A proposed ballot measure entitled “Restoring Transportation Balance in San Francisco” has been submitted to San Francisco’s Department of Elections for processing.

From the draft summary for the decidedly pro-car measure, which starts by noting that, “with 79% of San Francisco households owning or leasing an automobile…it is time for the Mayor, the Supervisors, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board to restore a balanced transportation policy for all San Franciscans”:

The Board of Supervisors created a Transit First policy in 1973. In 1999, the SFMTA was created. Its unelected board was granted exclusive authority to dictate the City’s transportation policies. Since then, the Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors public transportation and bicycles, to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation. Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety, and freedom of movement.

The City has eliminated thousands of off-street and on-street parking spaces through new construction and the creation of new bike lanes. The City also removed the requirement that one parking space be created for each new residential unit constructed. To make matters worse, the SFMTA has not constructed a single new parking garage since the 1990s. These out-of-balance policies have contributed to a severe shortage of parking spaces in the City.

If passed, the measure would make it city policy to eliminate the operation of parking meters in San Francisco on holidays, Sundays and outside the hours of 9:00am to 6:00pm and to freeze the fees for meters, garages, tickets and parking permits for five years. The policy for the introduction of any new meters or variable meter pricing into neighborhoods where they currently do not exist would be “upon petition by the majority of the affected household and merchants.”

The measure also calls for traffic laws to be “enforced equally for everyone,” for any proposed re-engineering of traffic flows to achieve “smoother-flowing streets,” and for SFMTA monies to be earmarked for the construction and operation of new neighborhood parking garages. Less experienced Californian drivers may want to attend a California dmv traffic school in order to brush up on the traffic laws within California.

252 thoughts on “Ballot Measure “To Restore SF’s Transportation Balance” Proposed”
  1. This ballot measure is so ridiculous I don’t even know where to start. OK, how about the “Motorists’ Citizens Advisory Committee”. As if motorists interests haven’t already dominated street design for over half a century, we now need a committee to make sure the needs of motorists are understood? Duh! That was the problem that got us into this dysfunction in the first place.
    And freezing the price of RPPs? They’re basically free as they are. If anything the price of a RPP should rise towards the market rate.

  2. While people may wish for a nice utopian 1950’s style city of abundant car lanes and parking, the reality is that we need to keep shifting away from car usage if we have any hopes of fitting the EVER INCREASING POPULATION of this city onto our limited streets over the upcoming decades.
    I know many folks have a hard time thinking beyond the moment, but city policy and infrastructure has to take a 30-50 year view, because it takes that long to shift city land use and infrastructure patterns. To prepare for the population density of 2040, we need to be putting the transit first policies in place today — which is what the city is wisely doing.
    The fools behind this ballot measure clearly cannot see beyond their immediate self-indulgent desires. I hope that this measure goes down in flames and settles this stupid debate for a while. The future involves a lower percentage of car based trips in the city. Time to stop looking backwards.

  3. This ballot measure is misguided. I drive my car in SF a lot, and all the bikers are great. How would I play Frogger without them?

  4. If transportation were balanced in San Francisco, riding Muni would be faster and more reliable and motorists would have to pay a greater share for the multitude of costs incurred by their driving (costs that now go uncollected – such as widespread environmental damage and financial burdens carried by public health in the form of injuries, deaths, asthma, etc.). If you have had the good fortune of travelling to or living in many an Asian, European, or Latin American city then you have likely seen what a city with a transportation balance looks like. In cities with such a balance, multiple rapid rail or bus lines allow a majority of residents to quickly get around town and such cities also have far more bicycle paths that are physically separated from cars (and not sandwiched between parked cars and moving cars). We, as a city and a society, remain very addicted to our cars, and we have a long way to go until we achieve “balance” in our transportation system. This ballot proposal is not about balance unless your perspective is through a windshield.

  5. I hate this. One of the main reasons I moved to San Francisco is because I hate driving. I love living in a walkable city with decent available public transportation. I got rid of my car and quit driving when I moved here, and I never want to drive again.

  6. This sounds like a nightmare. At least to me, as a public transit-riding, bike-riding, walking, not-car-owning resident of San Francisco.

    It reads like it was written as a fantasy and/or wet dream of someone in love with their car and totally unable to understand or empathize with people who use other forms of transit.

    And don’t get me wrong, cars are great! Convenient, fun sometimes, and maybe necessary depending on your life. But they have been prioritized for far too long at the detriment of so many other people. SF is small & compact enough that we could have a really great public transit and bike network! But no, everyone gets their undies in a twist if someone so much as thinks about inconveniencing drivers in the slightest.

  7. While I don’t see this passing, it is a little frightening. Maybe they haven’t read the study that said the streets of downtown are predicted to be in total gridlock without getting cars off the road? Surely no one is silly enough to want more cars on the road.

  8. Finally, some sanity! It’s about time we put some adults in charge of transportation policies in this city.
    My grandmother keeps falling of the back of my bike when I’m taking her to her doctor appointments. She has been complaining about this for years.
    My kids are tired of getting soaked every time I pick them up from daycare when it’s raining. I even extended the carrier rack on the back of my bike to accommodate both. I’v been telling them this is how we get along in a communal society like San Francisco. We must follow the rules…not make any waves…follow the path of our great leaders.
    I told both to write to their elected polls and voice their complaint….but be careful not to expose their true identity for fear of ending up in a reeducation camp.
    My kids want to vote on this…can we lower the voting age on this one???

  9. bigV, new in town?
    San Francisco has not had an “EVER INCREASING POPULATION” The population peaked in 1950 at 775,357 and then basically declined for the next 50 years. Not until 2000 at 776,733 did the population return to it’s 1950’s level.

  10. @Keepitup – you realize that the more people that ride transit and bicycles free up road space for you to use your car for those errands, don’t you?

  11. Let’s have a ballot measure to ban urban planning by ballot measure. We elect supervisors to set policy and we pay lots of city employees to act within those policies. Planning by ballot measure favors whatever special interest is funding it.

  12. @inmycountry
    new to studying history?
    the 1950’s were the period of massive introduction of cars and suburbs. people moved out of SF to the easily accessible new suburbs. over the next 50 years the bay area built out, and by the 1970’s the edge of unbuilt farm land was pushed far far from the city. By the 1980’s the population flows reversed as it was no longer easy to build suburbs on virgin farm land and drive into SF. The near environment was built out, and density in the city started increasing again. It took until 2000 to surpass that original population peak, which is when housing prices started going up for real. This trend is continuing — we no longer have easy expansion into farmland, so SF is going to keep getting denser……
    the last 60 or so years of population shifts are all about the car. They fueled rapid expansion out of the city, and are useful for low density population centers. they are *really* great if you live in rural areas, and suburban areas. but they are misplaced in a dense urban area.

  13. “San Francisco has not had an “EVER INCREASING POPULATION” The population peaked in 1950 at 775,357 and then basically declined for the next 50 years. Not until 2000 at 776,733 did the population return to it’s 1950’s level.”
    San Francisco is way more crowded over the years.
    I think daytime population would be most telling here. A big FIDI district was created served by BART and SF, another is now growing SOMA and SF is a big draw for entertainment now more than ever in a very large Bay Area.
    Usually though I think people are referring to crowded with cars and adults. SF is really way more crowded with both.

  14. @S
    “you realize that the more people that ride transit and bicycles free up road space for you to use your car for those errands, don’t you?”
    Geeeezzz I had no idea that my car could not fit between the parked cars on the roadways in SF.
    And here I’v been driving on the sidewalks all this time…..my bad.
    Dude….you ever ridden the 42 on 3rd in the morning? Packed like sardines in a can…..

  15. Pretty much every street in the city has been built with cars in mind. Some also have bike lanes, and a few (like Market downtown) are prioritized for Muni. That sounds pretty balanced. Aside from the parking shortage, I’m not sure what they’re mad about. And why regulate parking spaces anyway? Let the market decide if people are willing to live in a place without parking. As far as enforcing laws equally, that’s fine too. For every cyclist blowing through a stop sign, I see just as many drivers who use bike lanes as loading zones. Tickets for everyone!

  16. One of the biggest problems in SF is that it is structured like a medium sized city with way too many single family neighborhoods. The region and individual demand is screaming for more residential density and smaller units. We need way fewer cars and way better public transit access to the city
    People who need cars excessively and more space should do what me and my family are doing and that is moving to a suburb with kind of good (another problem) access to downtown via public transit.

  17. I’m against anything that encourages more driving in SF. Particularly anyone trying to use the bay bridge to leave the city around 6pm on Friday evenings or enter the city around 6pm on Sunday evenings.

  18. The argument that a significant percentage of citizens can be identified as being poorly served is what allowed creation of bike lanes to move forward.
    There is a big difference between providing spaces for cyclists and giving away free parking or subsidizing parking. Charging for exchange of valuables allows market dynamics to balance supply and demand which if anything is even more important for parking.
    Calls for enforcing traffic laws equally could backfire. When a cyclist knocks someone down it is a news story, but when a vehicle operator kills someone it is just another wayward pedestrian. Trying to force this issue might result in more drivers being sent to jail.

  19. This is a joke right. Cars have indeed been massively subsidized and accomdated at every level in our society for the past 50 yrs:
    1. Giant freeways criscrossing through the heart of traditional (pre suburban)cities.
    2. Unsutainable Surburban “cities” covering the entire country.
    3. Massive subsidies to oil companies.
    4. Declining auto worker benefits and wages.
    5. Multiple auto industry bailouts.
    6. Massive tax loopholes all up and down the auto industry supply chain.
    7. Some crazy amount of people being injured and killed in auto accidents every year (particularly devestating when coupled with a “whack” healthcare system).
    8. Public realm, right of way (streets) given almost exclusively to cars.
    9. Environmental costs are massively externalized.
    10. Damn, we even fought wars to support use of cars.
    I have an idea. How about car owners start paying somthing closer to the true cost of onwership before they start asking for more accomodation.
    And SF is HARDLY the paragon of a good pedestrian and public transporation environment.

  20. Bike parking is free for cyclists. They just tie up where they want.
    Bike lanes are free for cyclists.
    Bike insurance and registration is still not the law.

      1. The 2012 US Census ACS data for San Francisco shows 31.4% of households do not have a vehicle available. Since it has a 1.5% uncertainty, the number is about two-thirds to 70% of households have at least one vehicle. I don’t think they track ownership to the person.

        The CA DMV stats show about 485,000 registered vehicles in SF. I think that includes commercial vehicles.

        FWIW, SF has been in the range of 0.5-0.6 vehicles per person since at least 1980 and the current ratio is about the same as it was back in 1990.

        Whatever happened to the segway revolution?

  21. Not until 2000 at 776,733 did the population return to it’s 1950’s level.
    The population in 1990 was higher than 1980, meaning that at some point in the 80s the population began increasing, which is how it was able to increase back up to peak by 2000. So at the very least we’ve had an increasing population since 1989, probably more like 1984ish.
    Of more relevance is population of households, rather than total population. The fact that we are at peak population now in spite of household size significantly smaller than in 1950 indicates that many, many more ADULTS (ahem, who drive cars) are here.

  22. @Sam: That makes a lot of sense. Gridlock so completely eliminates the problem by removing cars. Voila! No gridlock and empty streets (and no jobs because business cannot function in the city).

  23. @Futurist: Those damn bikes. They get away scot-free, causing potholes and wearing out our roads and not having to pay a dime to do it. Why is it that bicyclists are exempt from sales, income, and property tax? Why must motorists pay about 60 red cents per gallon of gas? And even though my street is free to park on (as are all the streets in my neighborhood), I once had to shell out three quarters to park my car. There is no balance here. Cyclists should be coughing up more for the space they take and the resources they consume. I propose a 25 cent per psi fee to be collected whenever a cyclist puts air in their tires. I have had ENUF.

  24. This is a joke, right? First of all, policy by referendum is simply a bad idea – we elect politicians to construct policy along with city agencies.
    I guess with the waterfront height limits proposition on the ballot, the horse is out of the barn and every special interest group in SF will be jockeying to get a proposition on the ballot that benefits them at the expense of others.

