centric bubble many people live in. We need massive improvements in public transportation. Cars must not be the only choice.
    PS: MoD is not a fear-monger nor a drama queen. These qualifiers do not belong in a civil discussion.

  88. Posted by curmudgeon

    formidable…I’ve said this before, but if you put those parking spots in the basement and minimize curb cuts, I won’t argue too much against your point.
    Personally, I think the real issue is more about urban design than traffic congestion. Several people have made the anecdotal point that many cars remain “housed” during peak commute periods, so aren’t contributing to congestion. It’s incredibly irrational to own a car ONLY for the occasional trip to Tahoe or Costco….but face it, many of us are irrational and we love that feeling of freedom.
    On a related note, I would love to see some analysis of the market value of units with parking, with stacked parking, and without parking…and also the value of units & parking in cases where they are “unbundled”. We’ve got enough large condo developments now with varying parking regimes that I would think we could begin to draw some conclusions. The old orthodoxy was that you couldn’t finance and/or sell a condo without parking. I don’t think that’s true anymore.

  89. Posted by spencer

    “The old orthodoxy was that you couldn’t finance and/or sell a condo without parking. I don’t think that’s true anymore.”
    I agree with this, but a lot of those people buying condos without parking WILL have cars anyway and add to the off-street parking and congestion mess of continually driving around at 5MPH looking for parking. if people have spaces and park their cars with only occassional use, this will ease congestion.
    We don’t have a congestion problem with traffic at this point, but we will if we continually limit condo parking.
    I would still like to know the % of homeowners in SF without a car. I know there are a lot of renters without a car, but it would be good to get those stats on homeowners. What would be really telling (but i’m sre there are no stats on this) is how many homeowners without garaged parking actually have a car. My guess is its high, but I don’t have real data to back it up. I do have anecdotal data based on a small sample size of friends, co-workers and acquantances. of those, I don’t know any homeowners without a car. I know there are some, but i don’t know any. i do, however, know a lot with 2 cars

  90. Posted by pvc

    Regarding the parking premium and associated foregone taxes to the city, it’s arguable that the premium exists only because there is such a scarcity of adequate parking in the city. If ample parking were (or became) the norm, this premium would likely disappear. You’d then have to frame it as the occasional “discount” for properties without adequate parking.

  91. Posted by REpornaddict

    “I would still like to know the % of homeowners in SF without a car”
    Yeah, gonna be low. Lets face it, if you can afford to own a home here….
    although, actually, we homeowned without a car for 2-3 years, or so. We were probably very much an outlier though. I basically don’t drive, and managed to persuade other half that we didn’t need one (zipcar,etc..)
    But, once the kid came along…

  92. Posted by anon

    We don’t have a congestion problem with traffic at this point, but we will if we continually limit condo parking.
    Why do you believe this, just curious? You’ve stated that there has been no increase in congestion in 20 years, and futurist stated that there has been no increase in congestion in 35 years, in spite of a population increase of 130,000 people in the last 35 years.
    I find it really hard to swallow that an increase of that many people causes no increase in congestion, but the fact that some new housing is being built without parking (remember, the vast majority of new housing DOES include parking, since the areas that allow less than 1:1 are small, and most of those still have at 0.5:1 or 0.75:1 parking) will lead to higher congestion. Are you expecting hundreds of thousands of new units to be built without parking?

  93. Posted by sparky*b

    As far as whether a garage or street parked car is used more, I find we use them about the same. We have 2 cars one is in the garage and the other is on the street. Both cars are used several times a day during the week. On the weekend we use the garage parked car as it is set up for the kids and you can avoid rain, etc.
    So for me there is no difference in the amount of use. But street parking is super easy where I live, I have a parking permit and street cleaning is only every 2 weeks, so it is not the same as some areas where circling is involved.

  94. Posted by sherri

    I had an appt in Union Square so decided to take the bus this morning. After having the #2 Clement bus not show up at the time it was scheduled to and next one supposedly 35 minutes later, I decided to take my car to make the meeting on time. For this particular line, “phantom buses” happen frequently and more the rule vs exception.
    If Muni were dependable, I would take it more… sadly, as rates go up and service down, this is becoming less of a “go to” option for me.

