Rincon Hill Streets And Transportation Plan
First and foremost, let’s just say that we’re huge fans of the proposed plans (and work in progress) for Rincon Hill. We love living in urban neighborhoods that allow our cars to sit idle save a weekend jaunt out of town. And we honestly believe that Rincon Hill has the potential to become an iconic urban neighborhood.

The Rincon Hill Plan aims to transform Rincon Hill into a mixed-use downtown neighborhood with a significant housing presence, while providing the full range of services and amenities that support urban living. This plan will set the stage for Rincon Hill to become home to as many as 10,000 new residents.
Rincon Hill is a five minute walk from the financial district. It has easy access to public transit and has benefited from the Rincon Point-South Beach redevelopment project on the southeastern waterfront, particularly the construction of the Waterfront Promenade along the Embarcadero, and will benefit from the Transbay redevelopment project to the north of Folsom Street.

As part of the Area Plan, a streetscape plan “calls for extensive sidewalk widenings, tree plantings, street furniture, and the creation of new public spaces along streets throughout the district.” And that’s great. Especially considering that the plan currently characterizes “Rincon Hill’s streets [as] unsafe and unpleasant for pedestrians—sidewalks are narrow, intersection crossings dangerous, and few active uses line the sidewalk edge.”
But folks, we haven’t seen, read, or heard anything to suggest that street traffic in the area is going to get any better. Yes, “Objective 5.6” in the Area Plan calls for “[improving] local and regional traffic flows and transit movements by separating bridge-bound traffic from local lanes in appropriate locations.” But that’s about it. And the First Street on-ramp to the Bay Bridge isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
In fact, based on all the new development, we’d be willing to bet that traffic congestion in the area ends up getting worse. And while that’s probably not such a great thing for those who are wed to commuting by car, it’s probably not such a big deal for residents who enjoy hoofing it in an urban environment, or for non-residents who can manage public transportation.
The Future Of Rincon/Transbay [SocketSite]
Area Plan: Rincon Hill [SFGov.org]

46 thoughts on “The (Traffic) Plan For Rincon Hill”
  1. For those of us living in the area, I don’t think traffic will be that big of a deal. One of the main reasons I moved to Rincon hill was so I could sell my car and walk to work. I’ve been carless over a year now and don’t miss it. For those commuting, BART, Muni, Ferries, and buses are all a few blocks away.

  2. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
    As we all know (and I know we all know because we’ve been discussing it back and forth and back and forth for months now), the Rincon Hill area is going to be a new San Francisco neighborhood. For some, it’ll be great. Others won’t be able to imagine life in such an urban environment.
    Sure, it’s fun to hate on the buildings, location, and whatever else. At the same time, it’s fun to give it it’s props. Either way, I’m really excited to see how things are gonna turn out. From this post, it’s easy to see that it might actually turn out to be a gem. There was a great article in 7×7 and the reports from the Planning Commission are actually pretty interesting reads. But as always, the comments on Socketsite are by far the funnest.

  3. This a great idea — if the government can get on board and start working to create jobs in the city. Right now, SF is becoming a bedroom community because of its anti-business stance. Want people to walk to work? How about having jobs close enough for people to walk to?

  4. The bottom line is that Rincon Hill is a geographically-challenged area sitting as it does between downtown and the freeway. Realistically, I don’t see many – if any – options for the city to improve traffic flow and make it more appealing as a residential area: it’s not as though it can do a “big dig” and underground the approaches to the Bay Bridge.
    And I do agree with others that Rincon Hill likely still will be a great area to live for many.

  5. I too hope that Rincon becomes an iconic area for city living. Looking at the points though, I have to think that there are goals, objectives, and tactics, and finally metrics for measuring against the tactics to determine whether or not the goals and objectives were acheived.
    I would like to read through the tactics, not the objectives, and how the city plans to measure the success of their efforts.
    [Editor’s Note: We share the sentiment, and for emphasis just italicized the “potential” before “iconic.”]

  6. I must say guys, I am very impressed with your initiative on this issue given the heated exchanges that have taken place on the topic.
    I pulled a copy of the plan from the transbay redevelopment site awhile back and was very impressed. By the way, for those that are interested, the redevelopment authority holds monthly “Citizens Advisory Committe” meetings in order to keep residents and future residents informed as to the goings-on of the project and also to solicit feeback from them as to how they can improve upon the project. You can also get onto their mailing list if you would like to keep apprised of how the project is progressing.