  25. The sleeping giant has awakened. This is the first cause of action by the once silent majority that is fed up with the ineptitude of commuting in the city. Making the roads more congested for cars purposefully by taking out parking spaces and removing lanes increases greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. If there was aplan to build about 10 new subway lines I would say, heck yeah, to hell wth cars! But until then, we will be LA north, dependent on automobiles to get to work on time and for commuting effectively. If biking is such a great alternative, why are so many of them so surly?

  26. My partner and I own a car for good reason. Transit sucks in this city. Regardless, I have a monthly MUNI pass to ride to and from work every weekday while he takes the car to commute from the Sunset to the Marina (15 min drive versus 45+ min on MUNI).
    What we need is more investment in real transit. Hell, I never gave owning a car a thought when I lived in NYC or Washington, DC. Here, it’s different. Let’s see..should I take MUNI all the way from the west side of town to 4th/King (requiring a transfer along the way) to hop on Caltrain to head to SJ for a delightful 2 hour minimum trip OR drive 50 min.

  27. @sf: related to your point, LA has seen the error of its ways and has more transit projects in the pipeline than the entire Bay Area. In SF, we’re still fighting to make the Central Subway something actually useful by extending it through NB to the wharf. Concurrently, Geary transit remains a joke. Same said for Van Ness. BRT? LMFAO!

  28. again not just households even
    It is daytime population, it is sports events, it is entertainment, it is dining, it is shopping, it is tourism.
    This used to be a self contained city and now it is basically the main downtown for the Bay Area of 6 million people. We are now building a huge new second FiDi
    Think about it

  29. For those who are frustrated by driving and parking and commuting conditions in the city, your effort would be MUCH better spent advocating for better transit than backing retrograde actions like this proposition.
    Keep fighting for better Muni — that is the answer. And it is possible — if we unite for it, rather than people trying to go backwards to the 1960’s.

  30. I am not negating the future of SF being significantly less dependent of cars. But where I do agree with this measure is that it needs to occur NATURALLY.
    If SF is really as pedestrian friendly and “transit first” as people claim, why does everybody own cars? Compared to, say, NYC or Chicago or DC. It’s because our city really isn’t all that pedestrian friendly, and we are certainly far far far from the mark when it comes to transit.
    I have long felt that MTA has been trying to make car ownership so miserable (parking fees, reduced street parking, limitations on parking in new development, etc) in order to get people out of cars and on to transit.
    The truth of the matter is that transit is miserable here, and is extremely difficult for most locations. I own a car and so does my GF. We will continue to pay through the nose for the privilege, not because we are out to kill the environment or are bad urbanites or whatever, but because for our commute needs, public transit (both in the city and in the greater area) is not adequate. In fact, not even close.
    And I do use MUNI, but to say it is so comprehensive that driving is unnecessary is completely untrue. Case in point? It took me 40 minutes on the 22 last week to get to Fillmore/Chestnut from 16th/Valencia. The drive time on Google Maps? 9 minutes. As long as it is more efficient and easier to drive from place to place in the city than it is to take MUNI, people will continue to buy and use cars.
    You want to eliminate cars from SF? Do something about transport. Stop trying to legislate away demand for cars. It will happen, and quite naturally, when people don’t need them.
    Not to mention that just because your lifestyle allows you to live car free does not mean it is a valid lifestyle for others. At large here is a healthy does of ableism, agism, anti-family policies, and a complete disregard for tradespeople as varied as plumbers, architects, realtors, contractors, property managers, inspectors, etc that need to get from place to place quickly. Sort of funny that the proponents are progressiveness who theoretically take the underserved needs of the community into account…SF is not just a city of single-people who are healthy, relatively young, and live close enough to work to eliminate car ridership.
    If you want people to choose to abandon car ownership, come up with a transit system that works.

  31. Cars have been subsidized because that was the plan. And so many people now rely on that plan. The problem with the anti-car people is that they are ripping up something many people rely on and yet have almost no plan of their own. Bike lanes are not a plan, there are many of us who can’t bike everywhere for any number of reasons. (And I like biking!) A massive investment in BRT with limited numbers of stops throughout the city might be a plan, but for some reason it isn’t happening. Muni rail expansion is stalled.
    And all of this is predicated on having large scale development near transportation hubs. Again, for many reasons, walking half a mile is not an option or at the very least is not enjoyable to many people.
    As someone above said, removing parking while building 10 muni lines would be a good idea, otherwise, removing parking spaces while doing nothing else useful is a self centered and entitled move by a very privileged segment of the population.

  32. This is what happens when you REFUSE to allow off street private parking to be built, remove street parking spaces, spend all your time and money on bike lanes, and then wonder why the majority of San Franciscans are fed up.
    Imagine if the SFMTA had spent all their time and money on improving MUNI, instead of punishing drivers and basically acted as a a better paying alternative for SFBC staffers, many of whom move on to MTA managment six figure jobs after “putting in their time” at the bike coalition. The MTA needs to concentrate on MUNI, not on making part time resident Leah Shahum happy.

  33. why does everybody own cars?
    Um, they don’t? No matter what this initiative purports as “facts”, we have census data on this, and it shows that more than 30% of households do not own a car. That’s not just people without cars, but entire households.

  34. @Anon – I have the stat at 28.56% of the households in SF do not own cars. So, that is 71.44% of the households in SF that have decided they need a car in this city. That is a pretty significant majority, no? For a city that is theoretically so easy to get around via transit? Compared to DC with only approximately 63% of the households owning cars, and NYC with approximately 44%. Jersey City and Newark are also close to the NYC number. I am no transportation network, but I would presume some causality with an incredibly effective inter-city and intra-city transit system when it comes to NYC and DC, one that “transit first” SF does not have.
    If you fix MUNI to make it efficient, underground some more rail lines (whether MUNI or BART) and make it easier to get around via a transit system that is virtually universally regarded as slow, unreliable, inefficient, and dirty/unpleasant, I think you would see more people willing to part with their cars.

  35. It all started back a few years ago when a bunch of bike activists and some city officials went to Amsterdam, saw the bikes and said “lets be just like them”.

  36. The problem is that encouraging cars will create more traffic. One good thing about the bikes is without them – whoa, even worse traffic. So this is misguided.
    I do think RPP are over priced. Basically they raise the charges on everything they can because it seems it’s too hard to raise taxes. So they hit you with this sort of fee. And the towing charges! Yikes! I was teaching when I got towed and it blew my budget for months. I went down to the tow lot and a poor guy was trying to sell his stuff on the sidewalk to get his car back. Very bad, why is it still so expensive? I’d vote for a measure that cut towing charges in half.

  37. This proposition will pass so fast and so hard the sonic boom will reverberate in the bike nuts ears for a decade. Welcome to the majority backlash.

  38. It would be interesting to know the statistic of how many own cars but take public transit to work, school, errands, etc., which is my case. My car is old, has been paid off for years, and I have a parking spot in my building’s garage. Since it’s considered a “pleasure vehicle” by my insurance company, it only costs me about $50/month to keep. When I want to use it, I have immediate access and it’s cheaper than renting a car. It just makes financial sense.

  39. San Francisco is in that middle ground where there’s not enough density to support a non-sucky transit system and crowded enough to have a lot of traffic.
    You want good transit? Support building the density that will allow for it.
    It’s the usual San Francisco MO want to have their cake and eat it too, which creates such dysfunction. Why can San Franciscans get their head out of their asses?

  40. Everything that JWS has said in this thread, a thousand times over.
    Not sure why this isn’t obvious. Our public transit system is not sufficient.

  41. @JWS I agree with you that MUNI should be fixed.
    However, SFMTA can not fix it. Why? Because MUNI is entirely unionized, and the last thing a union wants is efficiency, since that would probably mean firing workers. Not to mention that unions are extremely similar to NIMBYs and will actively resist any and all changes proposed.
    As for building more subways, I think SF is more concerned with spending $100M+ a year on homelessness than it concerned with making the city more transit friendly.
    So what does SFMTA do? It make drivers lives horrible so that the taking public transit is actually a better alternative than driving, and since public transit in SF is what it is that means they have to make the laws really punitive for the general populace to take public transit.

  42. What’s crazy is that it’s frequently heard here and elsewhere that “people don’t have a right to live in San Francisco if they can’t afford it. If the rent on a 300 square foot studio is $2000 a month, so be it.”
    Yet the idea that anyone should have to pay $2000 a month for a 300 square foot parking space– or $200 a month, or $20 a month– seems to drive the same people bananas. I mean, upthread you have someone saying “I do think RPP are over priced.” They cost $8 a month. $8.

  43. The RPP program cost is capped by state law. Much like the commuter bus program the SFMTA is launching later this year for $1 per stop per day, the costs can only be those that are required to run the program. It cannot be a tax or fee beyond that.

  44. @Alai good point. Subsidized parking, yes, but market price housing. Priorities are totally out of whack.

  45. It sure is interesting, as Alai points out, how many who are very aware of the price of real estate in this city rise up in defense of the status quo and resist the notion that it should cost anything to store private property on public streets. Each parking space is about 140 square feet. Unless you’re parked in a metered spot (and you’re feeding the meter), your street parking spot is subsidized by all taxpayers. The nominal cost of RPP only covers the administration of the program (and not the actual expense of maintaining said parking spots).

  46. How about a competing ballot measure titled
    “Fix Muni First”
    That actually funds muni improvements, breaks the muni union which is strangling it, removes 1/2 of all muni stops (so muni moves twice as fast), and dramatically expands BRT network through the city, as the quickest and cheapest way to improve service. (we can start underground more things too, but that is slower and costs a lot).
    Question: would you give up some space on streets for cars (to make room for BRT) if it came with vastly improved and efficient public transit system?
    Who wants to write the ballot measure?

  47. Its about making Mass Transit Attractive , NOT , by penalizing the Public for wanting to get to their destinations in a timely manner ,
    That means , turning the Middle Lane of Market St into a Transit only lane , and removing the curb side transit stops.
    That means , not charging a premium for Event Shuttles to promote mass transit usage.
    That means making it faster to get to Fell St from the South of Market, and not slowing down Geary at Japan Town.

  48. @Alai good point. Subsidized parking, yes, but market price housing. Priorities are totally out of whack.

  49. So, that is 71.44% of the households in SF that have decided they need a car in this city.
    You have a stat showing that 71% of households have a car, not that 71% of households “decided that they need a car”. I own a car but use it once a month, maybe. The reason I still own it?
    The city has interfered in the market and drastically underpriced and subsidized street parking permits, so I can just leave it on the street for what amounts to free. Market price the street parking and I’d sell my car in a heartbeat (well, probably give it to a friend or something, it’s not worth much, the reason I haven’t bothered selling it – 1994 Accord).

  50. I am convinced now
    NO MORE FREE STREET PARKING IN SF!. Say no to this subsidy to car owners! Let’s be like Japan

  51. It is probably time that motorists fought back . I am not sure that this initiative is the best way. Voting against the Vehicle License Fee on the November ballot might be more effective.

  52. I own a car, but I hate this proposal! One of the cit’s greatest charms is its walkability. And the public transit system here may not be world class but is improving. And I’m glad the SFMTA has focused on bicycle improvement. When a trip can be done safely by bike, that’s what I take rather increasing street and parking congestion in my car.
    And even if I did drive my car everywhere, I wouldn’t want this. Extra garages will increase cars and street congestion, while the price freezes on existing garages and meter spaces will make open spaces harder to find when I need them.

  53. Do people seriously think they elect politicians that will do the right thing? Look at any Supervisor race for example. None of them are even half-competent. It is just the choice of the lessor evil.
    And you favor these people making decisions that affect your lives? Anyone who believes in that concept is beyond a complete moron. There is no word for how dumb that is.

  54. So the argument is that the electorate is too stupid to elect leaders who can competently run the city, so we should allow the electorate to vote on everything?
    The stupidity of this argument is baffling.

  55. People that are expecting some huge pro-car owner surge of support for this will be disappointed I expect. I know in our household of 3 adults that own 3 cars (thank you $9 a month parking spots right in front of our place) there will be 3 votes against this. There are a lot of us car owning hypocrits in SF that are fine with transit first policies.

  56. R – Yeah, I’ve always been baffled by that argument. The voters in SF are too dumb to elect good politicans instead electing all these left commies to the BoS, so that is why we need the same dumb voters to vote on laws written by special interest groups.
    Obviously voting on propositions/inititives is the superior way to go because it produces such smart results like rent control and Prop 13.

