The decidedly pro-car and parking ballot measure known as “Restoring Transportation Balance in San Francisco” has qualified for the November ballot.

If passed, the measure would seek to ensure that the City “equally enforce(s) traffic laws for all users of San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks” and would establish the following as official City policy:

  • Parking meters should not operate on Sundays, legal holidays, or outside the hours of 9am to 6pm.  And starting on July 1, 2015, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority should freeze fees for City-owned parking garages, meters, parking tickets and neighborhood parking permits for five years
  • The City should not install any additional parking meters or parking meters with demand-responsive pricing in any neighborhood, unless a majority of households and businesses in that neighborhood have signed a petition supporting the changes
  • SFMTA should use a portion of funds generated by new parking, vehicle-related fees, or the sale of bonds for SFMTA purposes, to construct and operate neighborhood parking garages
  • The goal of any proposed re-engineering of traffic flows by the City should be to achieve safer, smoother-flowing streets, and
  • SFMTA’s Board of Directors should include a fair representation of all transportation stakeholders, including motorists, and SFMTA should create a Motorists’ Citizens Advisory Committee

While the policy would be non-binding, passage of the measure would establish a clear basis for public push-back or legal challenges of actions by the City which run counter to “the will of the people.”

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by BigV

    this is the dumbest backwards looking ballot measure ever. The 1950′s are calling and they want their parking spot back!

  2. Posted by Mike C.

    F*ck this. I moved here specifically because I *hate* driving and wanted to live in a walkable city with decent public transit. I was happy to get rid of my car when I moved here. This makes me very sad.

    • Posted by FormerlyIncensedDriver

      Me too, problem is the streets aren’t safely “walkable” in many areas due to the lack of proper planning and an aggressive “punish drivers by making everything harder for them” policy. Also, public transportation here sux. in essence, we get nothing but continued fighting between opposing interests…

    • Posted by Almond Moore

      Some people need cars here in the city. It’s really nice that many people don’t drive. However for those who do the costs are out rages. I had lover who used visit me from the North bay. Every time he visited even on Sunday’s he would receive a ticket. The only other option was to pay a ridiculously high amount to a parking ramp. This ballot measure would make it just a bit better for those who do have cars. I’m all for it!

  3. Posted by anon

    Improving traffic flow for cars also improves traffic flow for busses.
    Our busses travel at the same speed of a brisk walk because our city planners think cars are evil.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Agree. It’s startling to Google directions, and find that taking a bus from, say, the inner Richmond to Castro is only about 10 minutes faster than simply walking.

      Kinda funny that the petition calls for parking fees to go for the construction of neighborhood garages… and then freezes those fees for 5 years!

      • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

        I tried this trip on Google Map. From the Richmond library It is 32 minutes by bus or 1 hours and 4 minutes to walk 3.1 miles. But this is high depend on your trip. Bus 33 snake through the hills so it is rather slow. If you are on transit corridor bus work much better. For trips under 1 mile you are often better off walking.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          Right, it varies by location of course. I live near Park Presidio – right now Google’s showing 55 minutes to walk, 35 to bus. But we walk at a pretty good clip, <18 minute mile, and you can shave a few minutes by cutting along Buena Vista Park.

    • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

      What does bus speed have to do “city planner considering cars are evil”?

      • Posted by anon

        City planners take measures to “calm” traffic, which basically means “if we make it more difficult to drive here, then fewer people choose to do so”. They do this out of the hypothesis that cars are inherently detrimental to city life, aka “evil”.
        The irony is all that traffic calming slows down busses too.
        Don’t get me started about the intentional un-timing of the stop lights on some streets…

        • Posted by Ummmm

          Ummm, not exactly. Calming traffic is about slowing traffic down so that one user – drivers – don’t have a disproportionate differential in the speed of the other modes. Valencia street is easy to drive on. Set your speed at 14 mph and never hit a red light.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            First, so I’m supposed to be happy going 14 m.p.h. even on a major boulevard where the speed limit’s 25?

            And more generally (even if your answer is “yes, of course” – see above and below re: average Muni speeds. If it takes going 14 m.p.h. to go through the lights generally… and then you add in bus stops ever 2 blocks – suddenly the bus becomes an exercise in futility.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            Sierrajeff,

            What bus do you take on Valencia that would be slowed down by the 14MPH traffic? You’re confusing Valencia with Mission Street which doesn’t have the 14MPH limitation.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            14MPH on a street with a 25MPH limit is pretty good. Remember that’s an average speed including time waiting at stop lights, acceleration, deceleration, and random waits for pedestrians.

        • Posted by bus rider

          Calm(er) traffic reduces vehicle speeds which greatly increases a pedestrian’s chance of surviving injuries if they’re hit by a car. Calmer city streets means safer streets for pedestrians (and the presence of more pedestrian’s eyes on the street results in safer streets and neighborhoods with less crime).

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            Then let’s end pedestrian injuries entirely by reducing the speed limit to zero. Or hey, let’s separate traffic and pedestrians (oh, no – we’re doing the opposite, by proposing to take down 280).

    • Posted by S

      traffic flow would be improved if people stopped double parking! :)

    • Posted by Anton

      How about enforcing the use of the already existing bus lanes for buses only? Then the bus would be a viable alternative to congestion. Too busy to drive, well take the bus on this trip.

      A bus lane can move far more people per hour than a constantly busy car lane and is by far the cheapest solution to move people effectively. Subways are great but far more expensive and take forever to build in this country unfortunately.

  4. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Basically they want to reverse everything SFPark has done. Serious backward looking people. They will be happiest if we freeze all rule and all price to 80s level.

  5. Posted by Backlash

    This is backlash. Backlash to what? The MTA has been heavy handed in its approach to moving an agenda forward that allows zero input for people whose views vary one centimeter from the Bike Coalition’s agenda. The reality is, the majority of people, besides the Bike Coalition, are really pissed off at being fanned. Meter’s popping up like weeds in blue collar neighborhoods where plumbers, carpenters, and your regular ol worker relies on his or her truck to haul around their stuff. Families are pissed (those that are left in the city) who depend on cars to haul there kids and do their shopping. Other people who will not use the Muni because it is not dependable and in some areas service is not safe. You can piss off some of the people some of the time, but not the majority all of the time. That, my friends, is the backlash that we are now seeing. MTA needs to listen really hard…or they will continue to get backlash.

    • Posted by S

      that’s actually completely untrue. Both in Polk St and Potrero St (off the top of my head) redesigns took in a lot of feedback from “pro-car” folks and had their safety improvements watered down because of it.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        The complication – and I say this simply as trying to describe the situation, not to make my own statement – is that for some people even these watered-down proposals are still irksome. E.G., in their mind watering down a bump-out from 6 parking spaces to 3 (for example, along Irving in the Inner Sunset) is still ‘taking away spaces’, not ‘a compromise of interests’.