  7. “But folks, we haven’t seen, read, or heard anything to suggest that street traffic in the area is going to get any better.”
    I think that’s probably a correct statement overall. Traffic congestion could in fact become marginally worse. However, I think the main objective of the redevelopment plan is not to reduce traffic congestion, but rather, to encourage people to want to walk around the area through landscaping and streetscaping improvements. Look at Manhattan for instance. That borough is an absolute mess of traffic congestion, yet it’s a very pleasant place to walk around in many areas because of things like landscaping and streetscaping design.

  8. Making the area more pedestrian is great for walkers, but it will increase traffic in the area. I believe Folsom and maybe a few cross streets will reduce lanes in order to widen the sidewalks.
    Objective 5.3 could result in more stoplights to allow pedestrian amble time to cross the main intersections. The proposed landscaping and streetscaping on the Folsom corridor will be wonderful, but I’m afaid traffic may get worse before it gets any better…

  9. In my opinion, Objective 5.2 is ridiculous.
    The city should put the highest priority on improving vehicle infrastructure. Sure, the cyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation users (I’m all of the above) complain the most, but motorists are still the majority so they should not be ignored. Widening the sidewalks and reducing lanes will only frustrate and anger drivers even more.
    Of course this liberal city would rather ignore the majority (drivers) to make the minority (the complainers) happy.

  10. Interesting Anon….so what exactly would you suggest that they do? Build a double-decker freeway-like onramp, sort of like the old Embarcadero Freeway, so that it will allow for better traffic flow but will look absolutely disgusting for residents of the area?
    C’mon…….get real……it’s a not conservative or a liberal thing…..it’s an urban design thing…….you either commit to a new urban design or you don’t and clearly what is being contemplated is a pedestrian friendly neighborhood that encourage walkers, runners and cyclists to enjoy moving through the area. Would it really be so bad if the drivers were forced to park somewhere outside of the city and ride public transportation in. As you know doubt saw, improved public transportation via a new light rail and the extension of the Caltrain is expected to occur.

  11. One of the things I like most about living in SF, and in SOMA, is that I’m not a slave to my car (if I even had one). Many of us who live here seek that lifestyle. Sorry, but I don’t think the city should cater to drivers at all, and I’m not sure drivers are in the majority. People who can’t bear the thought of getting out of their Tahoe can live in the east or south bay. Or move to LA.

  12. I know that some may react somewhat harshly to Dude’s comments, but face it, this is not Los Angeles, it’s not Atlanta, it’s not Houston…….this is the Manhattan of the west and therefore, why shouldn’t it cater to pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, etc.?
    Why is it so offensive that a city would have a desire for the downtown portion of its 49 square mile area to have less cars in it, thereby creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment and hopefully doing the actual environment a favor?

  13. I’m the Anonymous at October 12, 2006 04:15 PM.
    The majority of the city is already catered to pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. I do all these activities, and I also happen to drive like most SF residents. We have a parking and traffic crisis in SF. I’m not in urban planning so I don’t have any proposals on these problems. I do recognize these problems and I wish whoever’s responsible also recognizes and addresses these problems.
    I’m excited about Rincon Hill. I love running and cycling. But I (like most people) still have to drive daily and hate dealing with the traffic and parking situation in the city. We shouldn’t have “Objective 5.2” in every single neighborhood in the city. Doesn’t make sense.

  14. We should restrict parts of downtown for drivers with special permits during the busiest hours. Anyone could buy these permits, but since it cost $$, less people would use it.
    That’s what they do in Singapore and other Asian cities and it greatly alleviates traffic.
    Doubt something like that would ever happen here though…

  15. Anon…..then what it sounds like you are proposing by rejecting 5.2 with respect to the Transbay Terminal/Rincon Hill area is that the idea of turning that area into a vibrant residential neighborhood (albeit a very urban one) should not be undertaken at the expense of further inconveniencing people that would prefer to drive their cars door to door each morning during their commute and/or into the city on the weekends. This is not something that can be compromised………you either commit to transforming the area or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways. Those two objectives will always butt heads with one another.

  16. I personally like that idea, but how do you enforce it? Do people who violate the requirement get hit with a fine?
    The one argument that I would throw out in favor of the drivers (although I’m for public transportation both in and out of the city and around the city), is that they’ve got to improve the quality of BART if they are serious about getting people out of their cars. I know plenty of people that put up with hell to use BART. It’s really not that great.