  57. agreed with Rillion — there are many many car owners who will vote against this. I can name a large number of them right off the bat, including our household. It is only the short sight and self-indulgent who will back this proposition.

  58. as a motorcycle rider, im all in favor. Sick of the non law abiding cyclists. almost hit one every day.
    while i hate the referendum process in this city, i will still vote for this and assume it will pass as majority of citizens here regularly use cars.
    One of the reasons i chose SF over NY is that it is still very car friendly.
    By the way, i am also in favor of transit 1st policies, but dont think our elected officials are capable of objectively implementing the best policies. They are heavily lobbied by the bike coalition and way too much emphasis on bike lanes. If transit 1st meant halting bike projects and that stupid idea to infill the geary tunnel to create a fast bus in order to save for a Geary or Van Ness subway, then i am definitely all for this. These guys need to think 20yrs down the road, not about now or 5 yrs from now. Bike use will always be a very small minority of commutes.
    We do need to keep dedicated fast streets for traffic so people can get across the city. Slowing traffic in fast moving places like bush, geary, franklin, gough, 9th, 10th, folsom, etc is going to hurt the economy in the long run.

  59. This ballot measure isn’t a backlash or groundswell of a silent majority. It is simply a symptom of the weaning pains of a group so accustomed to subsidies that they will do anything to hang on to them. Kind of like the 3rd world despots who hang on to power no matter how obviously unjust they are.
    Suppose you’ve been going down to the government commissary every day for dinner on porterhouse steak, a half a bottle of fine wine, and topped off with a creme brulee. You’ve been paying a constant $2.50 for this meal since the 1960s. Now more people are moving into the city and it is harder to get a table. Plus they just raised the price to $3.50.
    Of course people are going to complain and demand to be seated immediately. They’re so accustomed to the old ways when SF was a sleepy city riding the wave of urban decline. And three fifty for dinner? What an outrage!

  60. i think its a backlash against city planners who dont know what transit 1st really means and are sick of all the policies focused on bike lanes.
    these same people wouldnt be so upset if all that money were going to new subway lines

  61. bigV,
    I’m not arguing your points, just your ALL CAPS statement…which is incorrect. As a matter of fact, I don’t own a car.
    As for “studying history”…I from here, I lived it.

  62. After this gets creamed at the polls, will all you bike and Muni haters finally get with the program?
    You know who you are.

  63. Billionaire Donald Fisher tried to something similar back in 2007 with Prop H and even after spending lavishly, he lost 55/45.
    Those who don’t learn from their history are doomed to repeat it. The breakdown will be more like 60/40 this time.

  64. @moto mayhem – that may be the perception but less than 2% of the SFMTA budget goes to bike projects (and 7% commute by bike). haters gonna hate…

  65. “It took me 40 minutes on the 22 last week to get to Fillmore/Chestnut from 16th/Valencia. The drive time on Google Maps? 9 minutes.”
    That is 2 bus rides – the 24 and 22 as I recall, not just the 22.
    But 9 minutes in car..? Good luck with that!

  66. It’s funny how many of the same commenters want both more density and more cars. How is this supposed to work – add three more decks to Market Street?

  67. Who is the actual person(s) behind this? Where is the money coming from? Is this initiated by the ENUF or Polk Street/Russian Hill neighborhood groups? Or Rob Anderson’s group? or the Save Masonic people? I’m just curious how this all happened.

  68. @REpornaddict – Nope. Just the 22. One bus the whole time. And I can routinely get to the Mission from the Marina, and vice versa, in 10 minutes in a car. Take Gough to Market. I do take the bus to avoid parking at times…other times I take Uber because I’d rather pay more for a 10 minute cab than a 30/40 minute bus trip + a 5-10 minute wait for that bus.
    I would take a subway daily.

  69. I think there is a problem with bicyclists who don’t obey traffic laws. But the answer to that is not to get rid of bike lanes and flood the streets with more cars. The right answer is to write a bunch of tickets on bicyclists.

  70. JWS If it really only takes you 10 minutes to get from the Marina to the Mission then there really is no problem here regarding commuting by car, is there?

  71. Oh this thing doesn’t even have signatures yet. Let’s see if they can even get past the first hurdle.

  72. Just after dinner, I came out of a restaurant to see my car and at least 6 others (all in a row) along the Embarcadero with the same parking ticket ‘NOT WITHIN SPACE.’ All of the cars, including a gigantic pickup truck, were all perfectly within their spaces.
    Needless to say, I plan on disputing the ticket with photos and the like, but I expect it to be a complete and total waste of time.
    If this thing makes it to the ballot, I’ll be voting for it. The SFMTA clearly cares not a whit about the people they work for. It would be nice to send them a message.

  73. I don’t want more cars on the streets. I want more garages to store cars.
    I believe we have a phrase for this: “I want to have my cake and eat it too.”
    You can’t have more car storage without more cars on the streets, unless you find a way to meter car usage.

  74. If you live in the inner-sunset, you would know that very few of the bicyclists do not obey traffic laws. As “lark” stated: “The right answer is to write a bunch of tickets on bicyclists.”

  75. Car owners complaining about an “unbalanced transportation policy” is like Tom Perkins bitching about the 1% being persecuted.
    I have a car, and there’s not a chance I’d vote for this.

  76. @BobN – agree 100%. I live in a transit rich part of SF and use MUNI and BART (or walk) when it makes sense which is most of the week. But enough of my life takes me elsewhere – down the Peninsula, up to Tahoe, over to Marin, that I own a car. That’s life in America and has been since the 50s. It’s not that weird – and if you make enough $$ to live in SF you probably have a car, too. That’s reality, so let’s make a plan for putting them somewhere.

  77. fogmachine has it right. The reality is you need a car in SF, with very few exceptions. Another anecdote: I ride Muni to/from work every day. My kids walk to school (25 min. walk, would take about the same by Muni). We walk most places. But twice a week, my 10-year-old has basketball practice at 6:30 a.m. You better believe I drive her there. Takes about 5-6 minutes each way. Alternatives are getting her up and walking/Muni at an even more ungodly hour and wasting an extra 40 minutes of my day, or I suppose lining up a cab/uber for the round trip (no way am I putting my 10-yr old daughter in a cab with one of those guys alone). We only put about 5000 miles/yr on the car, but we save literally 100s of hours a year when we do drive.
    A car is a must have in SF, unless you are poor or your time is way less valuable than mine or most people’s. That is why 70% of SF households own a car. Assume about half those w/o a car simply cannot afford one, and you have an overwhelming majority of SF residents choosing to own a car if they can afford it. That is reality. So any plan needs to include that reality and not be based on the fantasy of those few who choose the inconvenience of not owning a car.

  78. “A car is a must have in SF, unless you are poor or your time is way less valuable than mine or most people’s.”
    This statement is so wrong but does provide an window into the arrogance of those who equate car ownership with success and importance.

  79. “JWS If it really only takes you 10 minutes to get from the Marina to the Mission then there really is no problem here regarding commuting by car, is there?”
    This *2!!

  80. Success for me these days is not measured by whether I can do stuff with a car, but by whether I can do these same things without one in less time. By having other people do stuff for me for instance or by being very close to all that matters.
    Car ownership being associated with wealth? Maybe in 1958. Maybe in a third world country. Every schmuck can own a car in this country, even in SF.

  81. MoD, boy, you sure misinterpreted that statement!
    Do you disagree that free time is a limited and valuable resource for most people? For those who have lots of time on their hands, great – I envy them.
    I take Muni to work for the simple reason that it is faster! 20 minutes door-to-door via KL or M, whereas driving, parking, and walking to the office would take almost double that in rush hour traffic. That Muni is cheaper too is a bonus.
    I drive when it saves time, which is not always the case but it often is. Simple as that. That is the reality of SF.

  82. Fortunately, I’m rich enough to NOT have to deal with owning a car. What a gigantic pain. Uber works a bazillion times better for trips within SF or short jaunts to the East Bay/Marin/Peninsula, and I can have a rental car company drop me off a car for out of town trips within about 15 minutes of the call. Spontaneous trip to Tahoe? No problem, M3 will be outside the front door in 15.

  83. yep, uber, etc. can work for some, although it is certainly not as quick or convenient as just pulling out of your own garage in your own car. And like I said earlier, no way am I sticking my 10-year-old daughter in a car with some strange man.

  84. “A car is a must have in SF, unless you are poor or your time is way less valuable than mine or most people’s. That is why 70% of SF households own a car.”
    What a d-bag. I’m going to go out and vote against this initiative just to cancel your vote for it. Assuming a rich, “busy” halfwit like yourself even has the time to vote.

  85. OK, well teetime, I’ll vote against this too. So that’s two! I guess I apologize that I value my time more than you do?

  86. “That is why 70% of SF households own a car. Assume about half those w/o a car simply cannot afford one”
    Bad assumption I think. The map is a little out of date but if you care to look it seems at least in part also correlated with density and not income as pretty poor areas that are not dense have high car ownership rates
    Anyone from here knows lot of people used to live in places like Nob Hill without cars. Hell my uncle was a corporate lawyer and went decades without a car living on Dolores St. (and maybe went years without leaving SF city limits too LOL)
    I don’t see why we can’t create more areas like Nob Hill and North Beach? Hayes Valley is a good example of this process. It seems part of our DNA to have areas like this. I like to walk around areas like this and visit. I can’t live in areas like this now because I have two kids. I might want to live in an area like this when they are off to college. I like choices.
    Don’t like it? Do what I am and move a few miles.

  87. although it is certainly not as quick or convenient as just pulling out of your own garage in your own car.
    Strongly, strongly disagree. The inconvenient part of driving in SF is parking at your destination. The reason I take Uber is that I actually VALUE my time, and don’t want to spend 20 minutes circling for parking.

  88. No, being too poor to own a car is the major factor in SF for not owning one. You are just looking at a very limited exception to that rule. From SF Planning’s analysis:
    There is a strong link between vehicle availability and income. Block groups with the highest vehicle availability have median incomes more than four times those of block groups with the lowest vehicle availability. Major exceptions to this trend are the neighborhoods of Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill and North Beach. This is due to the high levels of neighborhood services, their location adjacent to a major job centers, access to quality transit, and high parking costs. The implications of this on the Market/Octavia plan area are discussed in the Neighborhood Comparison section of this memorandum.

  89. yes we all know poor people often can’t afford to own cars and this is a major factor because of logic.
    The exception described is kind of the point we are discussing here and the type of neighborhoods we are expanding. Are you being purposefully obtuse?

  90. I guess I misunderstood you. I estimated that about half the 30% of SF residents who don’t own cars because they cannot afford one – pretty reasonable to assume the poorest 15% of SF households cannot afford to own a car. You responded that was a bad assumption. I guess we are now in agreement that was a fair assumption, but now we are talking about something else, like neighborhood density. I did not realize you had changed the subject.

  91. @SF and REPornAddict – No, there is no issue commuting by car whatsoever. This “traffic” outside of like, the freeway entrances at rush hour, that everybody seems to complain about is virtually non-existent. The issue is parking and car storage.
    It is so outrageously difficult to park here, and the city seems only intent on reducing parking spaces with parklets, “living alleys”, bike lanes, limiting how much parking new construction can contain, etc. To me it seems like an extremely thinly veiled way to force residents to give up cars and take MUNI/Public Transport.
    The problem is that if it really does take 10 minutes to get from the Marina to the Mission by car, and 40 by bus, why on earth do you expect people to willingly give up cars, taxis/UBERs, etc? If we had an NYC or even DC styled subway line that mimicked, say, the 22, and it took 15 minutes by subway, you would see a lot more people willing to get rid of theirs.
    I have no problem if cars are not a part of SF’s future. But that decision has to be rational and, like housing, we cannot legislate away demand simply by making it hard to park. Fix the transport and people will take it. So while I may not agree with all the nuts and bolts of this particular ballot, I certainly do agree with the general principle.
    Bikes and walking are for single, healthy/athletic, relatively young adults with shorter commutes. If you are older, not as mobile, have children, have a longer commute, are disabled, have to carry significant objects (ie you can’t afford grocery delivery) as part of your daily routine, etc bikes and walking are not particularly viable choices for all of your commute needs. Which leaves you with MUNI or car usage. If MUNI was effective, you would see a much more significant amount of the population willing to forgo both car ownership and daily usage.
    As it stands, over 71% of the households in the city believes owning a car is needed to at least some degree, and I agree that some of the additional percentage would own one if they could afford it. And to those who say that a statement as simple as “Many of the people without cars simply cannot afford one” is offensive are completely deluded. I would absolutely imagine that is true. If we know that a city with great, or even better, transit, like NYC (44%) and DC (63%) has lower household car ownership, then can we really look at our “walkable, transit first city” and say that we don’t have our head up our asses?
    For example, I live in the Marina. Walkable? Hell no. I can walk to Cow Hollow, sure, and Russian Hill, and I can walk to North Beach in an hour, but the sheer geography of hills makes it an extremely taxing walk, and I’m a 20 something in relatively good shape. Transit first? It takes me 40 minutes to get to some destinations in the NORTHEAST quadrant of the city, forget about a quick “jaunt” on MUNI to the Sunset or Dogpatch or whatever, and outer neighborhoods are completely implausible. I literally don’t know what some of you are thinking when you say this city is pedestrian friendly (it is on a very small, neighborhood scale, sure, but not for getting around the city as a whole) and transit friendly.

