Driving us crazy

Street Fight: Are some progressives screwed-up on parking?


STREET FIGHT Parking reform is one of the most radically important elements of making San Francisco a more livable and equitable city.

In this geographically constrained city, parking consumes millions of square feet of space that could be used for housing, especially affordable housing in secondary units. Curbside parking in the public right of way impedes plans to make Muni more reliable for hundreds of thousands of transit riders. Parking in new housing and commercial developments generates more car trips on our already congested and polluted streets, slowing Muni further while bullying bicyclists and menacing pedestrians.

Fundamentally, parking is a privatization of the commons, whereby driveway curb cuts and on-street parking hog the public right-of-way in the name of private car storage. The greater public good — such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing public safety through bike lanes, wider sidewalks, public green spaces, and transit-first policies — is subsumed to narrow private interests. These are among the many reasons why, for over a decade, parking reform has been a key part of progressive transportation policy.

Yet lately, it has been disappointing to watch progressives, especially on the Board of Supervisors, retreat from that stance. In Potrero Hill and North Mission, a vitriolic reaction has slowed rollout of nationally acclaimed SF Park, which raises revenue for Muni and is a proven sustainable transportation tool. Yet there are murmurings that some progressive supervisors might seek an intervention and placate motorists who believe the public right-of-way is theirs.

On Polk Street, some loud merchants and residents went ballistic when the city and bicycle advocates proposed removing curbside parking to accommodate bicycles. The city, weary of Tea Party-like mobs, ran the other way, tail-between-legs. Progressive supervisors seem to have gone along with the cave-in.

Along Geary, planning for a desperately needed bus rapid transit project drags on. And on. And on. And on. The lollygagging includes bending over backward to placate some drivers who might be slightly inconvenienced by improvements for 50,000 daily bus riders.

One thing that is remarkably disturbing about this backpedaling is that, in an ostensibly progressive city by many measures (civil rights, tolerance, environmentalism), the counterattack is steeped in conservative ideology. That is, conservatives believe that government should require ample and cheap parking, whether in new housing or on the street. This conservative ideology, shared by many car drivers and merchants — and even by some self-professed progressives — is steeped in the idea people still need cars. This despite the evidence that cars are extremely destructive to our environment, socially inequitable, and only seem essential because of poor planning decisions, not human nature.

Progressive backpedaling has become more confusing with the recent debate over 8 Washington, defeated at the polls Nov. 5, and on the same day of a convoluted Board of Supervisors hearing on a proposed car-free housing development at 1050 Valencia. Both of these projects highlight the muddled inconsistency emerging among progressive supervisors.


Progressives have to be on-call 24/7 fighting oppression and injustice. And that isn't possible without free street parking close to their front door.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 8:43 am

Stop the presses! This just in - Progressives are hypocrites!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

What you call "thinly veiled bigotry against the 14 and 49 buses" is in fact a statement that we want the quality of public transit we have all been promised and all deserve in a great city. SFMTA's own data show that the system is now operating at lower than 60% on time, and that the 14, the 49 and the J are all below that systemwide average.

You also failed to acknowledge the urban planning, pro-transit standard also suggested by neighbors -- that zero-parking new residential construction should be excluded from Residential Parking Permits. This is done routinely in pro-transit, pro-bike, pro-car-reduction urban developments from Berkeley to Boston and can easily be done in SF. They should put their money where their mouth is. This developer also initially said he would include car-share parking on site. The neighbors strongly support that as well.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 9:48 am

Spitefully building homes with no parking won't stop them - lots of SF residents do not have garages or off-street parking.

And it is easy to get around any RPP restrictions, simply by using somebody else's address in the neighborhood. I've had a RPP for years using a friend's address who is a few blocks away.

People will always find a way tog et around petty restrictions, and your "war on cars" is a petty attack on hard-working middle-class San Franciscans.

Posted by anon on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 11:07 am

some not.

Believable: you lie to obtain a residential parking permit.