  17. Does anyone know if the urban planners, whether they be reps of the City or persons affiliated with private firms, actually check out sites like SocketSite to see what kind of discussions take place with regard to the redevelopment plans?
    [Editor’s Note: Based on a number of tips, we do know that we can at least count a number of employees in the City’s building department as readers. Perhaps they’ll be kind enough to recommend that their cohorts in the planning department “plug in” (assuming they don’t already).]

  18. Yes, cars caught without a permit sticker on their front windshield during certain hours will be fined. Of course it’ll be hard to enforce, but just the thought of getting fined will discourage driving without the permit.
    In Singapore, there are areas called “CBD” Central Business Districts where you need the permit.
    They also have the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), which is similiar to FastTrack, which charges a toll everytime you enter a certain street or district. Singapore claims these initiatives decreases traffic by nearly 25,000 vehicles during peak hours and increases MPH by 20%.

  19. Can we officially (and finally) change the name of this blog to RinconSite?
    [Editor’s Note: Uhh…no. But thanks for “plugging in.”]

  20. I’m all for walking, biking, etc., as much as possible. I live in the area and walk to work and WF.
    HOWEVER, the city has made it very difficult for people that live in the area, esp., with respect to parking and traffic.
    1. The limit on parking spaces for new housing developments is ridiculous. The market should determine how much parking is built.
    2. Families with kids will have cars, almost without question. If we want more families downtown, we need more parking. There’s a family in my building. Because they don’t have parking the mother drives 4 blocks to work because that’s the only place she can park during the day (true story).
    3. Finally, Vancouver, one of the most liveable and pedestrian-friendly cities I’ve ever seen builds plenty of parking for new developments. In fact, there are extra spaces for sale in new developments.
    From my perspective the anti-car bias of the city is misguided and counterproductive.

  21. I personally would advocate there being a sister site dealing exclusively with the redevelopment of Rincon Hill and its residential projects (don’t think RinconSite is too snappy, however), but I certainly would not suggest doing away with the rest of the content that SocketSite provides us. It’s too valuable.

  22. Mike – she drives 4 blocks just to have somewhere to park during the day? I’ve got her problem solved: sell the car and walk. Call me a liberal freak or whatever you want, but San Francisco never has been and never should be car-friendly. My wife and I love living in SOMA and think the Rincon area is great. However, we’re already planning on moving as soon as kids come and we need a car.
    If you want a San Francisco address and yet want to be in a car-friendly, family-friendly area, you can always go to Sunset, Parkside, Richmond, etc., and buy a SFR for the same price as a 2-bedroom condo in SOMA.

  23. Is Mike the only one who agrees that the anti-car bias of the city is misguided and counterproductive? Every day the streets are congested and I know it’s not just people from the east bay.
    Dude, sorry to disagree, but I don’t believe that the Sunset/Parkside/Richmond districts are car-friendly. Family friendly – definitely. But like every other neighborhood we have these ridiculous 2-hr parking limits during the day to park in front of our houses if we even manage to find a spot. Everywhere is crawling with meter maids. And the “street cleaning”? Does that truck even clean anything?
    Don’t get me wrong, I love running and biking in SF, but I got other things to do that require driving and being able to conveniently park at my destination or my home.

  24. I think Anon’s comments definitely are not crazy, but have to be balanced against the overriding objective of transforming the Transbay/Rincon hill area. You can’t cut the drivers out completely, we know (they have rights too), but you also cannot develop that area into a vibrant residential neighborhood without taking the measures that are currently being undertaken. I know I sound like a broken record, but those two objectives are always going to butt heads.

  25. …further on the great driver vs. walker debate…..I must admit that assuming that this quote from a fairly recent 7X7 article comes to pass, it does not bode well for the mental state of the single car driver…
    “If all goes as planned, people will come to think of Folsom Street as the new Union or Polk, and the Rincon/Transbay area as the new Cow Hollow or Russian Hill – a place where city dwellers live, dine, shop and stroll.”

  26. Again it’s all about the jobs. If you don’t have job creation in the city, people are going to need vehicles, especially with the crappy options out there.
    CalTrain and BART are terrible when it comes to coordinating with MUNI / AC Transit /etc. It’s always the people who don’t use the CalTrain and BART *in reverse commute* (from the city elsewhere) who think it’s the bee’s knees.
    Or the city needs to stop being so anti-business and get on their butt to make SF the center of business it used to be. Our idiot Greenies and Progressives need to pull their collective heads out of the backside.