  95. Posted by conifer

    The city’s current policy on cars is deeply embedded in Marxist economic theory, although only few politicians would admit it and some are not aware of it. Under that theory people receive only what they need, in a long term plan to level the distribution of economic resources. Cars are seen as a luxury, and restricting them helps brings as many people as possible to the same level.
    In an overtly capitalist country like contemporary America, one cannot easily ban privately owned cars, so the next best approach is to make it difficult to own and use. This is accompanied by propaganda such as “transit first” and “transit rich.” Whether these ideas have any truth or meaning is much less important than their constant repetition. In addition, propaganda latches on to environmentalism to which many are sympathetic.
    However, as in every country where economic Marxism has been attempted, there is an elite exempted from the restrictions on the ordinary citizen. In our case, it is the rich (rather than the politburo), who are by far the greatest beneficiaries of the current SF policies on cars. The rich keep their cars and simply pay whatever the cost for garages and parking.
    Those who are most hurt by these policies are the usual victims of Marxism, working and middle class people, forced to use the ineffective, crowded, malodorous and dirty Muni. If they are young and healthy, they can use a bicycle.
    Paris is a poor model for San Francisco. Paris is a small city like San Francisco, but largely self-contained. Paris has an excellent Metro public transport system, cheap and efficient. They are constantly expanding it. There is a relatively new Metro (underground) line to the Bibliotheque Nationale, and an almost brand new light rail tram around the southern arrondissements.
    Paris has not always been governed by the left. Paris has far more public parking garages and spaces than San Francisco.
    As the SF city government becomes more moderate, many of the onerous planning policies will be revised. The development of SOMA and the thousands of new condo owners will change the 1960s “new left” politics of the City.

  96. Posted by anon

    Paris has far more public parking garages and spaces than San Francisco
    On a per capita basis I find this ridiculous to believe, after having lived in both cities. You have a source for this?
    As the SF city government becomes more moderate, many of the onerous planning policies will be revised. The development of SOMA and the thousands of new condo owners will change the 1960s “new left” politics of the City.
    Um, the “new left” 1960s policies of the City were to mandate a minimum of one parking space per unit, regardless of market demand. Hard to see how that is less “Marxist” than restricting the amount of parking built.
    Now, if your idea is to simply eliminate minimums and maximums for parking all over the city, that’s less than ideal IMO, but I could get behind it easier than the current policy of maximums in a very tiny number of areas and still-extant minimums in the vast majority of the city (the entire western half, for example).

  97. Posted by Alai

    Condos that include parking spaces trade at a premium. The difference in a place like the Mission is easily $75K. That’s $900 extra *per unit per year* of Property Tax revenue that the city is sacrificing
    If you didn’t build parking, that space could be used for additional housing, or commercial space– which also generates property tax (and other) revenue, and probably more of it.
    It makes zero sense to make it public policy to make housing more expensive, and less affordable, so the city can collect more money, just to spend it on making housing more affordable. How about some consistency?
    I agree with this, but a lot of those people buying condos without parking WILL have cars anyway and add to the off-street parking and congestion mess of continually driving around at 5MPH looking for parking. if people have spaces and park their cars with only occassional use, this will ease congestion.
    This is the problem it is because street space is limited but is managed as if it’s not. So stop that.

  98. Posted by conifer

    The “new left” was a political movement, international in scope, based on idealistic and unrealistic notions of participatory democracy, largely socialist but without the already apparent horrors of Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism. It was a baby boomer dream, and the boomers woke up, but there are still a few of them in SF politics. The worst, Peskin, Daly, Agnos, are gone.

  99. Posted by futurist

    That Marxist (socialist) theory that Conifer spells out so clearly seems to be religion of many younger, hipsterish, techish people today. As these energetic newly landed residents of our city get older, lose their bicycles, start families and long term relationships, move up the economic ladder (which they ALL want) mark my words:
    When I am ready to sell my house in Noe for top dollar, they will come in droves to my realtor to offer up big money to get their piece of the American dream, including my lovely garage to park their BMW,or Volvo or Prius.

  100. Posted by anon

    I think you vastly overestimate the number of people that nowadays follow anything that could be considered “Marxist”. There is a growing technocratic group who views certain aspects of democratic socialism in a positive light, but not really anything even closely related to the true socialism or Marxism that conifer speaks of, where the state owns the means of production, crops are grown on collective farms, etc.

