Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Parking Panda

Parking Panda Aims to Curb City’s Parking Woes
Robert Gibson

After hearing of the City’s decision to begin charging for parking on Sundays, the question on the minds of many San Franciscans was a familiar one: “Where the hell am I going to park my car?”

A new company called
Parking Panda offers one solution to this perennial problem. Having expanded to San Francisco in September of last year, the Baltimore-based startup aims to make life easier by offering a platform where those looking for parking and those looking to sell it can find each other. The website and its corresponding iPhone app were conceived when one of the founders, a Georgetown student, lived in an apartment with one parking space, when he owned exactly zero cars. Wouldn’t it be easier, he thought, if people could reserve parking ahead of time, rather than endlessly circling the block looking for an open spot? Wouldn’t it be nice, in a city where parking is at a premium, to make a little extra cash selling one’s extra space?

With Parking Panda, such common sense solutions are possible. Drivers can search for daily or monthly parking in commercial garages or private spaces, pay for it online or on their phones, then simply show up and be on their way. Anyone with an empty driveway or garage can list a space and its availability on the site. If it is booked, the owner will get a notification from the company, including the license plate number of the guest vehicle. A check with payment will come straight from Parking Panda, so the extra cash comes without the need to pressure a stranger to pony-up.

With parking in the city getting harder and harder to come by, peer-to-peer consumption like this may soon be the only way to find parking in San Francisco.

More information on Parking Panda can be found


Catering to cyclists

This letter to the editor appeared in the January 2 SF Examiner:

For several years, the San Francisco government, and particularly the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, has prioritized the needs and wants of bicyclists to the detriment of motorists and pedestrians.
Now, a member of The City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee is proposing changing the timing of the stoplights at 12th and Market streets because impatient bicyclists won’t wait up to one minute for the red light to change, choosing instead to run the light.
His reasoning, that the bicyclists face fines if ticketed for running the light, is illogical.
For far too long, bicyclists have been allowed to violate traffic laws that apply to motorists and pedestrians. It’s time for them to follow the laws that apply to everyone else.
Making them wait for up to one minute like everyone else is not punishment.
The needs and wants of motorists and pedestrians need to be considered every now and then.

Howard Epstein
Former chairman
San Francisco Republican Party
San Francisco

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San Francisco: A one-party town

Beyond Chron's Randy Shaw on David Chiu's election yesterday as President of the Board of Supervisors:
Again demonstrating the strong political skills that have typified his career outside his mayoral race, Supervisor David Chiu won unanimous first ballot re-election as President of the Board of Supervisors. The vote followed a debate that began with new Supervisor Norman Yee nominating David Chiu. Jane Kim then nominated Malia Cohen, who in turn nominated Kim. Scott Weiner then announced he would not be a candidate, and he seconded Yee’s nomination of Chiu. John Avalos then seconded the nomination of Kim, and David Campos did likewise for Cohen. But a potentially competitive three way race never occurred.
Who cares? Aside from serving his political ambitions, David Chiu exercises his "strong political skills" in support of development and traffic policies that are bad for the city: the Central Subway, Smart Growth/transit corridors development, the city's predatory anti-carism, and the Bicycle Plan. (Chiu's leadership skills also require not answering difficult questions.)
The other day in the Chronicle, Marisa Lagos pointed out how few serious policy differences there are on the Board of Supervisors:   

For all that's made of the city's political divisions, though, the scorecard reflects how little actually separates its various factions. Overall, the board as a whole agreed with the Chamber of Commerce on 13 of 16 votes; even Avalos voted with the business group far more than he disagreed with its positions.
The reality: As Elizabeth Stevens pointed out in Bay Citizen, San Francisco is a one-party town. That wouldn't be of serious concern if that party didn't support such bad projects and policies.

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