        Similarly, I think some people sit behind a red light or in a stalled turning lane, next to an empty bike lane, and they feel like ‘the bike lobby’ has been rewarded at drivers’ expense. (Again, I’m not taking a position on this myself, I’m just saying that humans’ inherent way of filtering facts to fit one’s own experience and expectations – regardless of their objective reality – have played a part in the creation of this refendum.)

    • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      Muni not dependable and unsafe? That’s fantasy based on anecdote from people who would never ever step into Muni but need to justify it with reasons other than the real non-PC reasons.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Really? I ride Muni multiple times daily – as a middle-aged in-shape man, even I’m sometimes uncomfortable and ‘on alert’. It’s completely understandable that the elderly, kids, and women might refrain from taking Muni in certain neighborhoods or at certain times.

        • Posted by anon

          didn’t someone get their head blown off on the muni?

      • Posted by KS

        You’re kidding, right? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone describe Muni as “dependable”. Have you seen Muni’s on-time statistics? The statistics are not anecdotal.

      • Posted by spencer

        my 120lb wife was punched in the face a few months ago by some lunatic. She also had her iphone stolen about 18 mos ago. she still rides but would love an alternative. SUBWAY

        • Posted by spencer

          i should also say this was at 6PM on the 38 Geary and not a single person tried to help her or stop the other person. I was appalled at that piece

          • Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            The same thing unfortunately happens in all big cities. Yet public transportation dominates their landscape. When you get in a muni train chances you’ll get to point B in one piece.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Muni is neither dependable nor safe. Obviously.

        Safety problems aren’t as much Muni’s fault. Dependability is.

        • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

          “Obviously”. I am sold!

  6. Posted by Sam

    Meh, too many young people in this city for this to ever pass. Cute though

    • Posted by d-b

      You might be surprised. People said the same thing about Proposition B.

      • Posted by Sam

        No that’s not even remotely similar, that was a power to the people, seemingly progressive, hey its san francisco, kind of deal. The outcome there shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is precisely the opposite, and will be framed as such. Young people are not interested in protecting old people having an easy time driving around, hell we dont even own cars ourselves (me included).

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          Actually, I think it’s incredibly similar. First, “young people” (and especially transplants to the City) don’t vote at nearly the same rate as older, established residents. And if you read neighborhood blogs, such as for the Richmond, you’ll see a lot of anger against bump-outs, giving spaces to car-share services, and even to sidewalk planters (which really befuddles me).

          Second, both these topics have a strong anti-government, anti-’expert’ angle to them.

          All in all, I won’t be surprised in the slightest if this passes with the same margins as Prop B.

        • Posted by Jill

          Rich people out for their own self interests rallied and voted down 8 Washington. It was a super wealthy nimby bill. Most of the rich nimbys also drive. It seems like a reasonable comparison

    • Posted by Brad

      Too many young people in this city? That’s the first time I’ve ever heard such a statement. Our population is, if anything, much older than average.

      • Posted by Sam

        No I think the amount of 18-29 year olds is actually one of the highest, though Id have to double check.

      • Posted by Jake

        SF compared to the rest of CA has a larger (~50% more) 25-34 year-old age group and smaller (~45% less) under 20 age group. The 25-34 age group has swelled and ebbed with the tech booms and busts of the past 20 years. The under 20 has been declining for much longer and is the main reason SF median age of 38.5 is higher than CA median age of 35.2.

        FWIW, Marin has a higher concentration of older residents and the median age is 44.5 even though it has a higher proportion of children than SF.

  7. Posted by James

    “The goal of any proposed re-engineering of traffic flows by the City should be to achieve safer, smoother-flowing streets.” This is a good goal, depending on how you define safer and smoother-flowing *for whom*?

    • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      the Embarcadero Freeway was flowing much more smoothly than the current Embarcadero. Yet would we want to rebuild it? Nope. This is a dense city and we cannot have everyone in their cars for all trips all the time.

  8. Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

    Restoring transportation balance? Cars are using 95%+ of non-sidewalk surface streets, either moving or parking. Take any street in SF and you’ll find lanes of moving car, 2 lanes of parked cars and multiple curb cuts. Everyone else has to heed to cars: pedestrians have to stop at traffic signaled crossing to let cars go through even though pedestrians have to spend actual human effort. Plus pedestrians go more slowly but yet they are slowed by faster moving vehicles.

    The current tendency to put human powered transportation ahead of motorized puts the human back at the center of the city. And it’s not going fast enough.

  9. Posted by richensf

    This is so I’ll-conceived, detrimental, and backwards that the voters may actually pass it… All it will take is a little bit of campaign cash and emotional pandering to make the aged polity pen in the wrong vote here.

  10. Posted by Brad

    Good luck! This will never pass.

  11. Posted by Conifer

    You would be happier in Manhattan.
    TIC: This is California
    and while non-binding and imperfect, this measure expresses the view of many San Franciscans about the anti-car religion of those in city government who want to dictate how others live.

    • Posted by bus rider

      And our so perfect American status quo all but stipulates automobile ownership/dependence to reach most schools, homes, and jobsites (not to mention recreational facilities, doctor’s offices, etc.) for nearly everyone 16 and older. Our mobility choices have been dictated to us for decades, drive (and support big oil, the Saudis, Firestone, et. al.) or be poor and hoof it/take transit.

      • Posted by spencer

        i only drive to support firestone. and i teach my children that firestone is the holy deity to which we must offer our transportation alms to

  12. Posted by eflat

    as one who signed the petition, it is not that I want things to go back to the 80′s or 50′s, nor do I have any objection to bike paths and am well aware of the pedestrian right of way (although many pedestrians do absentmindly jay walk, walk against lights and are completely inattentive while talking on their phones as they do this)….my concern is that SFMTA sometimes put in bike lanes on traffic arterials that have heavy traffic volume on them, instead of a less trafficked street a block to either side. Meters on Sunday was an issue for me as well as meters in residential neighborhoods. In my mind, I am not calling for cars to have precedent over buses, bikes or pedestrians, but rather have SFMTA more accountable to their planning

    • Posted by Jill

      I signed the petition too , mainly because I think adding parking garages would ease street congestion and amount of cars in city increasing. I also believe that 100% transport funds should go to developing a usable subway system. Increased subway use would also curb congestion. Being anti-car is another way if driving families out of the city.

      • Posted by Ummmm

        Unfortunately there is no data that supports the idea that more parking eases congestion. In fact just the opposite.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          uh, citation please? In fact there *are* studies that show that a significant percentage of urban traffic (arguably up to 30%) is just looking for parking, to it stands to reason that giving people quick parking options gets those cars off the road [and thereby reduces congestion].

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Exactly. Garages take cars off the street, cars that are now circling.

          • Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            I am not really sure what the real impact would be. On one side more parking takes away Circling traffic. But it also encourages more cars. If more Cars can park then thoroughfares that bring these cars will likely be more congested.

          • Posted by LJL

            How are we going to build more garages if we’re also freezing parking revenue?

    • Posted by Ummmm

      Sunday meters made more parking available not less.