  101. Posted by NoCar

    Whoever keeps asking about homeowners who don’t have cars (sorry, I’m too lazy to wade through all the posts again to figure out who that is):
    I have been a homeowner in SF since 1989. At no time have I had a car. It’s all about priorities: When I purchased my first house, it was a trade-off between whether I wanted a car or a house, later it was whether I wanted a car or to help my child pay for education, still later it was whether I wanted a car or to save something for retirement. In each of those cases, the car lost out. Now I’m retired and my pension is not nearly enough to maintain a car. I realize I am unusual though. Throughout the years, I can remember only one other homeowner who never had a car either.
    To conifer:
    Not sure how long you’ve been in SF but doesn’t sound as if it’s been very long. The recent policies promoting transit and cycling and concurrently trying to discourage car driving are just that–very recent, like within the last ten years or so. Before that, “transit first” was just a slogan with no actual policies behind it. This new emphasis (which I might add is pretty weak in my opinion) is I believe tied to the environmental movement and the issue of global warming, not some Marxist ideology.

  102. Posted by pvc

    @ Alai – most parking is underground, at least in larger developments. It seems unlikely this space would be used for more housing or commercial space…in fact, there are probably laws that prevent it (no windows, etc).

  103. Posted by Alai

    From each according to his ability (if you’re constructing a new building, you have devote part of your land/building to parking) and to each according to his need (free parking is an entitlement, and any attempt to charge is a fundamental violation of rights).
    Yup, that’s Marxism, all right.

  104. Posted by conifer

    Marxism is a much broader theory than its manifestation in communism or Bolshevism. One can have a piece of Marxism without the Communist, state ownership of means of production.
    One can also on rare occasions give some credit to collectivism where competitive markets do not work. For example, the national rail system in France is superb, while the privatized competitive rail system in England is a failure, but is still better than the national one in Italy.
    Marxism as a theory was the dominant intellectual underpinning of academic sociology and other social sciences for decades. It also influenced the humanities.
    My argument is against Marxist application to private transportation as in SF. I do not think all the proponents are consciously Marxist, but they are motivated by the penetrating effect of that theory on the culture of the left in the western world, even post-Soviet.
    To NoCar; close enough to four decades.

  105. Posted by BobN

    I wish city planners would de-couple their desire that people use their cars less with the tool of restricting car ownership. If you want to reduce driving, reduce driving, not storage.

  106. Posted by Alai

    When I am ready to sell my house in Noe for top dollar, they will come in droves to my realtor to offer up big money to get their piece of the American dream, including my lovely garage to park their BMW,or Volvo or Prius.
    I don’t doubt it. The question is, should it be city policy to mandate that all new housing is designed for people who can afford top dollar and BMWs?

  107. Posted by Guest666

    Interesting discussion on parking. I had no idea people took this issue so seriously.
    IMO, there should be no restrictions (maximum or minimum) on parking for new developments. However, parking should be underground or built in such a way as to minimize the impact on the streetscape. This will obviously make parking more expensive and will likely end up reducing the extent that parking is provided in new projects.

  108. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Back the the original question posed here, it seems as if the answer really depends on the availability of parking at both ends of the journey as well as how well transit connects the endpoints. Each individual case is different.
    Parking is somewhat tight at this location in the Mission, so that factor in the equation tilts towards making driving easier when on-site parking is provided. No big surprise.
    Parking at the other end of the trip is probably easy since most destinations in the city and bay area in general provide better parking than the Mission.
    As for transit access, that again depends in the destination but at least this location provides good BART access and decent Caltrain access especially for those who ride a bike.
    Overall my hunch is that parking is a disincentive to using transit. Someone living here and working in a place where most employers provide parking (like Oracle) would not be deterred by finding parking upon returning home and might drive even though transit connections are pretty good.
    Other residents who worked somewhere with bad transit connections (Presidio for example) would have an even more incentive to drive.
    But a resident who works downtown at an employer who doesn’t provide parking would probably go for transit regardless of whether they owned a parking spot.
    So to some residents having parking is a disincentive to using transit. For other residents it makes no difference at all. In no cases does owning parking create an incentive to use transit. Put it all together and you can conclude that onsite parking *in general* is a disincentive to using transit.

  109. Posted by futurist

    Once again, MOD, I disagree. And for me what you said is patently untrue. I’ll keep it simple.
    Owning or not owning parking, or having access to parking, on site or off, has absolutely nothing to do with “using transit” (your words).
    In SF we have “transit”. In other cities, like London, Paris, New York and Tokyo they have:
    EXCELLENT TRANSIT.