Unbelievable: you have a friend.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

If your story is even true, this means you own a car registered at another address. How's that going to work out for you if you ever get a ticket (is your friend patient enough to send it to you) or if you get pulled over? Your friend is an idiot for taking on that kind of responsibility.

Also, explain how it's 'spiteful' to build an apartment or condo building with no parking on a major transit and cycling corridor. Amazingly, this has been done in the past in SF and continues to happen in many cities of the world.

"War on cars" ....whatever. smh

Posted by 94103er on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

than where they live.

For instance, one guy I know buys all his cars in Oregon where there is no sales tax. He has to register it there but he keeps an OR address specifically for that purpose.

Another guy I know has incorporated himself in Nevada and owns all his vehicles at that corporate address. He also gets paid there (he's a contractor) because NV has no income tax.

There are always ways around all this bureaucratic nonsense, and the main purpose of regulations and tax rules is to inconvenience people into doing end-run's around them.

The real question to ask is this. why are our regulations and taxes so complex and punitive that people seek to do these things in the first place?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

Hey, that's great. Go right ahead telling me about 'people you know' who cheat on their registration. And I can tell you, if that person gets pulled over for any reason, the CHP officer has a right to inquire about residency and slap a huge fine on him if he admits he lives in California.

Also, who cares? The point is, these people can't get street permits in SF. So are these the people screeching for keeping their parking in the NE Mission, or do you really have no point at all?

Posted by 94103er on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

Is it because you are a wealthy hedge fund manager who can walk to your downtown office from your Nob Hill penthouse?

And you hate the Hispanic construction workers in the Mission for whom their vehicle is their livelihood?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

Nice crowd you run around with there.

People who cheat on their taxes always claim "everyone does it" but the truth is very few people do it.

I bet you are a tax cheat too.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

Members of the Senior and Disability community who have trouble walking need to parking near were they have to go to. The City has to be open to all young and old.
I am a Progress but I do not like your ideas. We all have to share living in this City. YOu our living in a dream world.

Posted by Richard on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

old because they have legitimate reasons to drive.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

@Guest - Blithering nonsense. The more carfree people there are in the city, the more resources are available for those who truly need personal motorized assistance.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

about giving priority to bikes, which clearly old, sick and disabled people cannot use?

Moreover they advocate car-free streets, which is harder on the old and disabled than anyone else.

Sorry, but this mob are a bunch of affluent white males who want everything their way. Not buying what you're selling.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

Everyone should have access to The Commons, not just those affluent enough to buy an expensive automobile. Why don't you want to share any road space with bicyclists, many who are too poor to afford a car?

Most automobile drivers are entitled and wealthy and those who own cars are much wealthier than those who are not. Most car drivers in San Francisco drive expensive foreign luxury cars.

Not buying your phony class war argument. Go peddle it somewhere else.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

Do you ever leave your house?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:22 am

As I was cycling down Valencia, I counted the model of the cars on the street from Cesear Chavez to Market. Just over half were BMWs, Lexus, Mercedes, Volvo and Saab. One was even a Range Rover!

Even in The Mission, a working class and blue collar neighborhood, over half the cars were foreign luxury models.

I suggest you get out of your house and look around and tell me what you see.

In Glen Park the percentage of foreign luxury models is even higher than in The Mission.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

your conclusion is that people who eat in expensive restaurants have expensive cars?

You're a genius, GLD.

Now go count the cars on 3rd Street and let us know

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

Do your own research. The really funny part is that you think Big Mouth Burger and We Be Sushi are "high end".

I can count the commuters on Market next though. What do you think the answer will be?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 16, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

The issue of expanding SF Park meters to established residential neighborhoods has nothing to do with shifting more space to bicycles.

Most people who own cars and who are existing residents in the North Mission are not wealthy by any measure.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 10:11 am

....and they ain't using them because parking is free outside their residences. Oh, and many others have vehicles not even registered here. Those are facts.