  13. Posted by BigV

    cars already get more than their fair share of transportation $$’s and physical space. Our civic leaders are pushing for more human centered transportation because it is their job to look FORWARD to the future, rather than backwards to some nolsstalgic past fantasy of car domination. Local politicians are also pushing transit forward because they are keenly sensitive to the demands of the voters, which I believe is predominantly pro-transit.

    cars are great for low density suburbs — but should only play a very limited role in dense cities.

    • Posted by KS

      That’s great if you’re fortunate enough to live in a part of the City where you can walk, bike, or have access to a safe & reliable Muni route to get around. For those of us living in neighborhoods that are not walkable or bikeable, and that are poorly served by Muni, we are forced to rely on cars to get around (though I’d be happy to take a subway if one were built to serve my neighborhood). Many of us don’t have the luxury of keeping cars to “a very limited role”.

      • Posted by NoeValleyJim

        What neighborhood in San Francisco has no Muni and is not walkable or bikeable. I can’t think of a single one.

        • Posted by KS

          Diamond Heights (top of the hill) is not walkable or bikeable, and the Muni service (with the closest bus stop 4 blocks up a very steep hill) is totally unreliable and unacceptable.

        • Posted by anon

          Well NoeValleyJim, why not answer your own question since you have admitted you OWN and “have” to use a car for certain journeys? I believe you wrote before one of the reasons you “have” to use a car in the city was for taking your children to school which was in a different neighborhood than where you live.

      • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

        Areas around Twin Peaks and Mt. Davidson too. Really need to rely on your car there unless you want to have some long, hilly walks or very long waits for buses accompanied by lengthy hikes. These are not densely-populated areas, so it makes sense not to have frequent Muni service.

        And of course the definition of what is “walkable” is quite different for the many who are old, or very young, or not in optimum physical health.

    • Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      It is not a past fantasy. It is still the reality of most of the country. Living in lv,nv tought me that if the city is solely built for cars every alternative is an annoyance. SF is an island of more human civilization outside of the car empire. Let’s not let it go to waste.

  14. Posted by BobN

    People should take note that the first three goals listed are not about car use, but about car storage. The City is making a big mistake in trying to reduce car use by burdening car ownership. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want to restrict car use, restrict car use. Stop making living in the City a pain and/or more expensive.

    • Posted by San FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      Restrictions on car use would be borderline anticonstitutional. Yes for a London-style congestion tax. No to driving restrictions.

      • Posted by BobN

        Congestion taxes are a form of restriction on car use. So are pedestrian-only zones.

        That’s the sort of thing I meant. All across Europe you can find cities building underground parking — under plazas, piazzas, and squares — and at the same time, banning cars from the streets.

  15. Posted by alberto rossi

    “Cars are using 95%+ of non-sidewalk” and about 10% of the sidewalk, based on how people park in my neighborhood. Let’s restore the balance to when laws against this were enforced.

  16. Posted by BTinSF

    Can’t wait to vote for it. San Francisco’s “transit first” policy has become a “frustrate drivers first, last and whenever possible” policy. There’s nothing in this measure that would damage transit but it would help return the streets to the purpose for which the exist: Making it possible for people to get around the city.

    • Posted by Ummmm

      Making it possible for people to get around the city…. not just cars.

    • Posted by bus rider

      “Making it possible for people to get around the city” as long as they’re driving. Just what we need, more promotion of driving (with ongoing disregard for the myriad of local and global environmental harms that it directly causes).

  17. Posted by Jackson

    >>>Don’t get me started about the intentional un-timing of the stop lights on some streets…

    Like the 15 MPH to cater to bicyclists on Valencia Street.

    • Posted by Anton

      Valencia is a nice pedestrian street and fast moving cars have no place on it because of the noise they produce and general discomfort of somebody, car or bike, whizzing away at 40mph, just feet away from you. Stop blaming bicyclists for everything.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Oh please, he didn’t suggest Valencia should be a freeway. He (and others) are just remarking that *even if you drive responsibly, at the speed limit*, the street is engineered to frustrate you (in every sense of the word).

        • Posted by Sam

          No, I bike on Valencia a lot. So do a huge amount of other people, as noted above it’s a pedestrian oriented street now. People mill about on the sidewalk, people buy things from street vendors, people eat in tables on the sidewalk. If I’m driving and I need to get through the Mission I drive on South Van Ness or maybe Mission. If I’m biking I do it on Valencia.

          Not all roads need to be ideally suited to your single mode of transportation. I mean let’s be honest, cars are fairly ridiculous. If you really find it so annoying to have to move your right foot slightly off one pedal, and onto another one, then wait for 20 seconds at a light, you might have some issues.

          • Posted by Anton

            I agree that not every street should be designed for driving. Some streets should be optimized for a good pedestrian experience. If we take the European model we’d close them for cars completely. Cars can still use arterials. This is in no way anti-car which many seem to think. Its just that cars don’t mix well with either pedestrians or bikes. If we get a few good pedestrian streets I am sure that everybody will love them.

        • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

          SVN, Mission Street, Guerrerro, Dolores. All these options are given to car drivers and they’ll see few or no bikes because of the bad traffic light timing, hills and in general not very inviting streets. On Valencia Street cars have to share the road with cyclists on the cyclist’s pace. Oh the infamy!

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            Car drivers don’t want to share one bit of the public space with anyone else. They think they deserve it all and that anyone else is an interloper. Just look at Sierrajeff.

    • Posted by Carlos

      You need to do the math. First of all, read the sign. It’s 13 miles per hour not 15mph and if you drive twice that speed…Let me help you add: 13 plus 13=26 mph. Now multiply…13×3=???? 39 miles per hour. Now, pick the speed that falls under the speed limit and under the rate of which traffic is moving because there are so many cars, and the streets are timed for drivers too. If you don’t like that speed, than drive up one block to Guerrero, where cars race like it’s a Freeway. However, the problem is that people like you want to drive at unthinkable speeds, instead of driving the posted speed limits. The contradiction comes in the fact that nobody enjoys hanging out on streets like 9th, Gough, Franklin, etc., because freeway-like streets are unpleasant to walk, dine, live or hang out on, but I bet you are happy to walk, dine, live and hangout on the streets where bike lanes exists. San Francisco has always been a densely pact city, and it was designed before cars were in existence, unless you count the suburban neighborhoods, west of Twin Peaks, for example. It’s never going to be a car only centered city like Houston, Atlanta, or LA. People who want to live in car centered cities should move to those places, instead of trying to make SF into something it’s not.

  18. Posted by VanCouver Jones

    I agree with others… this is the dumbest idea to come along in a long time. This idea is right up there with the crazy idea to split CA into 6 states.

  19. Posted by KS

    I resent that the SFMTA has systematically reduced street parking in many neighborhoods, mainly due to the idiotic policy of mandating insufficient residential parking for new housing developments in dense neighborhoods, and then by not building new parking garages to keep up with the demand from residents who have to park/store their cars on the street because they don’t have garage parking. If every new residential unit were built with at least one subterranean parking space, residents could park/store their cars in their own damn garage rather than on the street, freeing up street parking for everyone else to use when visiting the neighborhood. I wish this “Transportation Balance” measure included a provision to eliminate the short-sighted parking maximums being forced on developers by the City and replace it with a 1:1 parking minimum for all new developments, but I still look forward to voting for this common-sense measure.