  92. I will be voting for this. I live in South Beach and work in Concord. My reverse commute takes me 29 minutes in the morning and about 35 in the evening. I’ve tried doing transit (walk to Embarcadero, take it to Concord, take bus from Concord to where I work). In a best case scenario where everything’s on time and there’s no lag time, it’s 70 minutes each way. And then once I’m at work, I can’t do errands or go anywhere else because I’m stranded.
    And don’t even get me started on trying to date women in Sunset or Richmond. It’s a 29 minute drive and twice that by transit with a direct shot. There should be more underground parking open to everyone in order to stop cars from driving around the street looking for ever-decreasing parking. We need more SFMTA garages or private ones. Union Square has the right idea with Sutter-Stockton, Ellis-O’Farrel, and Mason-O’Farrel.

  93. So your 28 mile commute takes 29/35 minutes by car, and you feel that’s not good enough? So you want to vote for this so the SFMTA can dedicate more resources to improving that commute?
    There are single women in the Sunset?

  94. GMJ highlights the major failure of SF’s “transit first” policy. Commercial developers use it as an excuse to create no parking, but that is the extent of “transit first.” No new “transit” has actually been created. It is a joke.
    I’m all for more transit – first and foremost. And I’m all for more parking since a car is necessary for a large majority of households at least some of the time, and it is far better to get those cars off the road and into parking rather than having them circle the streets hunting for a spot.

  95. “Bikes and walking are for single, healthy/athletic, relatively young adults with shorter commutes.”
    With the possible exception of “healthy”, this statement is otherwise wrong.
    The city’s policies aren’t about getting *everyone* to bike and walk. They’re geared towards making walking and biking more accessible. Twenty years ago you had to be a hardcore biker with nerves of steel to use a bike everyday. Today the situation is still far from great but it has opened the door to attract more people to bike and walk.
    Remember, every time a new person begins to commute by foot or bike, it frees up space on the streets and parking lots for those who wish to drive. This win-win situation is what the proposes ballot measure seeks to destroy.

  96. “I live in the Marina. Walkable? Hell no. I can walk to Cow Hollow, sure, and Russian Hill, and I can walk to North Beach in an hour”
    used to take me 45 to walk from Fi Di, beyond North Beach to Marina when I lived there.
    I think we can conclude you drive faster than I do, and I walk faster than you.
    Off topic, but very concerning the number of drivers now using phones while driving, a very dangerous practice which seems to be increasing exponentially these days.

  97. I estimated that about half the 30% of SF residents who don’t own cars because they cannot afford one
    Where did you get this estimate? You’re basically implying that ~100,000 people in SF live in households that cannot afford a car, which is ludicrous.

  98. I live in the Marina. Walkable? Hell no. I can walk to Cow Hollow, sure, and Russian Hill, and I can walk to North Beach in an hour
    You’re just talking about neighborhoods that are close enough to walk to from the Marina, and sure, there aren’t that many (only more than 99% of neighborhoods in the US). But…the Marina is certainly a walkable neighborhood in itself, unlike again, 99% of neighborhoods in the US.
    This ballot initiative would make it less so, but it would make parking cars easier. If that’s what you’re looking for in a neighborhood, why not pick one of the existing 99% of neighborhoods in the Us that already do that? Why do you move to a neighborhood and then want to change it to be like all others? I’ve never understood this.

  99. The median annual household income of the lowest quintile (20%) of SF households is a tad over $12,000. Maybe I was too conservative. Probably 20-25% of SF households are too poor to own a car. 15% was a good estimate for just throwing it out there.

  100. The amount of folks in SF who only do not own a car because they can’t afford one has to be in the very, VERY low single digits (like maybe 2%). Owning an old beater is astoundingly cheap – which is the reason why the Fillmore and Bayview have some of the highest auto ownership rates in the city along with some of the lowest incomes.
    The only place that people might run into issues is affording parking, but of low income neighborhoods in SF that’s basically only the Tenderloin where that’s an issue. If someone chooses to live in the Tenderloin, it’s likely they did so EXACTLY because of the density, not because it’s the only place that they can afford (it’s not cheaper than many, many suburban and car-friendly places).
    This entire discussion that car ownership in SF is driven mostly by income is just absurd on so many levels.

  101. A few bullet points:
    – 47% of San Francisco residents commute by foot, bike or transit. It is very unlikely that any of these people will vote make their daily commute worse. This ballot measure fails if just 2% of car commuters vote against it.
    – Only poor people don’t drive? I work for a 20 person computer consultancy in downtown SF. We are right across the street from a parking garage. Not a single person drives; it’s all buses, bart, walking or bikes. We even have a bike rack in the office.
    – People who value their time drive? I used to live in the Outer Sunset and take the N-Judah to work. Door-to-door it was 40 minutes. However, working in computers, I could do stuff on the train: read emails, news or a book. Sure, my trip was 10 minutes longer then driving but while driving I can’t do anything but drive. I always felt driving was for people who don’t value their time.
    – Can’t raise kids without a car? Please explain that to my 15 year-old son. I had no problem taking him to and from school on the bus. I loved that time. I could focus on him during that time without worrying about driving the car. I’ve known plenty of folks who have raised their kids without relying on cars.

  102. The median annual household income of the lowest quintile (20%) of SF households is a tad over $12,000.
    I think someone doesn’t understand how medians work.
    We all know that there are a sizable number of people who make zero income in this city, though it’s likely that they moved here precisely because of that fact. If they moved here for that purpose, we can hardly say that they are living without a car because of income rather than by choice.

  103. Let’s indulge this assertion that there are a sizable number of people who make zero income in this city, though it’s likely that they moved here precisely because of that fact. With zero income, they can’t afford a car. I never said that all of those too poor to own a car would own one if they could afford one. Just said that a fair percentage (about half) of the small percentage (30%) of no-car SF households can’t afford a car.

  104. agree with JWS on traffic in SF. It is a low traffic city and very fast to get across town in a car. The problem is not traffic but parking. solution. motorcycle.
    i can get anywhere in under 10. Will never step food on Muni again. Although would gladly take a subway if one existed.
    SF has done nothing to improve public transit in the 20 yrs ive been here. if they are not going to improve transit, they might as well improve conditions for drivers. somebody should win. if its not the majority who either take transit or a car, it sure as hell shouldnt be the elitist 3% who take bikes.

  105. I never said that all of those too poor to own a car would own one if they could afford one.
    But you used that notion as an argument to support the notion that the “vast majority of people in SF want a car”. If people move here who don’t want a car, it doesn’t matter whether they can afford one or not. They still don’t want one.

  106. fine, you want to argue that every single person that is too poor to own a car (i.e. about 15% of the population) wouldn’t want to own one if they could afford it, go right ahead! Still leaves 70% of SF households, a high majority, choosing to own a car. Because they recognize you really need one in SF.
    Two types of people hate to hear this — the cars-are-the-devil nutjobs, and otherwise sensible people who really, sincerely wish that SF was like Paris or NY and you didn’t need a car here. Hate to burst your bubble, but simply denying the facts isn’t going to win you any arguments.

  107. @SimpleSimon, where did you get the 47% number from? I am not disputing the number, but would love a link or some type of backup.

  108. fine, you want to argue that every single person that is too poor to own a car (i.e. about 15% of the population) wouldn’t want to own one if they could afford it, go right ahead! Still leaves 70% of SF households, a high majority, choosing to own a car. Because they recognize you really need one in SF.
    You keep claiming several things with no basis in fact:
    1. 15% of the population can’t afford a car. Where are you getting this number? By extrapolating from the median household income of the bottom 20%? That’s um, a stretch, to say the least.
    2. I never claimed that all people too poor to own a car wouldn’t want one. You DID claim the opposite, that every person too poor to own a car would want one.
    3. I’m part of the 70% of households that owns a car, but I completely reject your notion that I “recognize that I really need one in SF”. As stated far above, I only own a car because the cost has been subsidized by the city down to practically nothing. If they market-priced parking instead of subsidizing it to almost free, I’d certainly get rid of my car. I also own a juicer that I received at my wedding but have never used. That doesn’t mean that I “recognize the need to own a juicer”, it means that my costs to keep it are basically nothing, so why get rid of it?

  109. “my costs to keep it are basically nothing, so why get rid of it”
    Puh-leez! How much is your insurance? How much is maintenance? How must is gas? How much does your garage cost you (or, if you park on the street, how much is your permit and how much time do you spend having to move it around and search for street parking)? What’s the value of the car itself? If you’re getting a subsidy for all that, please tell me where I can sign up for it!
    Hey, maybe you feel guilty or “not green” or “not liberal” because you recognize the necessity of owning a car in SF – and thus you own one. But weak arguments aren’t going to convince anyone of whatever point you are trying to make!

  110. As I mentioned above, I drive about once a month. It’s a 1994 Accord, insurance is less than a $100 a year (liability only, it’s not worth anything to me). My RPP costs less than $100 a year – that’s the subsidy. The market value of 200 sq ft of land in the city is clearly a couple orders of magnitude higher than that.
    Maintenance and depreciation are basically zero for me. The last oil change I got was a year ago, and that’s basically because it had been two years prior to that. I put 700 miles on the car last year. I tend to use Uber for all short distance stuff (my time is worth something, I don’t want to spend time finding parking) and fly for other travel (and certainly rent a car there when needed).
    There are a lot of people like me, that just keep a car parked on city streets because the city is basically paying us to do so. The solution isn’t “more parking”, it’s market pricing the existing parking. I’d get rid of my car in a heartbeat then, just need the incentives to line up.
    As with most things, when the government attempts to plan the economy, it fails. I know that you love your free lunch, but someone is paying for that (all of the folks who spend minutes/hours searching for parking each and every day).

  111. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/10/us-cities-where-fewest-commuters-get-work-car/7390/
    You can see that San Francisco has the 4th largest non-automobile commuters.
    Nationwide bicycle use is rocketing upward. People are realizing everywhere that bicycling and walking are the best way to get around for the environment. The both also have great health benefits as well. Millennials in particular see the risk from global warming and embrace efforts to make the world a better place.

  112. it sure as hell shouldnt be the elitist 3% who take bikes.
    6% of all trips are by bicycle, 16% of San Franciscans are frequent cyclists (two or more trips a week) and 43% are occasional cyclists.
    What percentage of trips are by motorcycle I wonder?
    If you hate the number of cyclists now, you are really going to hate what San Francisco is going to look like in the near future moto mayhem. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that 20% of overall trips would be made by bicycle by 2020. That is over three times what we have today. Maybe you should consider turning in your leather jacket for spandex 🙂

  113. “Imagine if you will some of North America’s best cycling infrastructure, including separated lanes, plus a civic government determined to make your metropolis a haven for pedal-powered commutes no matter what the cost. And finally imagine nearly perfect weather for cycling: not too hot, not too cold.”
    “Despite new and better cycle lanes, the number of work-day peddlers remained stagnant after ’08, even dipping slightly, while the number of cars stayed the same.
    “Six years later the number of cyclists remains the same, and Portland is finally saying enough.”
    I know San Francisco is not Portlandia but the interesting point of this article is there are only so many people than can select bikes as their first transportation choice.