  27. Drivers Beware and SaneInSF both make good points. especially about job creation. If you don’t have an even balance between beds and desks then you force a commute.
    I’m not so sure why so many people oppose the transition away from an autocentric transport system. Sure, the transition will be somewhat painful but in the end everyone wins. We will either detox or stagnate. Is our transportation goal to drive a car through uncongested streets ? Or is it simply to get from point A to B ? Driving isn’t a goal in itself.
    Although convenient, the automobile is the about the least efficient transport mode in the world aside from commuting in personal yachts. If you want growth in a geographically constrained city you have to use your transport resources as efficiently as possible. Car based transport is a dead end street. For an enlightening explanation of just one of the reasons for why this is true I’d suggest reading “The High Cost of Free Parking” : http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/03/EDGFGD1VQ61.DTL
    I really can’t think of a great city where the car rules. Great cities where the car does *not* rule : NY, Paris, berlin, London, Amsterdam, Chicago(downtown), etc. These cities are great places to live and no-one seems to have a problem getting around.
    Cities where the car does rule : Houston, Phoenix, Atlanta, San Jose, Dallas.

  28. “I’m not so sure why so many people oppose the transition away from an autocentric transport system. Sure, the transition will be somewhat painful but in the end everyone wins. We will either detox or stagnate. Is our transportation goal to drive a car through uncongested streets ? Or is it simply to get from point A to B ? Driving isn’t a goal in itself.”
    Well said….thielges….it’s just probably a resistance to doing something that is foreign.
    Take me for example, I am a native of southern California (Orange County), not exactly the pedestrian’s paradise, and also lived in Houston, Texas for 14 years (don’t even get me started there) so let’s just say that before moving to SFO, the automobile and I were an inseparable couple. Quite frankly, I could not imagine not driving anywhere and everywhere.
    Yet now, after having lived in Rincon Hill for the past 2 and half years, it actually feels strange when I have to get in my car to go somewhere (and that’s usually only when I leave the city).
    The point is, if a guy who up until 2004 had only lived in car cities can make the transition, then everyone can get used to the idea of not using a car if they really want to do it.

  29. People are making a lot of comparisons to NYC and other cities. So having lived in NYC, I’d like to talk about two wishes that will probably never happen.
    1- Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of the disgusting fabric seats on BART? They all look to be the original seating from the system first opened. I have heard several say to me they don’t like riding BART just because they don’t like sitting in the seats. The Long Island Rail Road (which goes in and out of the city) has seats with that plasticy-leather stuff. There’s also no carpeting so they can pressure wash inside the cars once in a while.
    2. It really seems that all the different transit agencies in the Bay Area need to be taken over and turned into one entity. NYC in the beginning part of the 20th century had the same messy situation of dozens of bus and train companies/agencies. Eventually the city stepped in and created the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Autority). I belive this would really help create a transit system that would be efficient enough to really start getting people out of their cars. Yeah right. Californians love their autos. This whole idea of one transit agency is probably not very realistic for whatever reason I suppose either.

  30. Great, here comes another NY vs. CA debate.
    If people want a pedestrian-friendly city with good (relative) public transit they should move to NYC. If people want a city with wide open streets for their SUVS but no public transportation, they should move to Orange County. It doesn’t have to be NYC or OC but let the people decide what sort of lifestyle they want. San Francisco is dictating the way we commute by creating these anti-car policies.
    Why not improve the way it already is (car-oriented) instead of trying to turn SF into NYC (subway oriented)? And for God’s sake, why don’t they put all the Muni trains underground? They should be off the surface(like NYC) to give more room for cars, peds, bikers, runners, skaters, etc. The priority should be improving public transit instead of widening the sidewalks.

  31. I would like to second the notion that for these transit-village type plans to work, San Francisco needs to become more attractive to business and generate more high quality jobs in the city. Most of the people I know who can afford to own homes in the City at today’s asking prices are commuting to the South Bay.

