Monday, January 16, 2012

Parking meter backlash


MTA board member Cheryl Brinkman

The city is experiencing a backlash in opposition to its SFPark plan to put parking meters in Portrero Hill and Dogpatch neighborhoods. When some complained that the city didn't inform them and their neighbors about the plan, Cheryl Brinkman, an anti-car bike person, responded:

“Sometimes you feel like you could send an engraved invitation and people would still say they’ve never heard about it,” said Cheryl Brinkman, a member of the SFMTA Board of Directors. She pointed out that even though flyers were put on every door in the outreach for the Masonic Avenue redesign project, some still complained it wasn’t enough. “I think as city dwellers, we sometimes underestimate what people are willing to do for free parking,” she added.

Of course most people here and everywhere else ignore the government as much as possible---until that's no longer possible, like now in Dogpatch and on Portrero Hill. People are too busy living their lives to go to public meetings after working all day, not to mention that most meetings are held during the day when people are working. The first thing they know about city "improvements" to their neighborhood streets is when the heavy equipment arrives and goes to work.

Brinkman and other leaders of the city's anti-car movement---including Tom Radulovich, the Bicycle Coalition, and Jason Henderson---have long strived, with some success, to make it as difficult and expensive as possible for people to drive in San Francisco. The Bicycle Plan is about both bikes and anti-carism, since the Bicycle Coalition's agenda can't be completely implemented without taking space---traffic lanes and parking spaces---from cars on city streets.

Here's Brinkman several years ago, sneering at people who drive motor vehicles:

With the gas prices high I'm now hoping for a short sharp supply shock---to really bring the point home to the people. I was cycling yesterday and just wished that the car drivers would all run out of gas all of a sudden and have to push their heavy hunks of steel with their bare hands to move them. A week or two of limited gas.

As an MTA Director, she is now able to stick it to drivers as that board makes city traffic policy.

The Bay Guardian and SF Streetsblog disapprove of this kind of neighborhood activism by people who drive "death monsters," known as cars and trucks to the rest of us.

MTA pretends that it only wants to "manage" parking on city streets, but parking meters, parking lots, and parking tickets are a major source of revenue for San Francisco.

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5 Comments:

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what can I do to get my voice heard? I am a regular voter, tax payer, working guy who was born, raised and still live here, now in SOMA (not that that matters). I am not asking you Rob for direction, but honestly the attitude of the bike people is beyond belief. I ride a bike consistently on weekends for recreation and cause I like to but damm I don't force my views down the gullets of others. I want my views heard but you are right I cannot get to all the public meetings let alone follow them. I work from roughly 6am to 5pm, then come home pick up trash in the neighborhood, then have drink and eat and crash. I guess I am too lazy to fight these people who seem to have lots of free time for their cause.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The bike people until now have gotten their way on the streets of SF just because they always show up at the meetings when/where their issues are being decided. When the neighborhoods become aware of their agenda, it's often too late.

It's no accident that the Bicycle Plan and Critical Mass have never been on the city's ballot. The Bicycle Coalition and its many enablers in City Hall will make sure that never happens.

In the meantime, you should make a call to your supervisor's office and send an email message, too. To a certain extent, politicians make decisions on issues based on the kind/amount of feedback they get from their districts.

 
At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Sometimes you feel like you could send an engraved invitation and people would still say they’ve never heard about it,” said Cheryl Brinkman, a member of the SFMTA Board of Directors. She pointed out that even though flyers were put on every door in the outreach for the Masonic Avenue redesign project, some still complained it wasn’t enough. “I think as city dwellers, we sometimes underestimate what people are willing to do for free parking,” she added.

Of course, in this particular case, there weren't flyers put on everyone's door. There were no mailings to the residents. Nothing. So her comments are ridiculous. Who cares what they did for the Masonic project? It is clear they wanted to keep this on the down low so they could implement an unpopular policy. It is simply undemocratic.

And, I guess the red herring of "free parking" will continue to be the battle cry, regarless of the fact that residential parking permits aren't free.

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, the bike people pretend to be concerned about public space, but they're eager to take away traffic lanes and parking spaces to make bike lanes on busy streets.

They support taking away parking meters where they are actually needed but support installing them where they are not.

And so many of them enjoy Critical Mass, "reclaiming" the streets from those devilish motor vehicles---and making it harder for working people to get home from work.

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Jesse Mullan has a Dogpatch blog where you can follow the parking issue there, along with a witty riff on parking in SF.

 

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