  114. “The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that 20% of overall trips would be made by bicycle by 2020. That is over three times what we have today. Maybe you should consider turning in your leather jacket for spandex :)”
    You know as well as I do that it will never get to 20%. The BOS are not exactly known for doing the right thing long te. They pretty much cater to the whim of the day.
    As for me, I mountain bike in fairfax nearly every weekend. I get on a road bike occasionally and head over GGB for a ride. My only city cycling is ocassional ride in GG PSrk or presidio with non cycling wifey. I commute via car 20 miles each way 4 days a week. Public transport would take me 1 he 30 min with a few transfers. I use the motorcycle mostly to zip around the city. Cycling a great. I just don’t think the transportation policies should focus on bike lanes. This city needs a subway system bad. Muni is 3rd world. Doesn’t compare to any class A city.
    I only zip though bike lanes when there’s no cyclists by the way. But cyclists running stop signs does bother me, as well as the attitudes shown in critical mass. I once had a fountain drink thrown at me for honking when they blocked an intersection. I didn’t take it well

  115. “But cyclists running stop signs does bother me, as well as the attitudes shown in critical mass.”
    A friend of mine, an avid cyclist and surfer, gave up on doing Critical Mass many years ago out of embarrassment with the sense of self-entitlement shown by some of the riders. He said their attitudes took all the fun out of what could have been a good-natured event.

  116. “I only zip though bike lanes when there’s no cyclists by the way.”
    How about kids and parents getting in and out of cars, hot shot? How about people turning right? What an entitled prick.
    How’s this:
    “I only text while I’m driving when it’s safe.”
    “I only run stop signs when it looks clear.”
    “I don’t pay my taxes, I mean plenty of other people do, why should I have to?”
    Why don’t you break out of your narcissism and recognize that you live in a community with other people? I hope the cops get you before a car door does.

  117. MANY of the bike riders here are like the Cliven Bundys of urban cycling.
    Bottom line is that they just don’t LIKE the rules and laws of the road and they aren’t about to follow them.
    Their attitude: “Why should I?”
    Hopefully, the pro-car ballot measure will qualify and pass. Time to stop wasting any more money on bike lanes.

  118. The cops are cracking down these days. Two hundred twelve bucks for blowing through a stop sign is the ticket cops are writing. There must have been enough complaints to move the needle.

  119. A bike rider in a bike lane is one thing.
    A motorcyclist in a bike lane is an exponentially larger a-hole.

  120. Having spent a couple of weeks driving in the third world (and on the other side of the road, even!), I find this entire thread hilarious.
    I can just imagine you people freaking out because someone did something that delayed you for 0.04 seconds … or made you swerve, or brake.
    Go drive a few hundred miles in Thailand or India. That’ll teach you a few manners about respecting your fellow road-users — be they bikes, rickshaws, horse carts, cows, camels, scooters carrying an entire family, buses, trucks, vans, tuk-tuks, or any other form of wheeled or hoofed conveyance.

  121. We’re not talking about someone “delaying” us for a few seconds.
    It’s about bike riders following the basic laws. Period. We’re also not a third world country.
    Recently saw a cyclists get pulled over by a cop at 24th and Bryant for flying thru a stop sign. Quite a crowd had gathered to watch the circus.
    Damn funny. He argued. He lost. Nice fat ticket.
    Expensive and embarrassing little lesson.

  122. Well, see, over there — no one obeys any traffic laws. But somehow, miraculously, they all get around and get along anyway, even without the cops standing there writing 6,500 baht tickets!
    See? You can get along without the heavy hand of government dictating your every move. It’s possible. Mind-blowing, I know, but true.

  123. Jimmy, the USA drives many more miles per capita than either India or Thailand, yet we have a much lower rate of traffic fatalities per capita than either of them.
    This is at least in part because we’ve chosen to forego some liberties to save some lives.

  124. @Jimmy,
    I’m not sure I want to engage in the rules of the road common in Thailand or India. We have enough problems without adopting the premise that the larger vehicle ALWAYS has the right of way.

  125. Well, to be fair, they should probably wear seatbelts over there. And having 3 or 4 (or 5) people on one scooter … also not extremely prudent behavior. But at least they have the choice to exercise free will.
    And driving tens of thousands of miles per person, per year is not exactly something to be proud of unless you enjoy the “liberty” of being trapped in a car for hours every day.
    But, OK, fine… go through life defending your right of way, never cede anything, and, yes, people will get hurt here too.

  126. San Francisco’s bicycle commute mode share is estimated to be 3.8% in 2012, compared to 3.4% in 2011 (page 4). (2013 San Francisco Bicycle Count Results)
    I am not sure where some are getting the statistic that 20% commute by bike as this is false. http://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/2013%20Bike%20Count%20Report.pdf
    I also do not understand the moral superiority expressed by bike commuters. Their self righteous attitude reminds me of religious fundamentalists who refuse to accept other lifestyle choices and refuse to believe any way but THEIR way is right.
    I’m an architect and on Monday I have a client meeting in Portola Valley, how am I to get there other than a car? Later next week our office has a client walk-through outside of St. Helena, and a job site meeting in Ross, I am going to using my car to bring plans, material samples, product binders, etc. So because I am sinning by using a car, I must be punished for my sin with less parking, less traffic lane space, more fines and parking restrictions, etc. etc.
    Of course, if I just have a day at the office in the city, I usually just take the Marina Express to work. My two bikes are used often for recreation, and on the very rare occasion I may cycle to work. Whether there were dedicated bike lanes or not would not make a difference as my transit choice is based on weather, speed and time, what I need to bring to the appointment, and whether transit even goes to where I need to go. So even though I am in the vast majority I am a sinner? How can 3.8% of commuters feel they must dictate how the rest of us live and get around the Bay Area?

  127. As a fellow architect, I applaud your comments and agree with them completely.
    We live in a city now, even though our strong culture is based on freedom and open-ness to live your own way, MANY live a very hypocritical life: I have said many times that these bike zealots want us to live just like them.
    They truly do believe that their way, biking all the time, anywhere is THE best way to live. They call cars “death machines”. They refuse to obey basic (and very simple) traffic laws. We dare not call them out on their cycling skills or lack of respect, for we will likely get the middle finger or a loud epithet from them.
    They are largely immature, self-entitled NEW people to The City. They lie about the number of cycling commuters.
    You are not a sinner. Nor am I. We are rational, intelligent adults who know the limits of urban cycling.
    Hopefully if this ballot measure qualifies and passes, we will restore some sanity to our city, and that driving is an important and vital part to MANY of us who live in San Francisco.

  128. @AnotherArchitect No one said that 20% of trips are currently by bicycle. Please point out the exact phrase that you misunderstood. Do you mean this one “The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that 20% of overall trips would be made by bicycle by 2020.” I thought that was clear enough, but if you want, I can try and restate it in another fashion.
    Many cities all over the world have bicycling at 20 mode share and San Francisco will join them sooner or later.
    Bicycling is helping to save the environment and is supported by 3/4 of all San Franciscans. 75% of San Franciscans think that cycling is good for San Francisco. 2/3 want more bike lanes.
    There are a few arrogant self-entitled car drivers that believe they have the right to speed, endanger people’s lives, pollute the air and destroy the planet for their own comfort and convenience. Thankfully, their numbers are declining rapidly as they are dying off and not being replaced. Young people “get it.”
    Automobile usage will never go away entirely, but it is rightly seen my a vast majority of San Franciscans as pernicious to the planet. How do you justify your destruction of the environment Futurist? How do you justify the suffering you are causing? Do you just not care about anyone other than yourself?

  129. Traffic Deaths a Global Scourge, Health Agency Says
    1.24 M killed in 2010 in automobile accidents:
    In the US 34,000 are killed yearly and another 60,000 are killed due to the pollution from motor vehicle exhaust. More Americans have died in traffic accidents overall than in wars.
    2.6M Americans injured in motor vehicle accidents yearly:
    Do I really need to go on? Yes, motor vehicles are very risky, to their occupants, to the unfortunates who have to share the road with them and to everyone who has to breathe thire exhaust fumes. We can and should reduce and ameliorate this risk as much as we humanly can.

  130. NoeValleyJim, must we again re-post where you admitted YOU own and use an automobile? “How do you justify the suffering you are causing?” “Do you just not care about anyone other than yourself”?
    BTW- great job ignoring what was posted that only 3.8% of commuters use a bike.
    “Yes, I do own a car now, after 20 years of no car ownership. ” Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 12, 2012 12:25 AM

  131. Must we again note that using a car and advocating for making the need to use a car less necessary are not conflicting?
    I advocate for increased usage of renewable energy sources, but that doesn’t mean that I need to go live in a cave in order to avoid using non-renewables.

  132. Everybody needs to take a huge step back and look at the much larger picture:
    San Francisco is one VERY tiny city on this planet, contributing a miniscule amount regarding pollution, accidents and use of streets.
    Cars are NEVER going away. The very small percentage of urban cyclists here are not really making a dent in our transit policies. So what if they get to be maybe 20% in 30 years. Big deal.
    The rest of the world moves on. You all make like biking is going to change the planet. It’s not.
    The so called “saving of the planet” by cycling is essentially irrelevant. The more important issue should be to develop a superior transit system that serves every neighborhood in cost effective, efficient, convenient, safe way.
    And, additionally, we need to (soon) phase out engines that use fossil fuels and create electric/solar vehicles for our cars.
    The cars won’t go away, but the way we power them CAN change and that CAN truly effect the planet.

  133. The percentage of trips made by bike in SF numbers are easy to misuse.
    First, the sources of these estimates are not very exact. For example, the US Census 2012 ACS found that 3.8% of SFers commuted via bike with a margin-of-error of 0.7%. The 2011 SFMTA mode share phone survey found 4% commute by bike and 3.4% of all trips are by bike (0.3 MOE).
    Second, all of these numbers only count residents of San Francisco. According to the Census, that means they count about 450k SF resident commuters of which about 17k commute by bike.
    But the Census separately counts 265k commuters from outside SF to SF. And it counts many thousands that commute through SF, such as about 5k residents that commute between Marin/Sonoma and San Mateo.
    Just adding these commuters while still ignoring the flow across the Bay Bridge and 101/80 that never stops in SF, and bike as a percentage of all commutes in San Francisco is about 2%. And the percentage of all trips made in SF by bike is about 2.5%.
    And none of this counts how the 130k tourists SF averages per day get around or anyone that travels into SF to shop or for entertainment.
    Even the most generous SFMTA estimate of total bike trips in SF at about 70k per day is not much more than the number of taxi trips (50k/day) plus the various uber/zip car services.

  134. Futurist – most of the environmental impact from cars has nothing to do with tailpipe emissions. Electric cars won’t make that big of an impact compared to finding ways to simply need fewer cars. That’s why things like self-driving cars are such a big deal – they’ll enable you, me, and everyone to use a car whenever needed, without actually needing to have separate cars.
    It won’t matter much if they’re still gas-powered though.

  135. It’s a laughable conceit to think that even forcing 20% of commuters in SF to use bikes would make one iota of difference on a global scale.
    I’ll give you an example — Mandalay, Myanmar. In that city, 5 years ago, about 75% of people rode bikes to work. As their economy improved recently, nearly 100% of them were able to buy $200 Chinese-made scooters. Now bikes are probably less than 3% of the traffic in that city based on what I saw last month.
    That’s 6 million people on scooters with no pollution controls whatsoever.
    Now… do you still think we can make a dent in anything? We are too few, and too irrelevant on a global scale.
    Bikers… get over yourselves.\\
    Drivers … take care for your fellow humans, even those on bikes, and yield. Even if you “own” the right of way.

  136. Yeah, bottom line is that a tiny percentage of residents are ever going to commute by bike. Bike evangelists need to be honest about that or they just sound like ranting psychos.
    Nevertheless, it makes perfect sense to build out bike infrastructure. Cycling may not be that practical on a large scale, but it is healthy, clean, and fun, and it should be encouraged. And it is a good way to get around for some people for some tasks. Same goes for walking. You don’t need to resort to crazy talk to support these projects.
    Mass transit is where the real money should be spent. SF transit is pathetic outside of the market street corridor (where it is quite good — and why we chose to buy there). Good mass transit can move whole cities of people around efficiently. Even “biking havens” like Amsterdam rely on mass transit to really move people where they need to go.
    And cars are a big part of the equation. Again, simply pretending that reality does not exist gets you nowhere. Lots and lots of people drive in Amsterdam, for example. SF is much less dense, and that is why 70% of households have cars here.
    “Transit First” makes perfect sense. It’s just that it has been a slogan only in SF, not a reality. But a sensible transit first plan also needs to encourage walking and biking, and include sufficient parking to keep traffic flowing.

