Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mayor Newsom: “Make it harder to drive and make it costlier”

Not that there’s much doubt on the subject---except for a few commenters to this blog---but Mayor Newsom, while endorsing the "concept" of congestion pricing, again announced the official policy of the City of San Francisco: “make it harder to drive and make it costlier, and then you use the money to fund public transit.” Drivers in SF, both residents and tourists, are essentially cash cows for the city, which I’ve pointed out before.

This approach, by the way, works against the city's Bicycle Plan, wherein a number of projects described in the just-released Draft Environmental Report will, as the report shows, slow Muni down. I’ve pointed this out a number of times, but let’s go over this simple reality again: If you take away traffic lanes to make bike lanes on busy streets that also carry Muni lines, you’re going to slow Muni down even as you punish drivers of the 465,150 cars (aka "death monsters") registered in San Francisco, not to mention the many tourists who drive in the city.

The great anti-car, planet-saving bicycle movement may play well among the young, the groovy, and the ignorant masses in SF, but it’s hard to see how that issue will help Newsom get elected Governor of California, since he's already burdened with the gay marriage issue and his steadfast support for making this a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. Hard to see how any of this will win him many votes in the state's hinterland.

Speaking of Muni and money, when is the city going to pull the plug on the Culture Bus? I see the bus almost every day when I take my daily walk through the park, and I've never seen it carrying a single passenger. The Culture Bus is the perfect project for San Francisco, where civic narcissism is the local religion. We are oh so special and have so much “culture” we need a special bus to carry around all the culture vultures. I’d like to see how much that crack-brained, self-congratulatory project has cost the city even as Muni is running a $40 million deficit.

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