Sunday, August 03, 2008

City drivers soaked again

C.W. Nevius's batting average for the number of useful columns he produces is remarkably high. True, he's writing in Progressive Land, a target-rich environment for anyone not blinkered by liberal ideology. Yesterday's column about still another hike in city parking fines pokes another sore spot for city residents: anyone who owns a car in SF is primarily a source of revenue for an out-of-control city government that has 27,680 employees, including 10 people in MTA working in the city's Bicycle Program.

According to MTA's Transportation Fact Sheet of August, 2007, the city collected $29,687,616 from its parking meters in fiscal year 2005-2006. In the same year, it collected $33,350,354 from the operation of its 20 garages and parking lots. In FY 2004-2005, the city collected $5,492,633 from its Residential Permit Parking Program, wherein city residents pay for the privilege of parking on the street near their homes. But the big money-maker for the city is evidently parking tickets, since it collected $88,174,228 this way in FY 2005-2006. Add it all up and it comes to $156,704,831 extracted from drivers in the city in a single year.
 
A fringe benefit from Nevius's columns is the blizzard of online comments he routinely provokes. I don't know how many traditional letters to the editor an article like that would have gotten in days of yore, but computer technology now surely makes it a lot easier. Last time I looked this column had 123 comments.

A typical comment that shows the danger in continuing down the present anti-car road:

Years ago we used to enjoy going downtown to shop and have lunch about once a week. Now we go down the peninsula. No hassles, no derelicts, free and easy parking, and lower sales tax. I feel sorry for the SF merchants, but San Francisco has become too user-unfriendly for us. And we have lived here all our lives.

Another commenter recommends Marin County as an alternative to SF for that kind of outing. Visit downtown Mill Valley or San Rafael, both of which have easy public parking, good restaurants, and no derelicts. Or there's the Stonestown Galleria, which has plenty of parking. People giving up on SF is the inevitable consequence of a bloated city government that preys on residents, visitors, and its own small businesses.

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25 Comments:

At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Years ago we used to enjoy going downtown to shop and have lunch about once a week. Now we go down the peninsula. No hassles, no derelicts, free and easy parking, and lower sales tax. I feel sorry for the SF merchants, but San Francisco has become too user-unfriendly for us. And we have lived here all our lives."

Yes, for free and easy parking a compact urban center is probably not the best place to go.

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

There's no reason why it shouldn't be.

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"there's no reason why it shouldn't be."

Sure there is - land in SF is to valuable to let people use it for free storage of large metal objects that are the largest causes of air and noise pollution, frequently injure and kill innocent bystanders, and generally lower the quality of urban life.

 
At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone wants to spend extra on gas just to prove a point driving down the peninsula instead of shopping locally downtown or at Stonestown, just let them go.

If they'd rather spend money on gas than with local businesses, they're just dicks anyway.

 
At 9:42 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This is typical arrogance and elitism from you anti-car folks. These "dicks" spend a lot of money in SF, which is a tourist-based economy. The city took in $497 million in taxes generated by the "visitor industry" last year. Jobs supported by tourism: 72,176 with a total payroll of $1.94 billion, which generated more than $29 million in payroll taxes in 2007. The city also collected more than $49 million in sales taxes from the retail, restaurant, and entertainment industries.
(http://www.sfcvb.org/research/)

 
At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh look, Rob posted a bunch of big numbers. Guess he thinks that proves his point somehow?

I don't see what tourism has to do with parking fines, unless Rob is suggesting parking fines will drive tourists to shop on the peninsula. I seriously doubt many tourists fly all the way to San Francisco, then drive down out of the city to shop on the peninsula instead because of parking fines they would have to pay if they parked illegally.

Even if this were the case, it would only be a minority of the tourists since the source of Rob's figures also says only 26% of tourists rent a car anyway.

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It's not just parking fines downtown; it's the whole anti-car drift of city policy---parking meters timed for only an hour; discouraging parking and parking lots; the Sunday Streets idea; the idea of closing Market Street; and of course the Bicycle Plan, which, incredibly, will propose taking away traffic lanes on Second Street, Fifth Street, and Masonic Ave. And congestion pricing is a bad idea whose time will probably also come.

Of course the comment I posted was from a city resident, but it illustrates the problem downtown merchants are increasingly having---the perception that SF doesn't want people to drive downtown to shop and dine.

The 26% you cite---actually, 25.8%---is based on a survey of people who stay in city hotels who rent cars in SF, probably mostly people who fly in and then rent a car at SFO. How do you think the rest of the tourists get to SF? By bicycle? They either rent a car somewhere else or drive their own car into the city.

 
At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"parking meters timed for only an hour;"

Rob might make this out to be a negative, but in the real world this is a good thing for me. My customers usually aren't in the store for more than 20 minutes, tops, but when someone gets a spot right in front they'll stay for hours while they shop elsewhere.

A one hour limit would about double my turnover.

 
At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, I'm sure you didn't purposefully leave out BART and the 10,000+ average daily riders who use the SFO station in order to make rental statistic seem bigger.

BART riders alone would be about one/fifth the total number of visitors according to your source. That along with taxis, shuttles, busses, Caltrain or a lift from friends/family/coworkers is how I think the rest of them are getting here.

Certainly not on a bike, which you seem to be completely obsessed with.