  137. Having infrastructure for cycling in SF isn’t meant to stop global warming. It’s to give people options, and as a small part of planning a more livable city. Very few traffic lanes in this city have been converted to bike lanes– and the primary reason has usually been for traffic calming rather than for bikes. Valencia Street is a much more pleasant place now than when it had 4 lanes of higher speed traffic.

  138. Dan, I think the global warming discussion was in response to one person saying that someone using a car was destroying the planet. (Even though they own a car themselves)
    Nobody is against bikes, and everyone wants more transit, it is more a “BALANCE” as to what this city needs. I for one want more and better public transit and would be willing to be taxed for it. At this point I can only dream about the Central Subway someday extending to the Marina, but hope it is in my lifetime.

  139. Nobody is against bikes
    Disagree strongly with this statement. There are many folks in this city and in this thread that are adamantly opposed to spending anything on bike infrastructure.

  140. agree with JWS on traffic in SF. It is a low traffic city and very fast to get across town in a car. The problem is not traffic but parking. solution. motorcycle.
    i can get anywhere in under 10. Will never step food on Muni again. Although would gladly take a subway if one existed.
    SF has done nothing to improve public transit in the 20 yrs ive been here. if they are not going to improve transit, they might as well improve conditions for drivers. somebody should win. if its not the majority who either take transit or a car, it sure as hell shouldnt be the elitist 3% who take bikes.

  141. @anon:
    You’re confused. Lots of people “like” bikes and biking. And yes, it’s healthy, clean and fun you say. I agree.
    Being just because someone is against more bike infrastructure does NOT mean we don’t like biking.
    The trouble with biking infrastructure implemented here in SF is that it is out of balance, and has NOT taken into consideration the negative impact “some” bike lanes have had on traffic congestion and loss of parking.
    And BTW, your comment on self-driving cars: They’re a joke. And there you go again telling us what we “need”.

  142. You want a city that’s more designed around cars? Then get the hell out of SF and move to the suburbs.

  143. ^Huh? I didn’t say anything about you needing self-driving cars. I said that to make any dent in carbon emissions it’s going to take something like that, that is truly transformative. Piddly little things like bike infrastructure and electric cars for rich countries will do nothing.
    And I still say that you are adamantly against bikes, your posts speak for themselves.

  144. “You want a city that’s more designed around cars?”
    SF fits that bill pretty well. From where I live (the Castro) I can drive everywhere but downtown quite easily. Traffic is only bad during short periods or regularly rare events. I use Muni to get to the financial district for work, shopping, or to go out at night. Cabs/uber if I’m going to drink too much to drive and I’m going to a place where Muni is not convenient (i.e. much of the city).
    Actually, walking is my primary transportation mode. Muni to/from work. Car quite often, but it only adds up to about 5000 miles a year, and most of that is Tahoe for fun or Sacramento for work. Biking for fun. SF is pretty good for driving a car. I would Muni more if it made sense, but life is too short to waste time waiting for buses.

  145. Self driving cars have absolutely nothing to do with carbon emission reductions.
    UNLESS they are fully electric. Being self driving is a dumb idea anyway.
    Not “against” bikes. I’m against the imbalance our city leaders are promoting for bikes without doing anything to create a great transit system…and make it easy drive here.

  146. One big factor behind the white buses such as GOOG is that they allow employees to work while commuting.
    Now self-driving cars also allow you to work, which kinda begs the question: if Googlers have the option of an individual car where they can work while on the road, aren’t they going to give up their white buses and clog the roads?
    That would be the greatest irony of all for the anti-white-bus crowd.

  147. “I would Muni more if it made sense, but life is too short to waste time waiting for buses.”

  148. Small minds have a difficult time envisioning change that actually matters, because changes like that require you to think outside of the box.
    Emissions are a red herring, and detract from the 100 other environmental impacts of cars (creation, transportation, and disposal of batteries, for one, wide streets built with enormous carbon-spewing machinery, for two).
    Self-driving cars allow the realization of personal rapid transit, where no one actually needs to own a car on their own but always has access to new and 100% working cars to call at will 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some will continue to buy cars for themselves, just as many people probably still buy gigantic encyclopedia books, but it will quickly be a fringe group.

  149. I have a really big mind. Just beam me right to where I want to go immediately. If you tell me “no way” then I will just tell you that you have a small mind.

  150. Just beam me right to where I want to go immediately.
    It’s already happening. Today’s version of “beaming” is remote work. And it beats commuting every time, self-driving car or not.

  151. I’m certainly not going to tell you no way, just that it’s probably not going to happen in our lifetimes. Eventually though. Self-driving cars are the step in between.

  152. Now self-driving cars also allow you to work, which kinda begs the question: if Googlers have the option of an individual car where they can work while on the road, aren’t they going to give up their white buses and clog the roads?
    The beauty of self-driving cars is:
    1. Real-time congestion pricing, which will make congestion much easier to manage. If you want to leave during the time that everyone else does, be prepared to pay for it.
    2. Much more efficient use of road space, spreading road use across the entire grid of roads in real time.
    The most important step will be getting all of the non-self-driving cars off of the road, but I imagine that will be fairly quick, once the technology is proven.

  153. Let’s just get one of those robot cars to do my work for me! That way you cut out the middleman part of the robot driving me so I can work while sitting in it. And you really free up the roads.

  154. The folks advocating for better public transit are spot on, and most energy needs to focus on making that happen.
    Cars are necessary for a good number of people, but many people are forced into it because of a lack of infrastructure for cycling, public transit like bart or streetcars, Etc. We need to be cognizant that if we take the radical view we miss sight of the benefits of cars and their beefier cousins: weekend trips, hauling furniture and other heavy things, food, supplies, and other such needs of our modern civilization.
    Taking the long view, it is clear to me that the car centric path is inherently unsustainable. It is hard for me to imagine people arguing for a more resource intensive and wasteful way of life, when sustainable methods prevailed in the past and will ultimately prevail whether we feel we are entitled to more resources or not. The car centric philosophy has also led to many undesirable consequences: unbearable congestion, lincreased sprawl and commute times, dissolution of local communities, pollution, an economy increasingly dependent upon oil, car accidents, sedentary lifestyles,, among other such issues. Cars have become indisposable, but the pendulum has long since swing too far in their favor. A modern society needs to find some balance between sustainability and quality of life.
    In the short term, subsidizing parking will lead to a poor management of the limited resource of space here in SF. The parking issue could use attention, but solutions in the form of parking garages are private and cost money, not taxpayer dollars. Cars have a parking issue because they are space intensive, there has been poor responses to the issue in the past.
    It is important to respect that this city wasn’t built up around the car. It is because this city was largely built pre car that it developed the neighborhoods and character that make it desirable to live, among other reasons.
    The writers of this proposition use the term balanced without comprehensive support with facts or vision with respect to alternative use of space or monetary resources. Yet, bike advocates and car people need to understand it isn’t a zero sum game, not us versus them. The fact of the matter is that alternatives need to exist, and as of now the alternatives to cars, muni, and bikes are fraught with a lack of support and shared vision on what balance and equitable resource allocation looks like.

  155. EL Jefe, have you ever viewed the “Trip Down Market Street” filmed in 1906?
    It shows the transition from horse drawn vehicles to cars that were both sharing Market Street with trolleys and pedestrians in a VERY dangerous collision with little traffic laws in place over 100 years ago.
    I also take issue that the San Francisco neighborhoods have “character” because they were developed pre-car……Which neighborhoods? I own in the Marina and it has a lot more “character” than Rincon Hill does now (Rincon was pre-car, Marina was not). Rincon Hill was destroyed long ago so we could have lots of tall towers to help please Socketsite “density! taller!, bigger!” boosters.
    I don’t think we should pretend that San Francisco neighborhoods were better designed just because they had wood plank sidewalks, hitching posts and horse carriages with associated flies and manure instead of cars parked along streets. “Dirt Carters” used to transport horse manure after it piled up so high along street edges that crossing became impossible to “manure blocks” where it was left to rot and stink. I guess taxpayers used to “subsidize” horse drawn carriages parked for “free” along Grant Street?”
    Poor Bike riders had to subsidize dirt carters even back then! Why didn’t they demand dedicated manure free lanes?
    Los Angeles developed neighborhoods pre-car also and at one time had the largest rail transit network in the world! You could ride from Pasadena to the beach in Santa Monica in less time on their rail system than you could now attempt to drive it on freeways because of modern traffic.

  156. Rincon was pre-car, Marina was not
    What? Rincon Hill has been completely redeveloped in the car area, the Marina has the same form as the 20s, well before what is generally recognized as the car area (post-WWII).

  157. Correct. Rincon Hill was ruined, but the Marina was built post car PERIOD. Almost every original structure in the Marina includes a garage, so how do you explain why the Marina has character? Have fun in your pre car fantasy San Francisco. Be sure to watch where you walk stepping over horse manure and urine.

  158. Hey WayBackWhen – Take a closer look at that old Market St. film and you will see that it was staged to inflate the number of cars seen. You’ll notice the same two cars passing the camera over and over.
    That film is used frequently to fool people into thinking that cars were common than they really were way back when.

  159. The Marina has much less character than North Beach, Nob Hill, or the Mission. None of those neighborhoods have horse manure, as far as I can tell. Human feces sometimes, sure, but that’s part of the character.

  160. Anon 9:13,
    Thanks for listening and understanding.
    Way back when,
    Sorry if if my statement of “pre-car” wasn’t clear enough for you. Anon seemed to have gotten the point, thankfully.
    Seen the clip before. It’s quite interesting and there are so many discussion points. So much has changed since then.
    Sounds like you must be familiar with life in early San Francisco; you describe it all with such accuracy right down to the smells. Cyclists most certainly paid taxes back then too, just as they do now. Parking garages would have been paid for through private means back then, had they been necessary. Feel free to reread what I wrote about pre-car and let me know I you have any further questions. You seemed to have missed the point the first time around.
    Your reference to Los Angeles is such a great show of support for a stronger public transit in SF. If you have any early videos of Los Angeles at that time, please share.

  161. MoD,
    Much happened between the 1906 film and 1915 when the Marina was developed. Including the introduction of the Model-T Ford in 1908 with sales that eventually exceeded 15 million cars.

  162. In 1955 there were also about 100,000 fewer households in the city. The populations may be similar, but SF of 1955 had a lot more kids (who don’t drive).

  163. There are about 70,000 more people in the city now than when that film was made, but I think the point was that the traffic NOW is caused by people who live outside the city. If there was better regional transit people would not need to drive to work and shop here.

  164. ^Except that’s simply not true. Adding 150,000 cars to the city (number of cars owned by residents), as we have since 1955, is undeniably the biggest aspect of traffic within the city. Outsiders contribute some, but there were commuters in 1955 as well, and while commuting into the city has increased, so has transit (BART didn’t exist in 1955).
    The biggest issue is that around 1955 we stopped letting the market decide how much parking was needed, and instead forced all developers to build one parking spot per new housing unit. We didn’t realize how bad this was going to make traffic at the time, and we didn’t recognize this mistake until the late 90s. Even now, we REQUIRE 1:1 parking in more than 85% of the city, which is continually making things worse, instead of simply letting the market allocate appropriate levels of parking.

  165. Even Ed Reiskin has admitted at MTA public hearings that 30% of San Francisco traffic has been shown to be caused by people circling looking for parking. People have posted links to SFMTA studies in the past on this site that show how this figure was calculated.
    How did so many amateur traffic engineering experts decide to locate in San Francisco? Whether it is Leah Shahum from suburban Florida, or all the other bike know it alls who come to “the city” and decide they know what is best for how existing residents should get from place to place, it is astonishing how many people feel they know what is best for the city without any professional or educational background in traffic/tranist engineering.