    • Posted by sfjhawk

      ” If every new residential unit were built with at least one subterranean parking space, residents could park/store their cars in their own damn garage rather than on the street, freeing up street parking for everyone else to use when visiting the neighborhood.”

      I’m just trying to understand how this logically (and reasonably) scales for a city of over 800K today – with projections to get to 1M by 2032. 1:1 is not realistic IMHO. Of course, by 2032, we’ll all be utilizing the driverless/google powered cars to get around (flashbacks to Arnold in Total Recall). :-)

      • Posted by Sam

        It’s not possible, and would massively increase housing costs even further. It’s kind of like when Arnold (our guvna) once said that to fix the traffic in LA the State might have make all freeways double decker. Some people just are uncomfortable with the idea that adding capacity for more cars is potentially the incorrect answer.

        • Posted by sfjhawk

          ” . . . the State might have make all freeways double decker.”

          which is basically what cities like Dallas has done over the past 20 years (starting working there during my first job out of college in ’94 and still travel back for work): they’ve double-decked major highways like the LBJ and there is even some talk about burrowing down to create the next ‘deck.’ Nice roads though (100% concrete, no potholes) and a lot of space.

          • Posted by Sam

            Yea, and that city certainly isn’t known to have terrible traffic *rolls eyes*

      • Posted by KS

        Why is 1:1 parking unreasonable? There are plenty of newer condo projects that have 1:1 parking–the Infinity, for example. My condo complex built in the 70′s has 1:1 parking. If they’re able to do it, why can’t the others?

        The only illogical and unreasonable thing here is that the City has recently been mandating low parking ratios, and that will force more and more people to park/store their cars on the street.

        • Posted by sfjhawk

          Finite amount of space + growing population + existing housing crunch = 1:1 parking unreasonable 10-20 years from now.

          ” There are plenty of newer condo projects that have 1:1 parking–the Infinity, ”

          As a resident at the Infinity, it was the last one with 1:1 (deeded parking): everything else built after it (Millenium, ORH, etc.) is leased / valet parking from my understanding.

          “The only illogical and unreasonable thing here is that the City has recently been mandating low parking ratios, and that will force more and more people to park/store their cars on the street.”

          I think the valet/leased is per city mandate and honestly you would be crazy to live in one of those buildings and think you’d get by with street parking (it’s not Portrero, NB, or the Marina, etc.). Street parking is a non-starter.

    • Posted by Alai

      So you’d shift the costs of providing parking onto anyone who builds housing. Because it’s critically important to keep parking low-cost, but if housing costs go through the roof, who cares?

      • Posted by KS

        Yes, because everyone wins by having cars parked in subterranean garages rather than on the street. Anyone using the streets (this includes private vehicles, buses, bicycles) will find traffic to be smoother and reduced due to fewer cars circling looking for parking. There is the added environmental benefit from this as well, as there will be fewer emissions from the circling cars and the resulting congestion. There is the safety benefit (for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers) from having fewer drivers who are distracted because they’re focused on finding an elusive parking space. It benefits shopkeepers/retailers from having easier access to street parking for visiting patrons. It benefits anyone (elderly, handicapped, anyone who requires a vehicle for their work) who needs to use a car to get to their destination and needs a place to park the car once there. The added benefits far outweigh any incremental cost resulting from requiring more subterranean parking than would otherwise be built by the developer.

        • Posted by jill

          bingo! and cyclists should support this too because am sure they get annoyed with doubleparking and people circling slowly looking for street parking and then swerving in quickly or uturning for the rare spot. i myself was hit in sausalito on my bike by a similar maneuver.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Y’all are not taking into account demand induction. Sure, plunking a parking garage down will reduce circling for parking. For a while. Then demand catches up to capacity and we’re right back to where we were before, except a little worse since the induced demand has increased normal, non-circling street congestion.

          We need forward looking sustainable solutions and just adding more cars doesn’t scale well at all. Provide good enough alternatives and enough people will switch away from driving and create more space for those who want to drive.

          • Posted by KS

            Well I agree with your last point about providing good transit options. Continue building out bike lanes, which will help a little. But we really need to be investing in better mass transit options like subways and lane-separated LRVs. Unfortunately, the SFMTA seems totally incapable of doing this (other than the dubious Central Subway project). But it seems to me that while the SFMTA should be encouraging people to take mass transit by providing good mass transit options, in actuality all they’re doing is trying to make it less desirable to drive and park in the City, which frustrates drivers who have no other options. This ballot measure is an opportunity for drivers to vent their frustration at recent SFMTA actions.

          • Posted by Murphstahoe

            We could easily slam a LRV down Geary – except for all the drivers who would oppose it as oppressive

        • Posted by Murphstahoe

          Subterranean garages at home make it easier to own and use a car (I don’t have to look for a spot when I get home!) equals more cars fighting over the limited spots at non-home destinations.

          Not to mention the huge costs of underground garages. Housing costs are a known tough issue, mandating a spot go with every unit reduces the chance for people to give up a car in return for more housing

          • Posted by KS

            “We could easily slam a LRV down Geary – except for all the drivers who would oppose it as oppressive”

            Huh? Oppressive? I can’t speak for all drivers, but I’d be more than happy to give up one lane of traffic on Geary to provide a decent public transportation option that would reduce traffic and congestion significantly. Of course, a subway would be an even better option.

            And the cost to purchase an underground garage space in a residential building should be decoupled from the cost of the condo, so anyone who doesn’t wish to purchase a space wouldn’t have to.

    • Posted by bus rider

      Reality and perception vary greatly when it comes to vilifying the SFMTA. Be it the improved Fell and Oak bike lanes, the very watered down Polk Street redesign, the Castro Street redesign, or many other SFMTA projects, very few or no parking spaces are lost. Cities change and the SFMTA strives to achieve widespread compromise as some of our streets are repaved or redesigned. The anti-SFMTA rhetoric is not reality based.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Ah, the Fell and Oak bike lanes – perfect example. There’s a lot of discussion above, re: Valencia, saying “oh but you can use Mission or Dolores, Valencia should be for pedestrians”. Well OK, then the reverse should be true too. Recognize that there are instances where traffic needs to flow. Fell and Oak are [were] one of the few reasonable E-W means to get across town – why are there bike lanes there, instead of on adjacent streets?! *That’s* what irks people, the SFMTA putting bikes lines on what is clearly a major arterial, and then saying “oh the traffic along these bike lanes is too hectic, we need to slow it down by screwing up the light timing and installing ‘traffic calming’ measures.”

        It’s all lowest-common-denominator thinking – instead of “how can we speed public transit” it’s “let’s slow cars so they’re just as slow and annoying as Muni buses, and so car drivers are just as inconvenienced as everyone else.”

        • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

          Fell and Oak are not the same relative to their surroundings than Valencia. They border the Panhandle which has a ton of existing bike/walk traffic. They are very flat street, then there’s that. Page would be my favorite cycling option in the neighborhood except for the small hills here and there.

          This is about sharing the road. With cars hogging 100% of the space there’s no possible sharing, just a giant game of Frogger.

      • Posted by Chuck

        The most irksome part about Muni is that over time they aren’t ever really improving. Productivity on a cost per passenger or service mile basis sucks for such a dense urban area. We should privatize all the bus service – contract it out and get cleaner buses with higher reliability at lower cost meaning we could add more service. It’s worked across Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America and in cities in the US like Las Vegas. Would be nice to see Muni make meaningful efficiency measures before we invest further in the system.

  20. Posted by Charles Harris

    Just walk in SOMA once at commute time and you’ll hate drivers forever. Ego.

  21. Posted by toady

    I think it’s great. It’s put a stick in the eye of the establishment in San Francisco. Power to the people!

  22. Posted by Alai

    Right on. In the Richmond, they’re taking 0.1% of the parking for car-share. Very unbalanced. It’s time to restore the balance of 100.0% private car storage.

  23. Posted by ciparis

    Hilariously clueless proposal, backed by the hilariously clueless. Can’t wait to see (and help) this fail.

  24. Posted by Anon

    But if the majority of households in this city own cars, how can this fail?

    • Posted by spencer

      only 25% of people vote. anything can make it through if it is supported by just 13% of voters. it all depends on who shows up at the polls.

      sane people or the anti-car crowd

    • Posted by Rillion

      Our household has 3 adults and owns 3 cars and will be providing 3 votes against this mesure.

  25. Posted by alberto rossi

    The drivers here complaining about Valencia Street are the ones with no sense of balance. They don’t even want one street where they have to share with other users.

  26. Posted by frog

    Valencia street – close it off to cars, biking and busses only – but make Van Ness a known car corridor with a couple of new parking garages.

    Same with Polk.

    Bikes are annoying to drivers and drivers are dangerous to bikes, so let’s split the transport modes up. They aren’t equivalent so keep them separated, but then cater to each. And there are idiots using both modes of transportation (and idiot pedestrians too!) who make everyone’s life worse.

    As for parking meters, I like them and they should be expensive. In most commercial areas street parking should be for transient use. Parking at work or home should require a more permanent solution. Such as a garage. Which should be available. And so we should build them. At the same time, bump out sidewalks and reduce street parking to what people only need for a couple of hours or less and make the entire sidewalk experience better.

    • Posted by Anton

      I agree. Separating the uses – streets for cars first, streets only for pedestrians, and bike lanes is definitely the best way to go – all it requires is us making some decisions. Can we please stop fighting and get together to make this happen?

    • Posted by KS

      Great comments, frog!

      • Posted by frog

        A couple of weekends ago I was in a car accident in berkeley. A cyclist ran a stop sign. I stopped short, missing him by inches. And a driver hit me from behind. I hate bad drivers and bad cyclists about the same amount. Put them together in the same place, and you have very bad things.

  27. Posted by frog

    I’m really curious, but when people talk about making SoMa walk-able, what do they have in mind? I love Europe too, but we’ve got 50-100 feet of space between existing buildings and that space isn’t going to go away. So what’s the model, what’s the long term goal for a place like SoMa? I really don’t see it without cars.

    • Posted by Jill

      Especially since the west soma plan is anti-density

    • Posted by Anton

      Well, there’s already a plan. Folsom will get wider sidewalks, will be lined with retail, and hopefully slower moving traffic (to lower the noise and discomfort)…

      But maybe we can get cars off Market and Valencia?

      • Posted by spencer

        west soma is somewhat of a ghost town for a dense city and the west soma plan intends to keep it as a semi ghost town. it is the most utterly backwards thinkin plan ive seen.

        this city should be focused on smart density and public transport for the masses. the best solution proven by world class cities across the globe is a usable subway system. subways are underground and dont interfere with bus and car traffic, making multiple forms of mass transportation usable at the same time. crowding everyone onto streets and have users fight over the best use of the street is stupid. the streets should serve buses 1st and cars 2nd. a minimal number of bikelanes should be established to meet the 3% of commuters. the other 97% take the roads via a motorized vehice.

        if we could get 25% on a subway system, this would be revolutionary for the city. we are way behind world class cities. this city has world class views, jobs and restaurants but there are so many things that make it 3rd tier. public transportation is a public embarrassment.

        • Posted by NoeValleyJim

          The mode split in San Francisco today is 60/20/20, 60% driving, 20% taking transit and 20% bicycling/walking. Somehow you forgot to include the pedestrians. The MTA is aiming for a mode split in 2030 of 30/40/40. We should build the street and muni network to achieve that goal.

          • Posted by jill

            i dont think you should dump cycling together with walking to obfuscate the results.

            you can make it more clear and say it is 60% driving, 20% transit, 17% walking and 3% bicycling.

            its clear to me where almost all the money should go. TRANSIT. if you want cars off the street build usable transit. lets say walking increases to 20% and bicycling to 5% by 2020 (lofty goals). theres still 75% left. if we can get to 40% driving and 35% transit that would be huge.

            unfortunately none of the projects in the pipe are going to have a major impact. all the cycling money might raise that by 1 to 2% nominally. The MUNI improvements are really nonexistent. right now, they are just trying to make driving more difficult without alternatives. Fix Muni and then make driving more difficult afterwards, thats fine with me.

            the problem is a lack of vision. do we really want SF in 2030 not to have a usable subway system, which has proven the most efficient transportation in almost all major cities across the world. These govt officials dont have the vision or the balls to take this on. they need to save and create bonds to do this or this city is going to be a clusterf*ck in 2030. stop spending on useless projects.
            if they go through with their very expensive, but half as*ed BRT plan on Geary, then we will never get a subway.

            a 15% increase in transit, from 20% to 23% adds more capacity than a 50% increase in cycling.

            they will never get transit to where it needs to be without investing in major projects, like a subway

          • Posted by Jake

            If you are going to play with the commuter numbers, may as well start with the facts.

            Here are the percentages for San Francisco residents commute to work from the most recent US Census ACS 2012 (Table B08006):

            44 car
            33 transit
            10 walk
            07 work at home
            04 bike
            03 taxi, motorcycle, other

            These are rounded to whole numbers so doesn’t add to 100. Also, the Census data are estimates and they include a margin of error. For the larger values like car and transit the MOE is about 5%, while for the smaller ones like bike and taxi it is around 20%. So, the transit number is more like 30-36% and the bike number is more like 3-5%.

            According to the US Census, SF residents only account for about 5 of 8 commuters in San Francisco . For the people that commute into SF to work, about two thirds of them drive and about one third take transit. When you include them the percentages are:

            53 car
            33 transit
            06 walk
            04 work at home
            02 bike
            02 taxi, motorcycle, other

            Since about 20% of the SF resident car commute is outbound to other counties (mostly San Mateo), most of the people that commute by car to work in SF do not live in San Francisco (mostly east bay).