  110. Posted by anon

    Does anyone have an example of a developed world city (a jurisdiction larger than 250,000 let’s say) with no parking requirements? I’d be curious to learn more about such a place.
    From what I’ve been able to gather, most cities in the US have parking minimums everywhere except for some parts of NYC, SF, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, and most recently LA, where parking maximums are in place in some areas.
    Outside the US, every developed city that I’ve looked into has parking maximums, including places that typically rank higher than the US on economic freedom rankings (Singapore, Switzerland, Ireland, etc).
    Anyone know? Or are we all living in countries suffering under oppressive Marxist parking policies?

  111. Posted by lol

    lol @ anon’s
    “oppressive Marxist parking policies”
    Well, developed countries have a way to “oppress” people to get some things to work safely and efficiently.
    If you think having the government is “oppressing” its people by asking you to drive on the pavement and on the right hand side of the road, stop at red lights, have a working set of brakes, not block everyone when parking your car, then I’d suggest Antartica for you. Plenty of room and we will not bother your highness with our lowly needs.

  112. Posted by anon

    I was trying for the lol there, just in case it wasn’t obvious :)

  113. Posted by futurist

    I really had to laugh out loud.
    So I didn’t know there was more than one highness here.
    :)

  114. Posted by anon

    The ridiculous usage of terms like “Marxism” and “Nazism” to refer to rather mundane policy issues in modern-world democracies that have no resemblance to actual Marxist thought is a pet peeve of mine, so I like to poke as much fun as it as possible whenever anyone drops them in a serious conversation.

  115. Posted by MuniSucks

    ” Under that theory people receive only what they need, in a long term plan to level the distribution of economic resources. Cars are seen as a luxury, and restricting them helps bring as many people as possible to the same level.”
    How is Conifer wrong in this statement since it is EXACTLY what people are trying to do regarding parking policy? What I most enjoy is how many of the “new parking space haters” own cars themselves but protest that they only use them on weekends.

  116. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    futurist wrote:

    When I am ready to sell my house in Noe for top dollar, they will come in droves to my realtor to offer up big money to get their piece of the American dream, including my lovely garage to park their BMW,or Volvo or Prius.

    Okay.
    If that’s the case, then it’s in your economic self-interest for more developments to be produced without minimum parking, just as I wrote in the other thread, to which you replied “huh?”
    Glad we’re in agreement. Now you can stop trolling every thread and saying new residential development projects “need more parking.”

  117. Posted by anon

    How is Conifer wrong in this statement since it is EXACTLY what people are trying to do regarding parking policy? What I most enjoy is how many of the “new parking space haters” own cars themselves but protest that they only use them on weekends.
    He’s not wrong in the strictest sense. He’s simply wrong in that only the folks looking to restrict parking are the ones guilty of Marxist parking policies. In most of the city, the city mandates the building of at least one parking space per unit, meaning that the city has determined that ALL people in those areas must have at least one parking space regardless of whether they want one or not.
    Marxist policies in the Soviet Union, for example, were equally guilty of not providing as much food as the market would have provided, and also of providing many more tanks and bombers than the market would have provided.
    In SF (and most other American cities), we don’t trust the market to provide the appropriate amount of parking, and instead resort to Marxist policies that require the massive overproduction of parking spaces, to ensure that each, according to their needs, may never go without a free parking space, regardless of how that distorts the rest of the market.

  118. Posted by lol

    Dunno if they need more parking, but they could always use more cow bells.

  119. Posted by futurist

    Actually, Brahma: I want every new project to have parking included. Yes, that does increase the cost of the unit (or house) but there will ALWAYS be plenty of buyers in SF who can afford to pay.
    This is, and I suspect, shall remain a city where people DESIRE to live here. That’s a good thing for our economy, our incubator for new ideas and tech, and our livability.
    With desire comes higher cost. And housing with parking will always sell for more. A good thing all around and keeps more cars off the streets circling for the limited amount of free curbside parking.

  120. Posted by Toady

    As long as San Francisco continues its usual anti-business policies, people will still need their cars to drive to jobs on the peninsula.
    Caltrain is designed to funnel people from the suburbs to San Francisco, not the other way around. And only big companies have those shuttles. Now that progressives have finally made SF a bedroom community to where the real economy is in the Bay Area, the need for a car is growing, not shrinking.