  166. ^Incorrect. He was talking specifically about commercial areas, as have all of the studies that have been linked to.
    Which is why myself and man others here are overwhelmingly in support of market pricing all parking – ESPECIALLY parking in commercial areas where we already have a wildly successful implementation of this.
    Why do so many folks posting on Socketsite believe that socialist parking policies work? Haven’t we learned that socialism leads to shortages?

  167. ” He was talking specifically about commercial areas, ”
    Ummm, thats because commercial areas are usually the ones with parking problems.
    Drum roll … people dont circle for parking in places with plenty of parking.

  168. Actually the lack of 1:1 parking in new developments is what’s causing the congestion: people circling around looking for a parking spot, as those spots continually fade due to the excessive new bike lane infrastructure resulting in fewer parking spaces.
    Who doesn’t get that?

  169. The lack of market pricing is what’s causing congesting. Correctly pricing something will always lead to a balance between buyers/sellers. Government giving away something for free or well below market value is what causes shortages and lines.
    Who doesn’t get that?

  170. Ummm, thats because commercial areas are usually the ones with parking problems.
    I thought we were talking about congestion? Your claim was that 30% of congestion was caused by circling drivers, not that most parking problems were in commercial areas. Are you changing the topic now?

  171. “The lack of market pricing is what’s causing congesting. Correctly pricing something will always lead to a balance between buyers/sellers. Government giving away something for free or well below market value is what causes shortages and lines.
    Who doesn’t get that?”
    Exactly. It’s now very easy to get a spot on Valencia, since they have pricing based on demand. No circling needed, just a LOT of quarters.

  172. It sounds like people want to legislate in such a way that only the rich can drive. If you put meters in every neighborhood, what will those people do who make 50k per year, can’t take pub transport due to commute? What you guys are suggesting is to remove car use for the non wealthy. Maybe we can then fill the city with mopeds like Southeast Asia. And as far as driverless cars go, count me and my husband as 30 something’s who will never use ( at least until we are too old to drive). Some people have forgotten that driving is fun and car technology exciting. Not everyone wants their face stuck in a computer or phone every waking moment. Car time on a commute is decompress time for me.

  173. @Jill – no.
    I only mentioned how to correctly allocate parking using a market-based system.
    If we as a society decide that poor folks should have equal access to parking, the correct answer is STILL to market price the parking, then give specific subsidies to folks based on income level (or whatever). This could be through direct vouchers that can only be used for parking, or preferably through straight cash transfers, so that those who decide to use the money on something else can do so.
    This allows us to decide exactly how much money we should dedicate to subsidizing parking (because we would then know the true market value) and how much we might want to use for other transportation uses.
    The direct cash transfer allows all folks (poor and rich) to decide exactly how they would like their money to be spent. Either way avoids the dead loss of wasted time that we have now.

  174. @ anon.
    NO! If the “poor folks” (your words not mine) can’t afford a car or paying for parking, they just can’t. Too bad. sorry.
    Then they should be rallying our city leaders for the BEST transit system possible, which will help them and make their lives easier.
    And I like what jill said: Driving my car is pleasurable, it’s fine and it’s MINE. I’m sure as hell not gonna rent a car, or use car sharing to drive for a nice weekend in Tahoe. Who does that?

  175. http://sfpark.org/2011/04/04/sfmta-announces-improved-sfpark-pricing-strategy-for-city-owned-garages/
    ““Circling for parking accounts for approximately 30 percent of San Francisco’s congestion,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “SFpark makes parking easier to find and pay for and will reduce double-parking and circling, while reducing congestion, air pollution and delays on Muni.”
    But why listen to somebody in government who understands parking issues when we have all the “experts” from the bike coalition who move here from Stockton, Florida or Riverside (former homes of some of their leadership) and decide THEY know what is best for San Franciscans.

  176. Sounds really simple. Are. Are you a govt employee? It sounds like when of those beautiful ideas of a beauracrat. You know this will adversely impact bottom part of income spectrum. Another good way to keep it a city for the wealthy? The poor are getting pushed out, and now we want to take away parking (through pricing)so they can’t commute and take away parking (through pricing) for those who have to live 50 miles away and need to drive in to serve your burgers and clean your house. Very nice. How about we just try to spend money on good public transportation, stop wasting money on bike lanes for the 3% and then deal with cars when there is a decent alternative for most people

  177. I agree with Jill in that I want to know how 3% of commuter trips in the city (bikes) became the driving force for MTA policy along with removing and restricting parking. Why not create more and better public transit?!! I am really tired of being lectured to by the bike crowd.
    Do officials at the MTA not understand what the voters want and have voted for again and again is more and better transit?

  178. It’s simply because the key leaders of SF and of the SFMTA fell for the rants and whines of the Bike Coalition, Critical Mass and other urban cyclists because they felt left out and wanted some entitlements.
    Without regard or consideration for others, and the negative impacts the new bike infrastructure has had on our public streets.
    The SFMTA seems hell bent on SF becoming the Amsterdam of the West Coast.

  179. “…stop wasting money on bike lanes…”
    Posted by: Jill at April 29, 2014 11:25 AM
    Staring down a highway trust fund that he described as “teetering toward insolvency” by August or September, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Monday that better bike infrastructure projects are part of the solution
    “When you have a swelling population like the USA has and will have for the next 35 years, one of the most cost-effective ways to better fit that population is to better use the existing grid,” Foxx said.
    Foxx made his comments to a gathering in Indianapolis of urban transportation experts from around the country, welcoming six new cities into the PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project, a two-year program kicking off Tuesday that will help the cities — Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle — add modern protected bike lanes to their streets.
    See, it isn’t just SF that realizes how cost effective bike lanes can be at reducing congestion. And remember you don’t have to ride a bike to benefit from this reduction of congestion.

  180. I love how concern for poor people is the reason that we need to force all developers to build excess parking for everyone AND the reason that we need the city to subsidize parking for everyone.
    But the minute that I propose charging for parking and only subsidizing it for those that need the subsidy, silence. Everyone loves their free handout.
    Subsidies should not go to Futurist and Jill and the other members of the 1%. Everything should be market-based, with subsidies only given out to those that society decides actually needs it.

  181. Nice try “anon” at putting back up the straw man yet again. The ballot initiative is about asking the MTA to spend more energy and funds on TRANSIT and TRAFFIC. The current policy is to restrict parking, nobody is asking that people be “forced” to build it. Read the SFGate article on the initiative, it is all about restoring TRANSIT as a first priority. MTA policy is to currently not even allow PAY parking garages to be built, such as adjacent to Polk Street. There are 3000 less spaces on city streets than there were two years ago, happy yet?

  182. “There are 3000 less spaces on city streets than there were two years ago, happy yet?”
    If this is true, that’s less than 1% of all street parking. It hasn’t caused armageddon, but it has made more streets nicer and safer for pedestrians and cyclists. So why would we want to prevent more of this.
    And, as people keep trying to say, this is better for drivers as well. People who love their cars and never walk, cycle or take public transportation should be the first ones out there lobbying for more people to walk, cycle, and take public transportation.. but they’re not.

  183. nobody is asking that people be “forced” to build it.
    Um, what? Current city policy requires developers build one parking space per one housing unit in 90%+ of the city. Even in other areas a certain amount is required. There are almost places in the city where a developer is allowed to build zero parking if they’d like to. That is madness.

  184. ^^^That’s because there is no decent public transit alternative. Ask NoeValleyJim, he hates cars but finally gave in and had to own and use one himself.

  185. “Everything should be market-based, with subsidies only given out to those that society decides actually needs it.”
    Have you ever read huxley? suggest doing so. have you taken your soma yet?

  186. Then tell me anon, why should a rent subsidy go to my friends who rent a great 2 bed apartment in the Castro for $1250 a month, and oh, by the way, their combined income is: wait for it!
    $195,000 a year.
    Help me out with this one.

  187. I agree with anon on the subsidy. If a society wants to provide a subsidy for housing, parking etc, it must do it on the taxpayer’s dime and based on sound policy. This policy should be defined with the voters’ approval. This is what we should do instead of the stupidly blind rent control.

  188. I really don’t get the language and meaning behind “subsidy for parking”.
    Where is the subsidy? Do you mean because parking in the neighborhoods is essentially free, or with a modest permit?
    Is metered parking subsidized? What about all the FREE parking that still goes on every Sunday for Dolores and Valencia for the so called “church goers”.? Most of whom are probably really park goers and brunch goers.
    What exactly is the subsidy for parking? Please define in your words.

  189. @anon2too No, actually I don’t really use a car. It is almost May and I haven’t driven a car yet this year. I don’t know where you get these strange ideas about me, do you fantasize about me often?
    I do not agree with those who state that using bicycles will have any impact on global warming. We collectively got ourselves into this mess and only by working collectively will we get ourselves out of it. San Francisco is a nationwide trend setter and the US is one of the worst offenders in the amount of CO^2 we release into the atmosphere. And 20% is only the beginning. As Jimmy pointed out, a city can function just fine with 75% of the transportation being met by pedal power. I know it is almost impossible for you to imagine, but that is likely our fate as well. Not in our lifetimes, but after the oil runs out, we will have to find some way to get around. I really don’t see how we are going to do it with renewables in time.
    Every little bit helps and this is my attempt to make a difference, along with all the other stuff like raising a family, having a career, etc. Can any of think of a way to more effectively help the environment? I am all ears. Seriously.

  190. Futurist – to answer some of your questions.
    “I really don’t get the language and meaning behind “subsidy for parking”. Where is the subsidy?”
    Free and low cost parking is provided by a combination of allocating capital assets (land, access to the street network) and providing recurring service (maintenance, administration, policing, etc.). Those have monetary value and the difference between that value and fees collected for use is the subsidy. Almost all public parking and most privately provided parking is subsidized, especially in the ‘burbs. Unless you believe that land is free and people work for nothing you acknowledge that parking has real value.
    “Is metered parking subsidized?”
    Usually, yes.
    ” What about all the FREE parking that still goes on every Sunday for Dolores and Valencia for the so called “church goers”.?”
    also in my last post I forgot to attribute the snippet of the article regarding what Secretary Foxx about the economic necessity of investing in bike and pedestrian infrastructure. It came from this streetsblog article.

  191. Of course parking has real value, and that’s why I pay my property taxes: for my share in using the PUBLIC streets.
    @ NVJ: ok so now you “really” don’t use your car. Huh? make up your mind. Own up to it.
    As for our fair city functioning well with 75% of pedal power. Are you serious?
    If so, well then start by leveling ALL the hills in SF. Even the most muscular, young athletic male cannot pedal up 22nd St, or Hill St, or any number of serious hills.
    Now what? Get the bulldozers out.

  192. I would have thought that it would go without saying that the guy advocating market priced parking would be against rent control, but yes, of course I’m against rent control, Futurist.
    (and prop 13 and all those “property taxes” that you must be paying)

  193. Oh my NVJ: there is so much delicious backpedaling by you and your car “use”, that it could become an SNL skit.
    But I shall refrain from creating a scene. I just gotta ask: Does your wife “allow” you to drive HER car?

  194. Regarding “market priced” parking, even though generations of taxpayers have paid to build the roads and bridges we ALL now enjoy and use, do some of you want residential parking priced so high that only the rich can afford it? Everyone pays taxes for roads because everyone uses them, whether in a taxi, bus, bike, walking or car.
    Can we do the same (Market priced usage) for an operating license for bikes? How about sidewalk usage? Just think of all that subsidized cost to pedestrians for street lights, curbs, etc. The whole “free market” thing is silly. Streets are a necessary modern PUBLIC infrastructure and should be paid for by everyone because they are used by everyone.
    Streets are not only used by cars, they are used for delivering water, sewer, communication, electrical and other services. They are used by emergency vehicles, public transit and pedestrians as well as bikes.
    One final question, when NoeValleyJim’s wife is driving “her” car, does he follow her on his bike so he is not seen inside the car (aka “death machine”)?

  195. Congestion pricing can be a good solution sometimes. Sometimes it’s better to have availability albeit at a high price vs no availability at all.
    However, there’s nothing “free market” about having the city government reduce supply (taking away parking spaces) and restrict addition of new private supply (Parking in new construction, private parking garages) and generally manipulate prices in order to enforce a change in behavior dictated by central planers (“The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that 20% of overall trips would be made by bicycle by 2020.”)