  32. NY London Paris Munich, everbody’s talking ’bout: pedestrian friendly transit villages?
    Great discussion about the inherent conflict between pedestrian friendliness and auto traffic in Rincon Hill.
    I generally support the car-limiting policies that are trying to make SF MORE like NYC than Orange County (to use the comparison quoted above). Because, face it…we are a very dense, very (geographically) small city, and much of the city is very walkable. As many area residents have posted above..living in SOMA adjacent to downtown really does allow people to get out of their cars most of the time, or completely abandon them. Bravo!
    I laugh a little when folks demean the idea of transit villages as a workable solution. Because, folks, we live in a transit village…all that we’re trying to do here is reinforce it. The more questionable and difficult place to create real transit villages is in the suburbs where car-dependency is a much greater fact of life.
    However, I understand people’s gripes about transit as an alternative to cars. Yes, transit is completely balkanized in different agencies (BART, Muni, Caltrain, etc) in the Bay Area, and it would work much better if it were unified in one agency, but…good luck on that one.
    The good news about transit in the bay area is that it’s carrying more people every day, and that some things are improving (Caltrain Baby Bullet, for instance). However, in transit you get “stuck” with decisions of previous generations. San Francisco transit is based on a “light rail” model that travels on streets outside of downtown, and that means trains can’t be longer than two cars…so we can never have the kind of capacity on Muni that a place like NYC or London does with completely grade separated systems.
    We do have that capacity with BART, but that serves mostly to get suburbanites into SF (except along the Mission corridor in the city). BART is great at what it does, but definitely has growing pains. The comments about the fabric seats is a good one…when BART was founded it was felt that middle class suburbanites needed the carpeting and fabric seats to “lure” them into transit from their autos. It’s long past time for BART to give up this jetson-era indulgence, and move to a more utilitarian (and cleaner!) material because the system is carrying way too many people now to keep up with the wear and tear. BART pols cling to the past, but it will happen…..
    One more little tidbit… several years ago when Caltrans was studying the bridge retrofit project, they did a license plate survey of all the parking lots south of market near and under the bridge (that would be impacted by the project). The surprising finding was that a very high percentage of the parkers were actually from outer SF neighborhoods like the Richmond and Sunset, and not from the suburbs. This just pointed out that getting to downtown from outer SF neighborhoods on MUNI can take much more time than getting to downtown on BART from the East Bay. Improving MUNI transit time and reliability would have a huge impact on parking and congestion issues downtown.
    For the record (and in response to Mr. Socket’s question), I’m a transportation planner in private practice. I didn’t work on the Rincon Hill plan, but I have worked on other SF plans.

  33. Great response. I won’t be able to outdo that one. Seems like the pedestrian friendly transit village is a good idea. It has to be done right, though. Instead of penalizing people for driving, people should be lured out of driving by having efficient and convenient public transportation. Don’t ask me how – but there are much more intelligent and powerful folks in charge who could possibly make it happen.

  34. For all those looking for an NYC-style life in SF — it ain’t happening unless you get population density closer to Manhattan. We simply do not have enough people who live in SF to support the number of cabs or the public transporation infrastructure that people crave, unless people want to pay $5 per ride on MUNI. Even with all the construction in South of Market, we have a long way to go.
    We unfortunately are in the lamentable position of being in the middle — too tight for a car-based lifestyle, but not enough people to support big-time transit. What we have right now is just the worst of both worlds.

  35. Nah. You don’t want NYC-style life in SF. You want SF-style life.
    You might well say that we have the best of both worlds. A really pretty decent (though not saying it can’t be improved) public transportation system plus the ability to drive your own car if you want to (and don’t freak out at valet parking).

  36. Agree with susapix. And..we could have a much better cab system. We’ve got the density, and the demand. It’s the politics that get in the way.
    Also, look at the success of car-sharing here. It’s a tiny slice of the market, but we’ve got a locally based non-profit (City CarShare) and TWO national competitors (zipcar and flexcar) duking it out. Who would’ve thought that possible ten years ago. Comes right from that intersection of not really needing a car, but not having real palatable solutions (muni, taxis) for certain mobility needs.

  37. BART is actually doing away with the cloth seats and carpets slowly – rode one the other day which was much like the LIRR.
    And if we are caught in the middle of the NYC – OC spectrum, we should develop the city to match the direction we’re headed. We’re not about to start bulldozing skyscrapers to put in stucco McMansions ala Orange County and megafreeways where nothing moves. The LA car-centric model is a failure, which has been proven by LA copycats like Phoenix.
    So since we are building up and becoming denser, public policy should focus on making our lives easier. Totally agreed that we need one local transit authority. Can you imagine how convenient it would be if you could buy a monthly pass from any machine in 1 minute with a credit card, ala NYC? Just takes time and patience.