  121. Posted by curmudgeon

    Toady, you’re joking, right? This is the City that has been attracting social media hq’s like a moth to a flame. This is a City that is bending over backwards to make sure folks like Twitter stay in the City. We’ve got a moderate Board of Supes, and a pro-business Mayor.
    I think you got lost somewhere in the Chris Daly years.

  122. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    futurist – Sorry about the wordy comment, maybe you missed the core nugget which was: “In no cases does owning parking create an incentive to use transit.”.
    So if owning parking can either create a disincentive to use transit or have no effect at all, then the net effect is that owners of parking have a disincentive to use transit compared to their peers who do not own parking.
    Arithmetically speaking if you add up a bunch of nonpositive numbers (i.e. either disincentive or no effect) then the result can never be positive.
    —————————-
    Toady sez : “Caltrain is designed to funnel people from the suburbs to San Francisco, not the other way around.”
    Well if you replace “designed” with “originally intended” I’d agree. But it turns out that rail systems and any transport system in general work just as good to take people from A to B as it does from B to A. In fact they’re most efficient when there’s a balance of riders in both directions at the same time. Unbalanced systems end up sending empty trains/buses down the return trip to pick up the next load which costs the operator without earning revenue.
    These days Caltrain is pretty well balanced in both north and south directions and that’s a good thing.
    (BTW – The same bidirectional balance concept also applies to freeways)

  123. Posted by futurist

    We may not be in the “Chris Daly” years, but SF is still very hard to do business in; build a project, a restaurant, store, remodel your house.
    Witness the 8 Washington St. project stalled. Witness the Pagoda Theater still boarded up in N. Beach after 15 years. Among other projects.
    I would also ask: Why aren’t the other big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and others building their primary headquarters here in downtown SF? Think of the revenue the possibilities if they did.

  124. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Q: I would also ask: Why aren’t the other big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and others building their primary headquarters here in downtown SF?
    A: Because their employee base is centered in the South Bay.

  125. Posted by anon

    Why aren’t the other big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and others building their primary headquarters here in downtown SF? Think of the revenue the possibilities if they did.
    Because they’re headquartered in the South Bay? Why in the world would they move? It’s new companies that we want to cater to, so that they grow here in the first place and don’t leave. We shouldn’t be trying to poach companies that started in other places.

  126. Posted by Toady

    No I’m not joking. Really, how many jobs is social media providing in the city? I’d say that one company in Menlo Park dwarfs the entire social media employment base in South of Market. Add the folks focusing on competing with them in Mountain View, and its game over.
    As for Caltrain being effective in funneling folks down to the South Bay – nope. There’s a lack of transit support from VTA and Samtrans to get people between their offices and the Caltrain stations. And there’s insufficient density in the peninsula and South Bay to support such a transit network.
    San Francisco just isn’t the economic hub of this region anymore.

  127. Posted by anon

    ^Who cares? Downtown SF is the largest concentration of jobs in the region, SF’s median income, and SF’s total GDP-equivalent continue rising. I don’t particularly have “Silicon Valley-envy” like some other folks do here.

  128. Posted by Stucco_Sux

    Can’t we just storm the Planning offices with pitchforks and torches, like the bedraggled villagers did in the original B & W Frankenstein movie?
    I would bet after like three smokey minutes this tiny, distorted pale little half creature like Gollum would waddle out, slither into his rusted out 1986 unregistered Chevy Astro with missing rims and roll away for good… never to burden our fair city with this malarky ever again.

  129. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Toady – How do you figure that VTA and Samtrans impede southbound Caltrain commuters but not the northbound?

  130. Posted by PaloAlto

    “San Francisco just isn’t the economic hub of this region anymore. ”
    Toady is right and this should not be a surprise to anyone. The Bay Area is a multi-center sprawling urban region that is vastly different from the urban regions some love to compare us to such as NYC and Chicago.

  131. Posted by spencer

    “San Francisco just isn’t the economic hub of this region anymore. ”
    I agree with this too. Most of the folks i know who work at google, apple, facebook and genentech who are under 40years old and without school age children actually live in SF and commute to these places. Those descriptors may limit the demographic, but i would contend that 25% of all of these employees live in SF. most people at these companies are under 40 without school age children.
    There have been a couple of mentions about the big company buses. Most of those same folks who take the buses also own cars. they need a place to store them for use on the weekend and a garge is a better place than off-street parking to ease congestion.
    The buses are maybe better than all those cars on the road, but they cause their own problem. massive buses going through neighborhood streets really suck. I hope the city is getting some revenue from those bus services cloggin the streets and using the bus lanes that were made for MUNI.