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"My customers usually aren't in the store for more than 20 minutes, tops, but when someone gets a spot right in front they'll stay for hours while they shop elsewhere.A one hour limit would about double my turnover."

Bullshit. If you're a store owner, why don't you tell us what/where your store is so we can give you a little free advertising?

"Certainly not on a bike, which you seem to be completely obsessed with."

It's not my obsession. It's a fact that you bike fanatics are having an affect on many aspects of city policy, not only on traffic but also on housing. Both the Market/Octavia Plan and the UC/Evans project radically restrict parking for the prospective tenants. And anytime there's a proposal to close a street and shut down traffic, you can be sure the SFBC and its many enablers in city government are behind it. Anything to fuck with the wicked cars, aka Death Machines. The problem is that when you fuck with the Death Machines you also fuck with Muni and delivery trucks and emergency vehicles. The local economy requires the free and easy flow of traffic on city streets. It's actually not bad now, so why make it unnecessarily worse with the bicycle bullshit? I know, you're saving the fucking planet; you're not just indulging yourself in a juvenile hobby disguised as a serious transportation "mode."

 
At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over-accomodating cars is one of the best ways to destroy cities. If you are pro-city, you have to rein in the cars.

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bullshit. If you're a store owner, why don't you tell us what/where your store is so we can give you a little free advertising?"

Ha! He probably figured you would fly off the handle and call him a bike nut (which you project onto everyone, even when they are talking about cars and not bikes) when he's talking about getting more people to drive to his store.

Maybe he fears you'll bring a lawsuit against him. Why do you have to be hating on local business Rob?

But what what is your business store dude? What do you sell or do? What neighborhood are you in? Do most of your customers come by car or transit?

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Over-accomodating cars is one of the best ways to destroy cities. If you are pro-city, you have to rein in the cars."

Oh, okay. Thanks for clearing that up, Anon.

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Ha! He probably figured you would fly off the handle and call him a bike nut (which you project onto everyone, even when they are talking about cars and not bikes) when he's talking about getting more people to drive to his store."

You bike people seem to think you are slick with your anonymous comments. What are you folks so afraid of? After all you're in possession of the Truth.

 
At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bullshit. If you're a store owner, why don't you tell us what/where your store is so we can give you a little free advertising?"

So when a business owner points out one hour time-limits will help him get more customers, contradicting your speculation it would hurt businesses, your only response is an ad hominem attack denying he really even owns a store. Is your only rebuttal really a slightly more grown up version of calling him a doo-doo head? By the way, how is your own store being effected by the parking changes?

Not that I agree or support your position in any way, but since you didn't actually respond to what he said, let me hep you out and show you how a reasonable person might respond to him...

Shop owner says, "A one hour limit would about double my turnover."

A reasonable response, "While this may be true for your store, and more specifically your customers, your case is only true for customers coming to shop at a single store. For customers who are shopping at multiple stores in a single trip, a one hour limit may not allow them time to shop at all stores. You may have increased turnover, but it comes at the expense of the fourth or fifth store the customer no longer has the time to shop at because the meter has expired."

Perhaps you'd like to expand upon this argument and have a serious conversation (it does support your position, but I can see holes in it that warrant futher discussion) rather than just make personal attacks or dismiss this comment because it was anonymous.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I don't believe that the suspiciously anonymous commenter really is a business owner. He/she is just another one of you bike people.

"Perhaps you'd like to expand upon this argument and have a serious conversation..."

Perhaps you'd like to kiss my ass.

 
At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps you'd like to kiss my ass."

What a lovely, well crafted and thoughtful response. Do you keep comments on just for the purpose of making personal attacks with anyone who wants to take issue with something you say?

You anti-bike people are so narrow minded and childish.

 
At 1:33 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I already made my point about that post: that person was not a business owner at all, just another wimpy bike nut hiding behind anonymity.

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind of funny how you dismiss people who comment anonymously, while you yourself pretend that CFAR is more than just you.

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Kind of funny how chickenshit you are.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Can you call me a name too? Please?
PLEASE!

 
At 5:36 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

How about if I just call you a bike nut, Murph? You may take it as something of an insult, while I on the other hand think it's purely descriptive. I wouldn't be surprised if there are those in the great bike movement who are even now calling each other "bike nuts," much like some young black people call each other "niggers" or gay people now, in a brilliant linguistic tactic, now call each other "queers."

 
At 9:58 AM, Anonymous those dudes said...

CFAR is not a coalition - it's a one-man band led by rob anderson!

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Why don't we conduct a test to see how many people in SF agree with me? Get the pro-bike Board of Supervisors and pro-bike Mayor Newsom to put the Bicycle Plan on the ballot. And do it as strictly an advisory measure to avoid legal complications. The bike people and their many enablers in City Hall will never do that, any more than they wanted to put the Healthy Saturdays "compromise" on the ballot. They understand that even here in Progressive Land the bike people are not universally beloved. Not to mention the fact that the city's neighborhoods still don't really understand what's in the Bicycle Plan.

 
At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I already made my point about that post: that person was not a business owner at all, just another wimpy bike nut hiding behind anonymity."

I wouldn't be surprised if Rob was posting anonymous comments just so he'd have something to attack and make it look like people are taking him seriously.

 

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