Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Anti-car groups appeal Sunday meters decision

Tom Radulovich

Who exactly are the folks appealing the city's decision to repeal Sunday parking meters? You won't learn much but the names by reading the Examiner's story or the Bay Guardian's account of the appeal, though you do learn more about the appellants in the comments to the Guardian's story. (The Guardian also appends a copy of the actual appeal. If the Guardian can do that, why can't the Examiner?)

Readers of this blog have a better sense of who they are---the usual suspects in the city's anti-car movement, including Tom Radulovich (click on "Tom Radulovich" below this post) of Livable City and Mario Tanev. (See this exchange with Tanev to get a sense of his mindset). And something called the San Francisco Transit Riders Union.

Click on this Livable City link to learn that "Livable City shares an office with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and projects may involve collaboration with SFBC..." Gee, what a surprise! And the San Francisco Transit Riders Union in turn is "sponsored" by Livable City (special bonus: Thea Selby is on the SFTRU's board of directors).

Mayor Lee has been candid about why he wants to discontinue enforcing Sunday parking meters in the neighborhoods: It's a crude, panicky attempt to placate city neighborhoods that are increasingly unhappy with meters and other City Hall "improvements" on city streets. From the Chronicle's story last month:

Before the MTA board vote Tuesday, the mayor had reiterated that continuing to charge for Sunday parking sends the wrong message to the public as key votes loom in the November election on a $500 million bond measure to finance transportation infrastructure and on a separate vehicle license fee hike. The mayor said dropping the charge would make the public "more receptive" to embracing those long-term measures "rather than be nickled and dimed every Sunday" at parking meters, especially because a good part of the money raised is from tickets. "People are getting shocked at it and not expecting it on Sunday."

Board members appeared to take the mayor's advice to heart. "This is going to help us gain support for our ballot measures," said board Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Brinkman. Another member of the panel, Joel Ramos, was more frank. "We have failed, frankly," to convince "the great majority of people" about the basis for the Sunday parking charge. "We have to take a few steps back so we can win in November."

Even long-time members of the city's anti-car movement like Joel Ramos and Cheryl Brinkman understand that Sunday parking meters lack public support, and, like the mayor, are worried about the $500 million bond on the November ballot that needs a 2/3 vote to pass.The vote against the 8 Washington project and the Proposition B initiative on next month's ballot show that the people of San Francisco are getting restless about City Hall's planning and traffic policies.

Also on the November ballot: Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco, an initiative, which for the first time gives city voters a chance to vote against City Hall's anti-car policies that are designed to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to drive in the city.

The anti-car folks are hoping that when their appeal is heard before the Board of Supervisors, progressive supervisors will vote to reject the MTA board's decision to repeal Sunday parking meters. But if the view expressed by Ramos and Brinkman is any indication, that won't happen. Progressive supervisors---elected by districts, not appointed like MTA directors---have to be even more concerned about political unrest in the neighborhoods. And they too are worried that, if the $500 million bond is rejected by city voters, the anti-car MTA gravy train will be derailed, so to speak.

We'll only learn how serious the appellants are if/when the Board of Supervisors rejects their appeal. After that you either go to court or go home.

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At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you try and paint this as an "anti-car" measure. Did you stop to think that businesses might support Sunday metering as well? After all, the chamber of commerce also supports metering on Sundays along with many other groups: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Don-t-roll-back-Sunday-parking-meters-in-San-5393842.php

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

The initiative for the November ballot needs to collect 9,702 signatures first. Let's help them get those signatures!

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"...the chamber of commerce also supports metering on Sundays along with many other groups."

But this post is about those appealing the MTA board's decision to stop enforcing parking meters on Sundays.

At 7:53 PM, Anonymous James said...

What a wussy response, Rob. Afraid of answering the question?

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

If someone brings up a different topic (who supports Sunday metering) when the original post is about something else (who is appealing the decision to rescind Sunday metering), I don't find it awkward to make a comment about the different topic having nothing to do with the conversation. Perhaps the difference is too nuanced for you to notice, but it is different. The chamber of commerce is not appealing the decision, are they?

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Did you stop to think that businesses might support Sunday metering as well?"

I think about a lot of issues that I don't blog about. Maybe you could write about this issue on your blog...oh, wait...

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Radulovich is the most elitist human with two legs. I sat on a committee for the Western Soma plan and actually heard this guy wax poetically for 20 minutes about his latest trip to Paris and how he could see SF being such a place with all height restricted to 5 stories,then construct a underground that runs under ever inch of the city. His progressive view was tight controls on anything outside his world view.

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Tom wants an underground subway that actually functions well? What an elitist.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

That sounds right. Many city progs---especially the bike fanatics---like to tell us how much better Europeans do things than we do, but then their policy prescriptions for SF don't make that claim very convincing.

But to be fair to Radulovich, at least he now opposes the Central Subway, which would seem to contradict your anecdote. In fact he was the first elected public official in SF to oppose that foolish project.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous James said...

Come on Rob this article isn't about bikes and bike fanatics. Let's try and stay on topic.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous sfthen said...

These bicycle people care next to nothing about San Francisco and probably even less about San Francisco businesses. They want more money for their privilege-project, thus they want MTA to have more money. Thus Sunday meters.

The farcical "Transit Riders Union" is a good example: bike types that probably don't even transit. Tanev appears to be a Google employee so his "transit" is a free ride down to Mountain View on a custom vehicle. If he had to take the 14 from Crocker Amazon his kind would drive a car rather than mingle with the people that commute by Muni.

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Come on Rob this article isn't about bikes and bike fanatics. Let's try and stay on topic."

Anti-carism is one of the assumptions underlying BikeThink. You haven't read the links in the post, James, which show who these folks are. It's no accident that Radulovich's group shares an office with the Bicycle Coalition; they have the same agenda.

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous James said...

Ah so the fact that some of the support is coming from "anticarism" groups, in addition to businesses and the chamber of commerce, is worth discussing as a springboard for your article. It doesn't matter if Sunday meters could even help motorists on Sunday to avoid circling for a spot and can increase commercial use of spaces. Why can't you answer the underlying question of whether or not meters on Sunday are worthy or not, regardless of who is in support of them.

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous James said...

@Rkeezy, of course you back up his decision to avoid a simple question that was raised to him, as a trusty laptop of Rob, if not just a username Rob uses to back up his statements.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Sunday parking meters is not just about businesses in the neighborhoods.

The people who are affected the most by the Sunday parking meters are those who own cars but have no garage and have to park on the street. These are working people who need cars to commute and/or use their cars to negotiate the logistics of family life: shopping, getting children to and from school and other activities, etc.

Unlike, for example, the Ninth and Irving neighborhood, this neighborhood, the Divisadero corridor between Haight and Geary, has limited street parking and no city-operated parking lots, which makes it harder for people to visit neighborhood shops and restaurants.

My vision: the city should buy the derelict and eyesore Harding theater on Diviz, tear it down and build an underground parking lot there, with housing and retail space on top.

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dunno about you Rob but last time I checked a lot of these working people couldn't afford a car so rely on public transit--projects you oppose--so please don't lecture us on what the working class needs.

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, you're a moron.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I oppose Muni? Nope. I don't own a car and think Muni is the only realistic alternative to driving in the city for most of us, not riding a bike.

A lot of working people in SF have cars that they need to get to work and live in the city. They are the real victims of City Hall's anti-carism, along with the rest of us, including Muni passengers, stuck in traffic that City Hall is deliberately making a lot worse than it has to be.


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