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            SFCTA doesn’t agree with you.

            http://www.sf-planning.org/ftp/files/publications_reports/transportation_taskforce/SFTP_PART2_1_Needs-Analysis.pdf

            They say mode share split is as follows:
            53 Automobile
            25 Walk
            20 Transit
            2 Bicycle

            You have a huge difference with the number of trips via walking, I wonder why that is. They used SF -CHAMP 4.3 as their source, whatever that is.

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            If you want to be honest jill, put the bicycle mode share at 4%, not 3%. The last survey was two years ago had it at 3.5. In 7th grade I learned that you round 3.5 to 4, so unless you intend to start reporting decimal percentages, you need to call it 4. :)

            It has doubled in the last decade and it will probably double again in the next decade, so 8 percent by 2022 or so is reasonable. Plus bike lanes are super cheap.

            I agree that we need a major investment in transit but where is the money going to come from? So far you have not presented any solutions, just problems. I agree with you that the problems are there, but where do you see more money for Muni coming from? A Downtown Transit Assessment District? A VLF? Another bump up in sales tax? Congestion parking? Increased parking fees? What do you think the voters will go for?

          • Posted by Anon

            Jake’s statistics are by far the most accurate.. One can “hope” that someday more people may use bikes, but the numbers don’t lie. That’s why even the biggest car haters who post here admit they still own and use cars themselves.

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            http://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/2013%20Bike%20Count%20Report.pdf

            You believe an anonymous poster on the Internet over the professional planners at the SFMTA? Does the phrase “selection bias” mean anything to you?

          • Posted by Jake

            They aren’t my statistics. They are statistics published by the US Census. They have been gathering work commute data across the USA for decades. Many transportation studies are based on their data, but if you think they are untrustworthy, you might want to take it up with the appropriate Congressional oversight committee.

            NVJ, if you don’t know what SF-CHAMP is, then why are you so confident in data derived from it? Talk about selection bias, that’s more like selection blindness.

            FYI, the SFCTA stats you quoted are for all trips taken in San Francisco by everyone, whereas the Census stats I mentioned are for the work commute only. You made the same mistake in a previous thread where we wrangled over bike mode share stats.

            One of the ironies of referencing this SFCTA mode share data is that they say the current (2012) bike share for all trips is 2%. That’s what I said in that previous thread and NVJ just could not believe the number was so low.

            Well, this is at least the fourth socketsite thread where NVJ and I have exchanged posts on bike traffic stats. I don’t know if our newfound agreement on 2% bike mode share for all trips is progress, but at least it is convergence, if only accidental.

          • Posted by jill

            good conversation. i think its clear from both of your stats that adding bike lanes does not put the slightest dent into transportation efficiency. planners need to think big instead of being so small minded.

            yes, i havent said where the money will come from but i dont know. But other cities have been able to take on and pay for large transportation projects. SF has a super low unemployment rate, the local economy is booming, sales tax up, real estate tax up, new businesses moving in or expanding (tax up). now is the time think big. i would be happy to have my sales tax increased if it went for something positive for the majority of citizens. (like a subway)

      • Posted by frog

        I completely agree with you. I was in Denver for a conference and they have a very walk-able downtown, with a wide boulevard and a free bus that runs every few minutes, and probably bikes, but it was cold when I was there. I could see mission/valencia looking like that with a bus loop between the two streets from 15th to 24th. But then we would have to decide that Van Ness and Dolores are for cars and try to get bikes off of them.

        I honestly don’t know why people complain about cyclists on Valencia. When I drive, I simply avoid Mission, Valencia, Market, Hayes and even Chestnut. Different roads serve different purposes and from a city planing point of view, let’s formalize that.

      • Posted by frog

        I’m aware of the Folsom plan, which has so far consisted of installing the most confusing bike lane I’ve ever seen from 6th to 4th street and randomly putting thin plastic poles in front of my friend’s garage, making it impossible to pull out. (They lasted less than a week.)

        I guess the real question is what model are we using for this. Three lanes of traffic isn’t really any different than five. Folsom will never be Hayes, for example. But I’m not clear as to what they are trying to create. I can see Mission/Valencia looking really nice as limited traffic roads, Hayes and Chestnut and Union too. I just don’t see what Folsom will be.

  28. Posted by Jonny

    I’d like to see the SFPD enforce traffic laws more aggressively. The lack of consistent traffic law enforcement has resulted in too many drivers, cyclists and pedestrians disregarding speed limits, stop signs and red lights.

    • Posted by frog

      As a driver, a biker and a pedestrian, I could not agree with you more. Ticket all the idiots.

  29. Posted by Anon94123

    I just read elsewhere that Sean Parker gave $49,000 to the “Restore Balance” initiative.

  30. Posted by Sfarchitect

    I signed this petition too, and will be happy to vote for it on Nov.

    The SFMTA has gone too far taking parking spaces either out of commission, adding meters and renting spots to Car sharing companies for $50/mth.

    • Posted by bus rider

      Let’s continue to worship the high price of San Francisco real estate while we promote giving away our public real estate to car owners to store their personal property for free. We can worship the free market and the welfare state simultaneously!

  31. Posted by timbad

    can we not all agree that when the City adds 100,000+ people in the next couple of decades, we don’t want to add a related 50000-60000 cars to the city along with them? so that it would be a good idea to encourage new residents not to drive as much as possible? and one way to do that is to incrementally make mass transit, biking, and walking more attractive alternatives? remember, if someone decides walk or bike to where they are going instead of drive, that also makes it easier for those who choose to take their car. (besides leaving the city a cleaner healthier place)

    it would show what a short-sighted city we are if this measure passes.

    • Posted by frog

      I think the problem is that some of us realize that even if we never add another car to the city, certain parts of this city need to be car accessible. Visitors to the city will use cars and businesses here will need parking for these visitors. The problem is that even though more individual parking spots are being built, public spaces are being removed in crazy numbers. Unlike some here, I don’t think the city should be subsidizing parking. I moved here so I didn’t have to drive to work. But when I do a Lowe’s trip, what do I do with my zipcar when I need it near my apartment for an hour or two?

      As for meters, we need many more. I’m voting for this because I do think that the needs of real people are being left out of the debate, but as this is written, it’s terrible. I just think not voting for it is worse.

      • Posted by Anton

        There’s always going to be loading/unloading zones. So if you’re going to Lowe’s you can park, unload and then return the car. You really wouldn’t *need* it sitting there and racking up hourly charges for a couple of hours in front of your house.

        So I disagree. The only sense I see is that, generally, we want to prevent car overuse, not necessarily car ownership – e.g. we want cars to be used for a minority of trips as there isn’t enough space in the city to move everybody by car all the time even if we removed all sidewalks in the city. The problem is that it’s hard to enforce that – and most of the time, once somebody has a car, that sunk cost results in preferring to use the car over transit. It’s just too bad people cannot easily moderate their usage.