You sure spend a lot of time here parroting 'neoliberal! neoliberal!' and other nonsense about tollbooths to the commons. [Which is why, readers, he is forever banned from Streetsblog--he never has a real point to make.] But here is an unequivocal fact: The city can't afford to give away street space for free anymore. Did you hear that our population is growing?

You want a phased-in system? Fine, get on the RPP bandwagon right away, then. You'll see how few of your 'community members' agree with you.

Oh, and BTW, maybe it doesn't necessarily give more space to cyclists, but metered parking helps cyclists a whole hell of a lot. It reduces circling by inattentive drivers. Another pesky fact for you there.

Posted by 94103er on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

anyone can vary their email and IP address, and that is all that Disqus can monitor.

If marcos doesn't post there, it is only because he does not wish to. and frankly, I don't blame him.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

There is no law that says I have to use my garage for my car and, moreover, garage owners are not prohibited from getting a RPP.

And of course households often need more than one car anyway.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

@94103er - Perhaps you should read Prof. Henderson's book, from which this column takes its name. It would explain the relevance of neoliberalism to these issues.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

Sure, some folks have garages full of crap, but do you have any data to share with us that quantifies your assertions, which would make a good basis for public policy? Some bicyclists break the law, are you suggesting that public policy should be tooled to all bicyclists based on that subset? Individual prejudices are no basis for public policy.

I read Jason Henderson's book, did you? Putting tollbooths over what you say is the commons makes it the commons no more. Did you not read Marx on original accumulation and the enclosure of the commons?

"The city can't afford to give away street space for free anymore. Did you hear that our population is growing?"

Perhaps the reason why Aaron banned me from posting on Streetsblog is because I do not bleat out nonsensical inanities like the above quote.

There is a centrist majority of ENUF in support of a hybrid system of RPP for existing residents and business overlaid with a meter district where RPP overrides meters. That way the MTA can make some more money but the burden is not solely borne by existing residents. The reason why I got involved with my neighbors is that the MTA treated them like crap. When I got involved, I told them that the era of free parking is over, unless they stipulate to that they would get nowhere. So they agreed to pay something for parking. Enough of them agree with the basic policy goals but do not see the MTA as reliable partners. So they're not going to roll over for the MTA and have apparently brought the process to a virtual standstill.

It is not like the technocrats and advocates ever get it right the first time. The sooner that the technocrats and advocates learn that, the less resistance they'll encounter.

Can you point me to the empirical data that demonstrates that motorists circling for parking causes measurable congestion? The MTA can't, perhaps you might be able to. Forgive me, but the herd arguing by the waving of the hands to support whatever's in fashion this week don't cut it.

The case can be made that pricing parking so that it is always available via demand pricing would create the illusion that parking is always available as designed. That would lower the barriers imposed by scarcity of parking to auto trips that otherwise would never have happened. So demand priced parking might actually INCREASE congestion by stimulating more VMT.

More VMT in certain areas could actually cause auto and thus transit delay. But the MTA declined to study the environmental impacts of this change and is rushing this through as a pilot project. Because the 22/14/49 and 33 are not running slow enough already.

A political movement is dead when it believes its own bullshit.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

try. Just use a proxy server to bypass his dumb IP blocks and you are off to the races.

Censorship never works in a free society.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

It is neither beyond my technical range nor of that great concern to me, that would be your sociopathy.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

Big difference. You always lose because you are weak.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

Aaron Biyalik is like yet another in an endless succession of fresh faced young white middle class kids who do their five year stint through San Francisco on policy advocacy before getting on with their lives and blowing onto the next opportunity.

They have no clue as to context, are interchangeable functionaries being paid by foundations which are likewise not invested in creating a city that is really livable by the people who live here.

My time is best spent elsewhere.

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

has become the topic of discussion. Please, impart more!
(Also, curious as to why you spelled my last name differently?)