  38. Totally agree with Dude’s comments about the single transit authority concept. Man, would that makes things so much easier (so would that even consolidate transit authority for water travel, or is that privatized?).
    The question, in my mind, is, does SFO have the kind of political culture that would be amenable to making a change of that nature where you are essentially sacrificing bureaucracy and people’s “turf” (for lack of a better term) for practicality? I have to believe there would be very loud government voices out there that would be unwilling to give up their turf no matter what the benefit would be to Bay Area commuters/visitors.

  39. I agree. I was in Hong Kong this summer and they have these smart passes that you can replenish with cash or credit card. Then you just swipe your walled over the machine. You can use them to pay for all the public transit. You can even use it at the super market and 7-Eleven. The only difference is that you can get around town for a week for like 10 bucks. We’ll never beat that!

  40. I think combining all agencies into one and using one easily-obtainable card to ride all modes of transportaion would even increase ridership, lessening traffic problems.
    But the cynic in me thinks that by consolidating and automating the process, hundreds of unionized bureaucrats and middle managers would be put out of work. So it ain’t happening soon unless the agencies themselves go bankrupt enough to force them to change.

  41. It’s unlikely all the agencies in the Bay Area will ever combine. Unfortunately the model that has built up in the bay area is one of different agencies for different niches. The political barriers to dismantling this system are nearly insurmountable. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission tries to enforce coordination, as a lot of the federal money gets siphoned through it. Unfortunately, the MTC is really only a group of local politians (an SF supervisor usually sits on the MTC as SF’s rep), so alot of the promise of MTC as a regional agency is subverted into local horse-trading (I’ll buy you a bus if you’ll buy me a rail car….).
    However, one project that the MTC has been working on FOREVER is regional fare integration. You’ve probably seen the smart card readers on Muni cars and stations. When fully implemented, this will allow purchase of one fare instrument (a smart card) for use on any bay area transit.

  42. So what is this “SF-style?” I don’t mean to be rude here, but if you think we have the best of both worlds, gimme whatever you’re drinking, because what we have here just doesn’t work. Terrible parking, bad transit, and silly housing and planning policies wrapped up in the name of “green ideas” that sound good, but have no basis in reality, ignore basic economic theory and will simply make things worse.
    I guess SF-style means “self-delusional.”

  43. Here’s my personal take on “sf-style”. I live in a moderately dense neighborhood. I walk to most destinations in the neighborhood (cafes, restaurants, gym)in my “village”. I take transit downtown to work(muni metro…generally works well with some MAJOR exceptions). I will occasionally take transit crosstown, but more often use my old beater car, which otherwise is parked most of the time. It specializes in Costco runs, South of Market bars, and trips to the beach. It so happens that on-street parking is just fine on my street (the virtue of living only slightly uphill from where people want to be).
    I get good exercise walking, and put almost no miles on my car, and fill it up about once a month, so I don’t even pay attention to gas prices. My Muni fast pass is well used. So, I have a good life in my hood, can get around reasonably well, and don’t spend all that much on transportation.
    I think that encapsulates what is good about the “sf lifestyle” – ped friendly, good (not great) transit, and people have decent mobility with cars to get around and do the things they need to do (shopping, getting out of town). That’s how we’re right in the middle of NY and Orange County.
    My major frustrations…and they’re why we are NOT New York….is that I don’t spend as much time in some parts of town as I would like because 1)Crosstown transit pretty much bites; 2)taxis are too expensive (I believe with the recent hike they’re now the most expensive in the country; and 3)Parking can really suck in places like North Beach and the Haight, among others. Because I have no easy and reasonable way to get to these destinations, I miss some of what the city has to offer.

  44. Regarding the fabric seats on BART, I cringe at them as well, or used to until I asked a BART Board person and was told that they they are wool. Wool which doesn’t burn in a toxic nasty plastic mess. When BART first opened there was a fire on a train in the transbay tube and the firefighters were overcome with toxic plastic seat smoke. But, I do try to pick the least stained seat.
    I’m a So Cal refugee as well, from a front door to car door lifestyle. I love SF and the ability to not own a car, but still get out of the city via BART, Cal Train, Car Share, or my bicycle. It may not be for everyone, but why not make it better and easier for those who do prefer not to drive?

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