        • Posted by frog

          I think I’m a fairly typical use case. I own a car and wouldn’t dream of driving point to point in the city, at least not in the north eastern point. It’s primarily for weekends outside of the city. I don’t think I know a single person who drives to work within SF. As for loading zones? I don’t see them in many places, and they certainly aren’t for cars. It seems as if unloading a car or running in for one or two items is a perfect use for meters. Longer term should be in garages that might require a couple blocks of walking. And the trick to all of this is to build more parking while increasing the costs of parking, especially meters.

          That’s why this bill is terrible. It will make everything worse. But at the same time, the current status quo for SF is making everything worse.

          • Posted by sfjhawk

            We would hope that city planners (and the electorate) are considering what will be the typical use case in the future wrt car use, storage, and even ownership (vs. the typical use case today). Will it even be reasonable to own a car in a highly populated and dense city if one only drives it on the weekend and/or for hard to reach places? Why couldn’t that need be filled by services like ZipCar (we have a few in my development’s garage), Uber-X (promo last week noting that they’re 45% less than a taxi)? Insofar as storage, knowing that the premium for space will only increase (e.g. parking space in SOMA selling for ~$88K earlier this year), why would we want to consider how we store cars over creating housing units in the same space(s)?

  32. Posted by Anon

    The measure is not asking the MTA to give away free parking. It is asking that they stop removing metered parking on streets like Chestnut where plans are (were?) in the works to remove 50% of the parking and create another bike lane instead. The measure also would ask the MTA to focus on TRANSIT instead of bikes and parking. The organization has completely lost its focus. MUNI needs serious help and the MTA did not even properly set aside funds for maintenance, but have some how magically found funds to fill in the Geary underpass or rebuild Polk Street.

    • Posted by spencer

      chestnut as a bike street is just dumb. im there a lot and never see bikes there. there are a multitude of flat and quiet streets in the marina that are perfect for bikes. there are also a ton of babies there, and people who need cars to access chestnut with said babies and infants. im sure noe valley folks would be equally happy to have car use heavily restricted on 24th to accomodate cyclists, as well as the pacific heights people to do the same with fillmore. cyclists are a low single digit number in SF. they can have 3% of streets, but city should be smart about it. people in the marina are too smart and have too much influence to allow this to happen.

      • Posted by bus rider

        The purpose of promoting bicycling on flat commercial streets is to enable more local trips to be done by bicycle. As a mode of transport, the bicycle is ideal for distances of about 1-3 miles – often more ideal than a car (since parking is rarely problematic). Many cars double parked on Chestnut, and other neighborhood commercial streets, are those of locals who might prefer to bicycle instead if they’d feel safe doing so (and people feel safe bicycling when the streets have bike lanes/bike paths and aren’t heavily congested with cars).

  33. Posted by SFrentier

    Hmmm….I usually walk for my errands to the various neighborhoods that surround the mission. The streetscape changes over the last 5-10 years have usually been good, and the walking experience has improved, I must say. I also have a car, and have been driving in the city for 20 years. That experience still seems fine too. Like when I get pizza, even if its a few blocks away I’ll drive. See, I hate like warm pizza, so I’ll drive it. Still manage to illegally temp park, even picking up food, just like before. So I recon I’m good either way.

  34. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    At its core this is an anti-growth ballot measure. Revert to the one-man-one-car mode of transport and there’s no room left on the streets to add new residents or workers. The recent moves towards actually implementing a transit first policy is really the only viable way to support more people on the street.

  35. Posted by anon

    If you actually read the initiative, most of the proposals are to get the MTA to re-focus on TRANSIT. This initiative is not a Bikes vs. Cars proposal.

  36. Posted by jb

    I will vote Yes for same reasons as mentioned above. Every CalTrain station has parking garages except for those in SF. SFMTA added unnecessary meters around Kings St, station and people driving moved to 22nd street. SFMTA was going to put meters there as well, but the neighborhood pushed back. The result is people drive to work because Muni is not reliable. Put in garages and at lease people will drive 5 or 6 miles instead of 30 to 50 miles.
    Creating giant condo complexes that have .75 parking spaces or less per unit it not realistic. There are so many things to do in the Bay Area outside of SF that typically require a car (e.g. get out of town during the cold summer)

    • Posted by Murphstahoe

      So we should tear down the Safeway that serves the neighborhood to put in a garage for Caltrain commuters?

    • Posted by bus rider

      Caltrain stations often have parking lots but few have parking garages. Either way, Caltrain charges $5/day to park in their lots. At 22nd Street, parking is free. Is that transit first?

  37. Posted by sfjhawk

    “Creating giant condo complexes that have .75 parking spaces or less per unit it not realistic. There are so many things to do in the Bay Area outside of SF that typically require a car (e.g. get out of town during the cold summer)”

    As someone who lives in one of the condo complexes in soma, I can speak anecdotally that a number of my neighbors choose not to own a car. Walk around the area during rush hour (morning or evening) and you’ll understand why. For those “things to do . . . outside of SF,” and/or other must-need-car-activities/errands, there are services like ZipCar that work just fine for them. It is hard to imagine all the condo developments/housing units that are in the pipeline (~50K?) and imagine a 1:1 allocation. See my earlier comment (population heading towards 1M by ’2032) but imho, I think that’s completely unrealistic.

    At an individual level, I am curious why someone would want to own something that’s arguably their second most expensive asset, that doesn’t appreciate in value, for only sporadic (weekend trips and errand running) use?

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      Convenience – and also time is money. We don’t put a lot of miles on our car (mostly walk, bike or Muni), but when we use it, we save a tremendous amount of time. Kids across town to a lesson or game or friend’s house. Run to Costco. Zip to the east bay to the in-laws. Saturday to Marin to go for a hike. Don’t need to call or “app” anyone and wait. Don’t need to go pick up a car. Just hop in the car, pull out of the garage where it always awaits, and go and return. The convenience and time saved pays the costs many times over. This is the reason why the majority of households in SF own a car.

      If it works for you not to own a car, that’s great. I didn’t have one for 5-6 years when I was younger and didn’t really need one as often. The more people who don’t own a car, the better it is for the rest of us who do.

      • Posted by sfjhawk

        I get it: it is relative to one’s circumstances (kids, job, lifestyle, financial position, etc.), but it is interesting to note that it’s also relative from city to city. Would someone in current day NY, Singapore, London, etc., under similar circumstances insist that owning a car is necessary to accomplish all the above?

        More pertinent to SF and back to the point of the thread, would the answer be the same five, ten, twenty years from now for someone living in the city?

        FTR, I’m not anti-car by any means (commute to work in the south bay).

      • Posted by Murphstahoe

        The last thing I think I am doing when I go to Costco and stand in the horrible checkout line is “look how much time I am saving!”