Posted by Aaron Bialick on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 1:11 am

Becuz I have not seen your name written out for several years now? Yet another flake in the white, light flurries of itinerant policy passers-through.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 5:54 am

It's awesome in support of me to have a web
site, which is good in favor of my experience. thanks admin

Posted by social landings on Jun. 01, 2014 @ 1:24 pm

as someone who will achieve little, as his inability to find common ground neutralizes him.

That's why the Streetsblog gig, with its long history of suppressing contrary opinions, is perfect for a lightweight like Aaron, and his little throng of car-haters.

It's very sad.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 7:15 am

Such is the problem with siloed single issue politics, as practitioners think that solely because they show up with what they think are good ideas borne on what they claim are good intentions, that anyone who does not buy into their plan automatically opposes their intentions.

Since streetsblog has arrived on the scene several years ago, more and more cyclists have taken to the streets, Muni on-time performance has snarled and the MTA's low-level war on cars has proceeded apace.

In that time, Muni has become less attractive, the number of bicyclists hurt and killed has continued to tick up and the only response from the "livable streets crowd" is to continue to demonize anyone who does not buy into their game.

In the blink of an eye, Aaron will depart from our midst, moving onto the next opportunity. I do not pay him much mind, he has no record of participation and accomplishment in local transportation policy. Aaron, like so many non-profiteers, is paid by the wealthy to move the agenda of the wealthy on everyone else, hence the willingness to collaborate with neoliberals against progressives.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 7:46 am

realizes that, so will demur on the details.

To be fair to him though, he's not as bad as that Goebbels guy before him. He was as bad-tempered as he was ineffective. Aaron is a cute, fluffy little bunny compared to him.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 9:46 am

My goals do not involve Aaron, they involve moving a policy agenda and demolishing any impediments that I see to moving that agenda be they a hack journalist or nonprofit dependent on the City for their funding.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 10:41 am

to achieve the same goals as you are counter-productive because of their incompetance and insensitivity, then a nobler objective can be achieved through a deft, judicious undermining of their credibility.

Those of us moderates who post here actually help the progressive cause by demonstrating to their zealots where their arguments are flimsy and erroneous.

I seek little in return.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 11:15 am

I'd prefer to 'over mine' the credibility of alternative approaches to the same outcomes rather than undermine strategic misapproaches of others. Instead of wielding anti-car sticks, I'd prefer to push for pro-transit carrots that lower the gradient and barriers to outcomes that are consonant with my goals.

In the case of massive brain farting, as in the irrational fixation on bikeways to solve the problem of cyclist deaths at intersections, where poor choices are consequential, then that is a very different game and direct confrontation to stop myopic policy is more appropriate.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 11:36 am

If my views are so radically different than the streetsblog party line to the extent that Aaron felt compelled to ban me, then that indicates that the streetsblog clique is incapable of building a coalition broad enough to move their agenda.

Elected officials from a range of political perspectives who've won tens of thousands of votes have given me the nod to serve on various transportation related committees, advisory councils and task forces over the past decade, yet my views are insufficiently pure for Aaron.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 8:30 am

The 76 year old poor immigrant was killed on his bicycle last month.

Obviously it didn't mean anything to you or you would be peddling the same tired lie that the elderly do not use bicycles.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