  196. @anon – I don’t think you understand how market pricing works.
    Market pricing is a way to control demand from outstripping supply, not a way to generate income. I’d be perfectly fine with this being revenue neutral – all of the money collected via the market pricing of parking is counter-balanced by a sales tax decrease or something.
    The market price for the other things that you mention would be zero or nearly zero, because we’re not having a problem with those hitting capacity constraints. In places where there is abundant parking, like the Outer Sunset, the market price would be zero.

  197. However, there’s nothing “free market” about having the city government reduce supply (taking away parking spaces) and restrict addition of new private supply (Parking in new construction, private parking garages) and generally manipulate prices in order to enforce a change in behavior dictated by central planers (“The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that 20% of overall trips would be made by bicycle by 2020.”)
    Um, true. But you forgot to mention the part about the largest intrusion into the market – the MINIMUM parking amounts required in 90% of SF. Eliminate these ridiculous minimums at the same time that maximums are eliminated, or just admit that you really just disagree on what priorities should be centrally planned.

  198. Parking requirements in new buildings is hardly an “intrusion” into the market.
    Park is a desired commodity for most people who are ABLE to purchase a residence. And, largely that own a vehicle, and they do NOT want to park it on the street at night or circle endlessly for a parking space.
    Spaces that keep dwindling due to the insane practices of our city leaders.

  199. Parking requirements in new buildings is hardly an “intrusion” into the market. Park is a desired commodity for most people who are ABLE to purchase a residence. And, largely that own a vehicle, and they do NOT want to park it on the street at night or circle endlessly for a parking space.
    If it’s desired for all buyers, then developers will build. You only require something that the market won’t naturally provide. So either it’s an intrusion, unlike what you state, or it’s completely unnecessary regulation. Which is it?

  200. Hard to follow your statement, but that’s ok.
    I said “most” people, not all.
    No reason to keep going around in circles. I support off-street parking, and you don’t.

  201. No.
    I absolutely support off street parking. I just support choice in whether or not a developer decides to build it.
    You support central planning, with government bureaucrats deciding exactly how much parking is required to be built.

  202. Clever. Very clever anon. But no.
    Do you actually believe that developers would build parking under their buildings if it was not required per the Planning Code? Really?
    So, I know. Let’s do it your way and get rid of “central planning” (sounds very Communistic), and the codes and let them CHOOSE how and what they want to build.
    Then, why should they build exit stairs, sprinkler systems, rooms with windows, electricity, indoor plumbing?? Hey, there’s no code, so let’s save some bucks.
    I WANT to have a Planning and Building Code. I want government to have a say in what gets built. It’s about life safety, as well as sensible urban planning.
    Can you just imagine the nightmare in the Upper Market corridor if not ONE of the new projects there had off street parking?
    Go figure that one out and get back to me.

  203. in a housing shortage, developers wont build parking just because the market may want it. Although the market wants it, the market will also buy condos without parking based on the high need of condos. Developers dont have to deal with the aftermath of the congestion chaos caused by not building car storage. if it were up to developers, they would only build in the highest end condos. developers are not thinking long term and thats why you need planning involved. there will be more cars in SF in 10 yrs than there are today, and we will have a mass parking shortage. Then developers will switch gear and start building parking in new units but the damage is done. again they are only thinking short term.

  204. You guys are all over the map. First Futurist says that required parking minimums aren’t an intrusion in the market because everyone wants parking, so developers would build parking anyway even if there weren’t minimums. Now he says that developers would never build parking if they weren’t required.
    The concerns that you guys have are easily solvable if we simply market price the street parking and then let the market decide on all off-street parking (including standalone garages). If a bunch of developers built housing without parking, the price of parking would rise to a level high enough to encourage the building of units with garages and/or standalone garages. This is econ 101 stuff, guys.
    What cracks me up the most is that you guys start yelling about how stupid government is for enacting restrictions that you don’t like (parking maximums), but then turn around and demand that government enact restrictions that you do like (parking minimums, subsidized parking), even though we ALREADY KNOW the huge problems caused by those existing restrictions.

  205. MARKET ECONOMICS dont work for long term city planning. SF cant react fast enough based on changing market conditions. planners are suppossed to project different scenarios of market conditions and ensure that city can meet market demands in 5-10-20 yrs. there will be more cars on the streets in 10 yrs. they need to account for that in their planning and get their heads out of their chamois creme. Planning a city expecting 20% of commutes on bikes is just asinine. If the city adds 60,000 people over the next 10 yrs and adds more jobs, even a small % decrease in car usage for the residents will still result in a net increase in cars.

  206. Never owned a car in London, New York or Chicago, but bought one within 3 weeks of moving to San Francisco. Was it because on street parking was “subsidized” or cheaper here? NO, it was because of lack of a major public transit network like those other cities had.

  207. ^The issue with subsidized street parking isn’t that it makes it cheaper or encourages people to drive because it’s cheap. The problem is that it results in people over-consuming street parking – in other words, making it freaking impossible to ever find an open spot.
    The point of market pricing parking has NOTHING to do with revenue. It has to do with making sure that when people drive somewhere, they can actually find a spot rather than circling for an hour. I don’t get why this is so hard for people to understand? Do you folks not place any value on your time?

  208. @moto – you say that market economics won’t work for city planning, then go on to complain about all of the non-market economics planning going on. Are you so sure that a more market-based plan would be worse? The market planned all of the best parts of SF after all (since “city planning” as we know it didn’t really exist in SF until the 30s or later).

  209. Some commenters are just incensed by this political attention given toward biking. Cycling as a mode of transportation has been around for 100 years, but it had been ignored as such for half of that time period. What SF is seeing is the reawakening to cycling as a form of transportation in the midst of rising gas prices, decreasing gov’t revenues, environmental concerns, a troubled economy, rampant health problems, and other factors. It isn’t surprising why it garners so much support, considering the many positive aspects of cycling as transportation. For politicians, it is also the cheapest and most effective solution to the many problems everyone is complaining about in this comment section: crappy public transit, congested parking, traffic (not so much in the city according to some commenters, but it is obviously an issue),whatever. Fixing public transit and parking requires a lot of political will, time, and money; factors not so easily attained compared to ones for cycling — the redesigning of a street (happens frequently enough), painting some lines on the street, and drilling in some bike parking structures.
    It is a political movement supported by a good number of people simply aiming for fair representation, which has not happened for a long time. The movement is analogous to the recent sweep of gay marriage laws, where a long ignored and underrepresented group organized and fought for equitable treatment. Most cities are playing catch up with bicycle infrastructure.
    Using the bicycle lobby as a scapegoat fails to address the real problems. In reality, there are no large car-centric cities that have managed to escape congestion, be it parking or traffic. The costs involved in accommodating the ever greater number of cars is staggering, and in the end you end up with a city like LA.

  210. “you end up with a city like LA. ”
    Yeah, that’s right, L.A., an urban region with greater density than the Bay Area, an ongoing effort to build a huge mass transit system, and with a population who is commuting LESS distance and time than Bay Area residents (See Atlantic Cities statistics).
    Casting stones from “urban” walkable neighborhoods as being special and not ruined by cars in San Francisco would be like me casting stones from a neighborhood in Santa Monica about how sad all that sprawl out in Fremont is.
    San Franciscans need to wake up and realize they live in a sprawling multi centric region that has some real urban planning and transit issues. The old stereotypes about Los Angeles no longer exists and while we are building the Transbay BUS station, Los Angeles already has a central terminal with more rail and subway lines coming together than any urban rail station in North America outside of Chicago or New York. But not satisfied, they are adding 2 new subway lines to the station as well as HSR and 4 more Caltrain rail type lines.
    Sorry for my rant, but I am missing my days of walking or biking down to Abbot Kinney in the morning for coffee or using what is America’s most heavily used urban bike path (along coast of Southern California).

  211. To echo SM’s point… when I lived in LA, I walked almost everywhere (work, grocery, gym, restaurants, bars) and only drove on weekends… if at all. It was idyllic, best place I’ve ever lived.
    When I lived in SF, I drove absolutely EVERYWHERE because there is ZERO practical transit links between Pac Heights and the Peninsula. It was such a waste of time … hours of my life every day … I eventually cracked and moved to the Peninsula.

  212. Yeah, LA is doing a good job at reversing its fate. There’s still a long way to go. Better examples of cities smothered by their insistence to rely solely on cars are Atlanta, Houston, and Phoenix. Maybe even San Jose.
    The Bay Area’s transit woes are 90% political. If we had the same drive as when the interstate highway system was built out then we would have excellent regional transport already. Today there’s so much horse trading going on and that results in a hobbled transit network. Within SF alone NIMBYs continually block even meager upzoning required to make things like a Geary subway possible.
    Yes, this leaves us with substandard transport. But inviting more cars is the wrong decision. It works against urban growth and consumes the resources (land, money) that could be used to build out transit when we finally come to our senses and focus more on density and transit. The result is continued sprawl which just amplifies the our problems.

  213. There’s a big difference between government dictating and government regulating.
    Think about the difference between if the USDA decided to try and force 20% of the population to eat chicken, vs the USDA producing regulations intending to ensure the safety of the food supply.
    Now I do think that it’s always worth looking at market based solutions, after all no one wants to buy tainted meat or an unsafe house. Nor do producers want to be shunned by consumers or hit with large legal awards. And you can look at things like Underwriters Labs where self regulation pops up via market based self interest (insurers vs builders).
    But the big picture is that these differences in regulatory structure are minor compared with the issue at hand, which is when central planners outright decide on an outcome in advance and attempt to force it on the population at large.
    Secondly, a lot of “free” parking isn’t actually free, it’s just paid for by sales tax, property tax or other methods. Sometimes this may be driven by a desire for a subsidy, but oftentimes the reality is that parking isn’t dynamically priced because the price would be very low and the collections costs high. Paying people to drive around and check/empty the meters has a real cost, especially when the city is on the hook for their pensions and retirement medical expenses. Many stores in the free market provide “free” parking for this reason. (And anyone familiar with tech should be able to think of numerous examples of “free” services supported by ads or other means due to collections costs or other issues. The free market sometimes uses real time auction pricing, but this is by no means the only pricing strategy used by the market)

  214. ^Sure, but we’re not talking about those situations. We’re talking about areas of the city with very tight parking that is being sold by the city via meters and/or RPPs for what everyone can agree is far below market value.
    And none of that has anything to do with eliminating parking maximums and minimums that the government dictates on all new projects.

  215. Doesn’t seem like SF is solely focused on bike lanes. Between the Transbay Terminal, Geary BRT, Van Ness BRT, and the Central Subway, we probably have more dollars per resident than LA County tied up in current transit projects.

  216. True, LA is focusing on mass transit as SF needs to do. SF mass transit is a mess; surprising how many people still use it though. There was an interesting article on how much better DC’s system is than BART.
    I am from OC originally and am surprised to hear people testify to the walkability of LA. Orange Country requires at least a mile long trip just to go to the grocery store.
    Not convinced LA is out of the woods just yet. At least half of LA’s map is “proposed.” Also not included are the distances involved. LA’s system is like BART in that it requires further mass transit solutions–bus, shuttles, streetcars, and bikes–to actually make it work. Otherwise, the “subways” will have difficulty gaining traction. Bike meccas like Amersterdam, as was mentioned earlier in these comments, has an excellent mass transit system integrated with its famous bicycle usage.

  217. it is astonishing how many people feel they know what is best for the city without any professional or educational background in traffic/tranist engineering.
    So anon2, you must have a degree in traffic engineering or city planning right? Because you generously share your opinion on transportation policy all the time. And you call out others who do so as amateurs.
    Where did you get your degree from?

  218. Great posts by El Jefe and Bob Gunderson.
    @Futurist, I am neither male nor in particularly amazing shape, and I’m closing in on 50, but I can ride up 22nd St to Church on my heavy bicycle. The next block of 22nd is one way downhill, and it’s a steep block to even walk up, as I’m sure you know.
    Bike routes avoid the really crazy hills and help middle-aged people like me ride around the city. Yes, there are jerky bicyclists, but they are the ones you notice. Look for the cyclists with helmets who make eye contact with you at four-way stops. We exist. With more and safer bike routes, there will be more sane bicyclists on the road. (Of course, beef up public transit as well!)

  219. @Renteragain.
    1. I’m skeptical about your “ride” up 22nd St. but if you can more power to you.
    2. Which 4 cyclists are you talking about?

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