Saturday, March 06, 2010

Surprise! Streetsblog doesn't like shopping malls

No one has to guess why the anti-car website Streetsblog doesn't like shopping malls: people have to drive their Death Machines, a k a "automobiles," to get there. Even worse, malls have a lot of parking for their customers. The horror!

From the MTA's "Extended Meter Hours Study":

Malls do not offer the charm, character, and experience of a great San Francisco neighborhood. San Francisco's neighborhoods are special places that many people want to experience. However, one great thing about places like Stonestown or Bay Street is that although parking is not necessarily free (e.g., drivers must pay for parking at Bay Street), it is almost always easy to find. That can't always be said for many of San Francisco's neighborhood commercial districts, especially in the evenings and on Sundays when parking demand is typically at its peak. Parking availability is an important part of what makes commercial districts attractive (page 30).

Just for the record, parking at Stonestown is free, and there's a lot of it. On a recent visit to Stonestown, I saw a lot of people there, with the food court on the top floor packed with diners.

San Francisco is trying to implement contradictory policies---making it as hard and expensive as possible for people to drive and park in the city, even as it acknowledges that our neighborhoods need parking if they are to prosper. Want to shop or dine at the Ninth and Irving neighborhood? There are a couple of parking lots in the neighborhood, or you can park in the garage under the Concourse in nearby Golden Gate Park and take a pleasant stroll to the neighborhood. Want to dine at Greens at Fort Mason? Lots of parking for the restaurant, the theaters, and the fine library bookstore there. If, on the other hand, you are across town and want to drive over to dine in my neighborhood, the Divisadero corridor between Haight Street and McAllister Street, brace yourself for a parking hassle.

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13 Comments:

At 1:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Streetsblog people also forget that sometimes one needs/wants to buy more or larger items than can practically be carried on a bike, or in hand, or on public transit. Cars are indispensable, at least SOME of the time.

I think it's useful to try to get people out of their cars more often. There are societal and health benefits to all concerned. But this fantasy that nobody needs a car and that auto drivers are somehow evil and should be treated as second-class citizens... it's just that, a silly fantasy in the minds of those who like to maintain a false sense of moral superiority.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I agree, but the city can't have it both ways---indulging in anti-car policies and, at the same time, nurture neighborhood business districts and keep middle income families in the city. Busy heads of families in particular need the ability to do major grocery shopping, to pack the car with enough food and goods to last for days. For people like me, shopping for only my mother and myself, it's no big deal to make a trip to the store every day and take Muni to do it.

 
At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Rob, your logic is so warped it's hard to see it as anything but bullshit.

Nurture of neighbourhood business centres is important for the simple reason that auto use is not required to reach them.

By what bizarre reasoning would a functional neighborhood centre be an incentive to leave the city?

Why do you think the best use of time for busy people is to own an oversized shopping trolley enabling them to waste time driving extended distances to major malls?

* Short local trips reduce traffic congestion.
* Local businesses employ more people than supermarkets
* Local trips can be done frequently without excessive demands on time.
* Local trips can often be effectively carried out on foot or bicycle.
* For those larger purchases which are really not possible by foot or bike, then sure - use a car - or get it delivered.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You pronounce all this utterly predictable crap as of you were actually saying something of interest. SF is a small city, but it takes at least an hour to get across town on Muni. If you have enough money to eat at Green's---or any other good restaurant in the city---why wouldn't you drive your car there? The whole point of the post was that a number of "neighborhood centers" are handicapped by a lack of parking. "Busy people" with cars---both inside the city and from outside the city---are unlikely to use Muni, which takes a lot longer than driving. For a young crackpot twit like you, of course a bike seems like a sensible way to get around. For the rest of us, it's what you might call "bullshit."

 
At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Very nice of you to refer to me as 'young'. It's the first time that's happened to me for some decades.

Regrettably your car fantasy brings a whole range a crackpot assumptions. Most people, even wealthy ones, don't have their lives revolve around restaurants.

Never the less, well functioning neighbourhood centres are likely to offer good restaurants which don't require travel across town to get to.

If you want to go to that extra-special restaurant across town for a special occasion then sure - drive if there's no good alternative. But that trivial minority trip purpose is no justification for the car fantasy.

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This bulletin just in for those who've been living in other corners of the universe: SF's biggest industry, which brings in billions of dollars and provides thousands of jobs, is tourism. Hotels and restaurants---our city is famous for its restaurants---are at the heart of that industry. Millions of people visit SF every year, and most of them are driving cars, either their own or rented cars.

"If you want to go to that extra-special restaurant across town for a special occasion then sure - drive if there's no good alternative. But that trivial minority trip purpose is no justification for the car fantasy."

Thanks, Phil. I was just waiting for your permission. There are 460,000 motor vehicles registered in SF, and thousands of people drive into the city every day. You're the one living in a fantasy world.

 
At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Wow! 460,000 cars and tourism solely focussed on the restaurant industry.

That's believable, a perfectly justfiable reason for owning a car.

**Hmmm! was that the red pill or the blue one? Why is that rabbit looking at me?**

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Tourism isn't based only on restaurants; there's also the hotels, theaters, conventions, museums, and all the other attractions in our city. Many visitors to the city drive cars to get around, as do many residents. Is that controversial? My point: the city needs to rein in the anti-car jihad fueled by fanatics like you; otherwise it's going to do serious damage to our economy.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Yesterday, I drove my car a short distance, about 2 miles, to do some shopping at Whole Foods in Noe Valley. This was a short trip. There was no congestion whatsoever on my way there. The parking lot was easy to get in and out of.
I don't own a bike. It's too dangerous to bike ride in The City, in my opinion.
I left the store with about 5 (cloth) bags of groceries. How in hell would one use a bike anyway to carry that stuff home? I'm not using Muni for that trip because it's not reliable.

I pay my taxes. I'm a good citizen. What's the problem with that? Philip and other bike nuts continue to push on us that the ONLY way is to bike your ass everywhere in The City. Not gonna work..for most of us. Get real.

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"Yesterday, I drove my car a short distance, about 2 miles, to do some shopping at Whole Foods in Noe Valley. This was a short trip. There was no congestion whatsoever on my way there. The parking lot was easy to get in and out of."

The trip was made even shorter because it turned out that Whole Foods is closed at 2 AM.

What does that parking lot look like when the store is open? Like this

The silver mini-van was waiting in the street to turn into the lot for over a minute, blocking several cars and a 48.

"I left the store with about 5 (cloth) bags of groceries."

?? You greasy hippie trying to save the planet with your cloth bags. Don't you know that cloth bags take more oil to produce and ship the cotton than to just make new plastic ones!@#!%^$!!!

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Oh, and Rocky's Dad, come on, 2 miles... Noe Valley is 1 mile square... ;)

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Who said anything about 2am? what the hell are you talking about? I was there in the early afternoon and WF was open.

As for the cloth bags, I've had them for 10 years now. They still work great.

It's too bad that some people here are not only mean spirited and don't know how to read, they also like to call people names....and maintain their completely narrow minded anarchistic point of view. They will find fault in everything that is different from their way of living.

I will continue to use my car wherever I want in SF.

 
At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad murph is full of knowledge and information..and what an argumentative asshole he is too.

 

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