I am strongly examining how to support SANE, SAFE, STREETS AND EQUITABLE 'SHARED' COSTS OF OUR STREETS AND ROADS - NOT AS A 'ANTI-BICYCLE ADVOCATE, NOR A PRO AUTO, SIMPLY AS A VOICE FOR COMMON SENSE, REALITY ON OUR STREETS AND IN OUR CITY. As Tensions rise, ridiculous statements increase, largely from the 2 wheeled, often as a backlash against their self seen, "evil Auto and Petroleum" Industry along with the Drivers of same and or any daring to be Proud of Earning enough to own a Car or a Home in San Francisco. after over 35 Years of working, contributing, paying Taxes, owning property in "OUR" City, sadly, my partner of over 30 years and I are seriously discussing leaving the City we thought to live out our lives in. Beyond the self "entitled bicycle coalition, and walk s.f" the rest of 'us' simply shell out more and more, with less in less as a reward for our stability, our support, our regularly paid taxes. No. It is becoming clear that the only appeasement sought by the 'Ride Free and Piss on SF' folks will be to manipulate, shout down, accuse, but, of course, NEVER, NEVER Support a Written State enforced Traffic Law and Bicycle conduct on our Roads Test, State and City Required Insurance to operate any Bicycle on ANY PUBLIC STREET, PARK, DOMAIN, and as with any other moving vehicle: REQUIRE FULL RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF EACH AND ANY OWNER OPERATOR OF A BICYCLE (there would be some -though minor revenue from this, more importantly, when a Pedestrian or any is impacted, clear rights and responsibilities with financial recourse when and 'If' the cyclist is at fault.
As 'equality' reigns- ANY and EVERY bicyclist using public Streets and roads should by sheer logic and common sense be required to: Pass a Basic Operators Test and pass established Traffic questions required to use our streets, administered by DMV; both for operator and bicycle; require set operational standards such as Lights, Mirrors, no Over sized Items etc., once passed, INSURANCE should required as with any vehicle.
The failed social experiment of 'rent control' continues, despite the disinformation of the misguided, as a welfare system product, I know only that without participation in the defense of the very domain that provides us the freedom to exploit another's hard won career or and livelihood, without the same rule and standard applied to the Bicycle operator and owner-as those to any other operating a moving vehicle with the potential to inflict fatal injuries, and while the income of a small business owner is demeaned, threatened, the responsibility of the Tax payer, the home and auto owning resident is now the casualty of the vociferous. Suddenly, I understand what must have taken place in the City of Detroit, for we are being forced to a more and more conservative positioning by the actions of the City Council, the day to day actions of disrespectful, unlicensed, uninsured Bicyclists condoned by our City Politicians, to which I ask and suggest that the next individual seriously hurt (or the Family of the Deceased) file the largest most expensive law suit in American history against the City, for compensation for allowing an unlicensed, uninsured, untested use of our Roads and Street, which it doesn't seem important enough to require. In the mean time, the crazies will hold forth, yet where would the City be without those that work an honest day, life, for a toehold in Our City? Right, did I mention Detroit?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 13, 2014 @ 12:16 am

@Guest - Blithering nonsense. The more carfree people there are in the city, the more resources are available for those who truly need personal motorized assistance.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

Try following the thread and not repeating yourself.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

Jym, I was the lone dissenting vote at the MTA CAC against a motion to support the MTA extending meters to blue spaces.

Having lived through the worst of the AIDS crisis and watched the generation ahead of me waste physically before my eyes, in their prime, I am similarly disinclined to support "stop consolidation" = removal.

So long as progressives unite with neoliberals to discipline conservatives by attacking working stiffs and the disabled, they will find coalition building very difficult.

How about we go after the developers instead instead to pay their full transit impact per new resident.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

Reducing parking is attacking working stiffs? Up is down, down is up.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 8:53 am

working class people often need a car more because of where they live and work.

A hedge fund manager who lives in nob hill and works downtown can walk or bike.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 9:24 am

Hedge fund managers live in Ross

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 10:48 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:41 am

Existing residents moved into existing neighborhoods under a set of economic assumptions. Changing those economic assumptions on existing residents, most of whom are working stiffs at some level, without making proportionate changes for the elites in taxation policy to finance transit investment, etc., is a neoliberal approach that saddles working stiffs with the burdens while lavishing all of the benefits on the elites. Professor Henderson rightly refers to this as a neoliberal approach, my question is why are Jason and the MTA and the so-called "progressive" transportation advocates all making the case for neoliberal solutions?

Posted by marcos on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 10:03 am

No kidding. The Indians moved onto this continent under set conditions, and they got the shaft too.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:23 am

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