Monday, December 12, 2005

Chris Daly strikes again

I ride Muni every day, and I find all the criticism of the system simply not credible. Muni is a pretty good system, and as soon as the city can agree on how to adequately fund it, it will be able to become a lot better. Yes, of course, it's standing room only during commute hours. So what? 

Instead of focusing on making Muni better, the anti-car folks---led by the city's bicycle fanatics---are determined to punish everyone who drives in the city---whether private auto, taxi, truck, or bus---by making driving in SF as difficult and expensive as possible, which includes eliminating parking whenever/wherever possible. How likely is it that the people who buy the 3000+ luxury condos at Rincon Hill---projects waved through by Chris Daly, by the way---are not going to own cars?

The thing to remember about many progressives in SF is that they are either anti-business or completely insensitive to the needs of the city's business community. (See an earlier post on the subject) Instead of railing about traffic and the "downtown interests," the city's progs need to understand that tourism is the city's largest industry: Last year the city had 15 million visitors/tourists who spent $6.73 billion here. The hotel tax alone brought in $132,155,049 to the city's coffers. 

Making it difficult for people to visit San Francisco by providing inadequate parking and making it hard to drive here is just plain dumb. And keep this in mind about Supervisor Daly: He has allowed 19 marijuana clubs to locate in his district, which includes the downtown area with the big hotels. How's that for lending the city's business community a hand? 

Daly also opposes Mayor Newsom's increasingly successful approach to homelessness in the city, even though one of the things that tourists complain about the most is homelessness and the associated squalor on downtown streets. Daly doesn't care and apparently neither does the city's progressive community.

Subject: Attack on Autos in SF Continues
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005

You are right except "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." You have to make taking the bus more attractive than driving and parking. As bad as the latter are, taking the bus is worse for those with an alternative. I drive my wife to work in 15 minutes despite the bad drivers and near misses (accidents) because the alternative would take her one hour or more stuffed in a bus with people eating or smelling like food and playing noise. The cost to me is one hour of my day to save my wife two hours of unpleasantness. As long as you have to wait 30+ minutes for a bus and then see there are two or three bunched together; as long as you get pushed around, have the potential of theft or worse, you will not make San Franciscans with an alternative take the bus. How about those 5000 bus stops that buses never fully pull into so they are still blocking the traffic lane and also taking up valuable parking places. 

Why not let the bus stop in the right traffic lane, have a bulb out for passengers to get on and off (and make the crossing for pedestrians shorter and safer), and turn the bus stops into 4 metered parking spaces plus free parking at night for local residents? 10,000 to 20,000 parking places going to waste plus revenue. Why not? Because the system lacks the will, foresight, imagination and problem solving capabilities that it needs to be worthy of a transit-first policy. You have to start with the personnel policies and listen to the riders and non-riders. Eliminating parking from residential housing will only exacerbate the parking problem, not drive people to a use a subpar bus system in a city with a wonderful bus route. I can remember when . . . . .Andrew, I'd like to hear your response.


From: "Jeff Hagan"
Subject: Attack on Autos in SF Continues
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005

No, he's not.
As is typical with Chris Daly, he has taken a concept that can work only if it is implemented properly with careful preparation and attempted to apply it in such an extreme, loony manner that he has rendered it laughable and unworkable. He is a clown and an embarrassment to our City.

From: Andrew Sullivan
Subject: Attack on Autos in SF Continues
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005

Take transit! The whole point of this is to make downtown more walkable and transit-accessible, and reduce auto traffic. More riders on Muni means more revenue for Muni, and less auto congestion. Chris Daly's not always right, but he is on this one.
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: Attack on Autos in SF continues

Eliminating parking in new residential construction is a concept CSFN clearly opposes, even though the specific legislation has not yet been voted upon.

San Francisco currently has a shortage of parking in the commercial core and business areas adjacent to downtown. Parking prices are sky-high and downtown merchants are already losing customers who are unable to find or afford parking in the area. A surefire solution to the parking shortage is to build parking that meets San Francisco's growing demands. But some politicians at City Hall have a very different idea.

San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly has introduced legislation to restrict parking downtown, and in adjacent SOMA, Jackson Square,Tenderloin and Civic Center areas. In fact, they want to see two cars fight it out for every one parking space, instead of building parking to accommodate the very real needs of residents, businesses and hotels.

The proposed legislation makes it impossible to build necessary parking downtown:

* No Place for Residents to Park: According to the Planning Department, at least 80% of downtown homeowners own at least one car. Many of these residents walk or take public transit to work and only use their cars on the weekends and evenings. This legislation will prohibit construction of more than one parking space for every two new housing units, while prohibiting construction of new stand-alone parking garages or the expansion of existing garages.

* Some Families Need Cars: Not everyone can walk or take public transit. In particular, families with children or disabled and elderly members often cannot function without a car. This legislation only drives these families out of the City.

* More Double-Parking: Downtown streets are already congested with passenger cars, taxis, bicyclists, delivery trucks, MUNI buses and cable cars. By reducing residential parking and eliminating hotel entryways and curb cuts for deliveries, this legislation will encourage dangerous double-parking situations. Downtown streets will be less safe with double-parked cars blocking traffic and frustrating MUNI and other commuters.

* Increased Traffic Congestion: Without a parking space, residents and visitors to downtown will spend extra time searching for parking. This means more vehicles jamming up the streets, particularly during peak commute times.

* Overburdening our MUNI System: MUNI is in a budget crunch and has just reduced its service, exasperating passengers with unreliable commute times, longer waits, crowded buses and increased fares. Reducing parking in the downtown area and nearby C-3 districts would only worsen the situation. More buses would be blocked by double-parked cars looking for parking, and more people would crowd MUNI to get to and around downtown. This legislation should be shelved until significant improvements have been made to San Francisco's public transportation system.

* Harder For Downtown Businesses: If downtown apartment owners and renters cannot park in their own buildings, they will seek spaces in existing commercial parking garages. This legislation will drive up the price of parking in downtown for everyone. The scarce supply of commercial and visitor parking should be reserved for shoppers, tourists, museum goers and not be used by permanent residents.

* Makes Hospitality Industry Less Hospitable: Hotels need loading entryways to keep traffic running smoothly and to keep visitors and their belongings protected from the weather. This legislation will prohibit hotel entryways, causing double parking and traffic backup.

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