  132. Posted by Toady

    “How do you figure that VTA and Samtrans impede southbound Caltrain commuters but not the northbound?”
    It’s called…
    Parking.
    Ever wonder what that monstrosity is across the freeway from SFO in Millbrae? Even the little stations like Burlingame and California Avenue have parking.
    It’s the same as BART, where there’s ample parking in the East Bay and none in the city.

  133. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Toady – Southbound commuters have free shuttle buses between the station and office parks. They’re synchronized with the rush hour express trains.

  134. Posted by anonanon

    @MOD
    “Toady – Southbound commuters have free shuttle buses between the station and office parks. They’re synchronized with the rush hour express trains.”
    High-tech workers in Silicon Valley are, in my experience, much less likely to be on a 9-to-5 schedule that would work well with the shuttle buses and express trains than office workers in FiDi. If you are talking about high-end software engineers, they have traditionally decided their own work hours and more often than not, those hours would not have been a good fit for the window when the express trains and shuttles run. And if you you’re outside the rush-hour slots when there are express trains and shuttles, fuggedaboutit.

  135. Posted by Dan Clark

    This is a bit OT, but seeing all the opinions and ideas on street parking reminded me of a recent Ig Noble prize winner. Arturas zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, won the Ig Noble 2011 Peace Prize for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars in his city could be solved by running them over with an armored tank. Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-fWN0FmcIU

  136. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: San Francisco’s Planning Commission approved the development of 2558 Mission last night with the reduced number of parking spots, to which Commissioner Antonini dissented.

  137. Posted by CalHousingBull

    Marin county tried a similar approach. Refused bart, refused to build / approve infrastructure and thought it would reduce congestion and growth (in the 80’s). Guess what — it didn’t work. Had just as much population % growth as most other areas in the bay area and in return lacked proper infrastructure to handle the increased growth. If you go to Marin today, traffic is much worse than 10 years ago and often worse than SF traffic in places such as Mill Valley. So I think there is evidence that limiting infrastructure does not work — what does is improving infrastructure for all forms of transit.
    First, we need better public transit. — improve Muni management, get salaries and pensions in line with skill / education required to work at muni and spend the savings on more buses more lines.
    Second why not approve more parking, tax it to be built and take the money to improve mass transit.
    Third, great ideas on encouraging private parking and in return expanding sidewalks / public transit lanes.
    While I’d love to believe SF is as easy as NYC in terms of public transit, it is simply not true. Also the points about needing a car for out of town trips is true. Until we get car sharing expanded (or self driving cars that would allow car sharing to drive a car to you when you need it), we will have more and more cars — even if planning reduces parking spaces. So we can limit parking, increase traffic for those looking for parking, hurt merchants as more people elect to do errands out of SF — or we can get realistic and improve Muni, expand mass transit, improve parking and even consider taxing new parking spots.

  138. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    anonanon – I agree that in general high tech folks tend to arrive in the office late. I should know since I’m in that biz and used to be one of those late arrivals.
    But now that I take Caltrain I shifted my work schedule to take advantage of the express trains. I’m in the office 1-2 hours earlier which has the extra benefit of allowing me to converse with my European colleagues from my office. Plus I get first dibs on the doughnuts :-)
    My local colleagues who drive arrive late not because it is the lifestyle but rather they’re simply avoiding rush hour freeway traffic jams.
    Strange isn’t it? Rush hour is kind to Caltrain riders but cruel to motorists.

  139. Posted by Toady

    anonanon nails it. I too am in high tech and those shuttles suck, not to mention that MUNI can’t get anyone to the SF Caltrain station in a reasonable time.
    Even with traffic, MUNI+Caltrain+Shuttle takes at least 1.25x (if not 2x) longer. And they keep increasing the pricing of such crappy service. It’s the death spiral of transit in this area. Unfortunately it just can’t work with the low density of the Bay Area.
    Wonder why it doesn’t work? There you go.
    You want good transit? Support densifying the Bay Area. Otherwise it’s going to continue to be a joke.

  140. Posted by Toady

    (and that includes San Francisco. SF, with its NIMBY ossification, will never be dense enough for MUNI to be effective. The corruption and giving the union blowjobs is just icing on the sh*tcake)

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