  38. Posted by anon

    Sean Parker contributing $49,000 to this is very interesting to me. I read his explanation for supporting this measure and feel it is very reasonable. He did not mention anything about bikes, just about the need for the SFMTA to focus on building transit first, and not punishing drivers. The meters are about revenue, not “helping” neighborhoods. Our neighborhood near USF asked for residential permit stickers but were originally told we could only have meters instead until there was a backlash. The meters are all about money and not about controlling traffic.

    • Posted by jill

      while he may be a tw#t, Sean Parker is clearly smarter than every SF gov employee, as am sure many in private enterprise are. this is about focusing on transit that can get the most people to their destinations quickly.

      • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

        Being smart in one area doesn’t make one competent in other areas. I am probably smarter than many plumbers but will not try to lecture a plumber on how to do his job. If I wanted to do that I’d get the proper training first.

  39. Posted by Rick

    I thank Sean Parker for his help. I’m a democrat who voted for “Transit First” and all previous transit/street improvement funding. I now regret those votes.

    SFMTA has morphed Transit First into continued crappy transit while spending our money on landscaping and anti-car projects. We need real transit, primarily fast subways and LRVs. Even the November $500M bond is just a bandaid for the existing broken system and provides for nothing visionary. No wonder SFMTA is promoting biking and walking to take heat off the broken transit system.

    I am pro transit (real transit) but that does not have to be anti-car. The reality is people should have a choice and the best way to have people choose transit over driving is to provide good, fast, safe, clean, comfortable transit.

    • Posted by KS

      I agree. I will not vote for any more SFMTA bonds unless the money goes directly to new subway or lane-separated LRV projects. It’s pretty pathetic that L.A., for one, has been able to build out a pretty decent subway system while all the SFMTA can manage is the crappy Central Subway (all 1.7 miles of it).

  40. Posted by alberto rossi

    I figured SFMTA was spending so much time on bike lanes because that’s all the city can afford anymore; paint and plastic posts cost almost nothing compared with concrete and steel. So I’m very surprised to learn from reading these comments that actually there’s billions upon billions of dollars lying around to build subways everywhere anyone could possibly imagine going to as well as for subterranean parking garages every two blocks.

    • Posted by Kate

      SF is working on building two BRT rapid transit projects on Van Ness and Geary, both of which are taking a long time not because of lake of City funds, or ineptitude as you posit above, but state level CEQA policy that prioritizes auto use over transit. These are projects that would significantly enhance transit to the western n’hoods. See this article for a good explanation of why and what is going on with that. http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/07/transit-projects-are-about-to-get-much-much-easier-in-california/374049/

      • Posted by KS

        It’s good news that these two projects are finally moving forward. BRT makes sense on Van Ness, but I’d much rather see an LRV or subway line down Geary. I have my doubts that an upgraded bus system will actually solve the problem of overcrowding on the 38 Geary bus (without a huge investment in additional buses, drivers and mechanics). Rail makes a lot more sense for such a busy corridor.

        One could easily argue that it is, in fact, ineptitude on the part of the SFMTA that we’re getting an incredibly expensive 1.7-mile “Central” subway where the need for it is questionable, but have to settle for BRT on Geary where a subway (or at least LRV) would really make sense.

        • Posted by jill

          BRT on Geary is a joke. this money should be saved for a subway. filling in the underground part of Geary will only put cars and pedestrians in more conflict and slow down traffic in one of the main arteries. It makes no sense. The city planners are morons. I would gladly vote for a bond for a usable subway system, but putiing in BRT will make it impossible to put in a subway which is what is really needed. we are a laughing stock of a city for our lack of public transportation

          • Posted by Anon

            Even Los Angeles understands that major streets like Geary, or Wilshire down there, are for subways, not painted bus lanes. The MTA could win a ballot initiative for the Geary Subway, but never for their stupid Central Subway to nowhere.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            I agree we need subways criss-crossing the City. But filling Geary makes sense if you look at a city as a coherent entity. These underground ways cut neighborhoods, prevent flow in many ways (business, culture, social).

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            I am curious if you are familiar with the history of that corridor. There have been numerous efforts to build a subway on Geary, including an initiative in the 60′s that was defeated by the voters. The businesses there just don’t see the need for one and are afraid that construction will ruin their businesses by driving away foot traffic for years.

            The residents are mostly against increased density and are not enthusiastic about a subway either. I don’t think an initiative to build and pay for the $6-10B or so it would cost for a Geary subway would pass. New taxes require a 2/3 majority because of Prop 13.

          • Posted by jill

            the 60s were 50 yrs ago.

            if they can build that utter waste of a central subway downtown, then we can make this happen. a lot of the business owners i know on Geary and clement ( i live in inner richmond) are under 45. i think they would go for it.

        • Posted by jill

          central subway complete waste of resources. that entire area is walkable.and transit is good there. it was a giveaway

  41. Posted by jill

    no one is saying theres billions of dollars available, but the city needs to learn to save money for bigger projects instead of wasting on small ones. the city is bringing in tons of new revenue in this economic and RE boom. nows the time.

  42. Posted by Murphstahoe

    His name was Tony Balogna. Oh wait, he was shot in his car…

  43. Posted by Anon

    I like the Los Angeles approach……build more subways, above ground electric rail, BRT lines and even dedicated bike lanes instead of focusing on how to raise more revenue by metering residential streets or by becoming a surrogate employer of former staff of a bicycle coalition. The trains and busses in Los Angeles are far cleaner and safer than anything we have here and I think this is because their focus is on increasing transit use by making it safe and attractive.

    • Posted by jill

      LA is a world class city like NY and Chicago. We are not, and our govt seems to want to keep it that way

    • Posted by Alai

      The Los Angeles approach also involved the city building a $110 million parking garage, at public expense, for the $130 million Disney Concert Hall– and then spending another $52 million on the parking garage for the Broad Museum next door.

      On the bright side, they eased up on parking requirements downtown, in order to allow dilapidated old buildings to be renovated.

      • Posted by Anon

        Alai, the trouble with haunting Streetsblog for information is that they did not tell you those garages make money for the city of Los Angeles as they are used daily by visitors and workers going to adjacent towers, which is why they sell so many monthly parking passes.

        • Posted by Alai

          You seem to have a source for this– just how much money are they making, to pay back their hundred million dollars?

  44. Posted by Anon

    Los Angeles MTA uses a “carrot” approach while San Francisco MTA uses a “stick”. The L.A. model is to make more transit available, make it faster than driving, and make it more affordable, clean and safe. The SFMTA model is ignore MUNI service (especially cleanliness of equipment), make it much slower than driving, keep fares expensive, and then concentrate all the other available energy on parking revenue.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Hmmmm… Last time I visited downtown and West LA (closest analog to SF in SoCal) there was plenty of “parking stick” for drivers to deal with. And while their transit system is much improved it is still awkward and inconvenient to use between certain destinations. Downtown to a Westwood location took nearly two hours by bus.

      Transitioning from a “drive everywhere” infrastructure to one that supports more efficient options is hard. There’s unavoidable pain involved. But the end results of sustainable growth make it worthwhile. This “restore the imbalance” measure is regressive.

  45. Posted by Jonny

    This measure has my vote!

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