Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Shortage of parking leads to traffic congestion

The city's dumb anti-car/anti-parking policy continues unabated, even in the face of protest from the neighborhoods. In a Chronicle story on a planned 71-unit housing development that will only have five parking spaces, the city defends the official anti-car doctrine:

At a Planning Commission hearing last month, opponents turned in a petition with the signatures of 457 people against the project. Speaker after speaker argued it was wrong for the neighborhood, with many charging it would make a bad local parking situation much, much worse...Parking is the battleground in the transit-first world of San Francisco development. Planners and environmental activists argue that limits on parking are the only way to keep congestion from strangling city streets, while developers and many residents complain that the tough new rules reflect a hazy vision of some car-free urban utopia and not the reality of life in a major American city.

As I've pointed out in earlier posts, a shortage of parking leads to more traffic congestion, and an adequate supply of parking reduces traffic congestion.

But recall that it was the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors that unanimously passed the 500-page anti-car Bicycle Plan even though that ambitious project to redesign city streets on behalf of cyclists had had no environmental review. We tried to warn the city at the time that this was clearly illegal, but presenting a fact-based argument to those in the grip of an essentially religious doctrine was futile. It took a Superior Court judge to provide the city with a reality-check.

Nevertheless, the city continues to adhere to the anti-car dogma---at least when it's convenient to do so. When the city issued its Extended Meter Hours study last year, it was singing a different tune:

More parking availability means that drivers will spend less time circling in search of parking spaces. Circling reduces safety, wastes fuel, and increases greenhouse gas emissions. Less circling will reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the quality of life in San Francisco's neighborhoods (page 27, Extended Meter Hours Study).

Since Leah Shahum is out of town, no recent anti-car/anti-parking story would be complete without a soundbite from Tom Radulovich, who has been an anti-car voice in SF for years:

"The longer people live in a transit-rich corridor, the more likely they are to live without a car," he said. "We want to make parking a matter of choice for residents; this is a great place to live if you're hip and urban and want to live without a car."

There's nothing more pathetic than a middle-aged guy who thinks he's "hip."

Nearly all the online comments to the Chronicle article are rightly scornful of the city's anti-car policy.

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At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I've pointed out in earlier posts, a shortage of parking leads to more traffic congestion, and an adequate supply of parking reduces traffic congestion.

Clicking through to that "earlier post" - I see this...

"I of course think a shortage of parking creates more problems than too much parking."

That's a neat trick. You posit something as "fact", and reference YOURSELF. Not only do you reference yourself, you don't reference research, study, or any facts - you reference yourself "thinking".

Karl Rove would be proud. Hell, Glenn Beck would be proud. Anti-intellectualism at its finest.

If it read "As I've pointed out in earlier posts, I THINK a shortage of parking leads to more traffic congestion, and an adequate supply of parking reduces traffic congestion." I'd give you a pass.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You were in such a hurry to score points and be clever you didn't read the post I linked, wherein I compare the parking lots at several busy grocery stores: Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Lucky Market. Trader Joes, with the smallest parking lot, has the most traffic congestion, while Lucky, with the most parking, has the least congestion. What Beck and Rove have to do with traffic in San Francisco is left for you to explain.

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

Okay, I get it: you're suggesting that deliberately making traffic unnecessarily worse in SF---the Bicycle Plan, restricting parking, the congestion pricing scheme, etc.---is a left-wing movement, you are correct. It's not clear, however, where local conservatives stand on the issue.

At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apples and oranges. Trader Joes is more congested because Lucky's sucks compared to TJ's.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Lucky is a traditional, full-service supermarket, which Trader Joes isn't. I'm at Lucky several times a week, and they're always busy. But the subject is parking: Lucky has 250 parking spaces, while Trader Joes has only 61.

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bi-Rite has no parking. By your definition 18th Street should be impassable, and Bi-Rite should be out of business. Instead 18th is fine, and Bi-Rite is jammed.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes - if parking is the key - why did Sears and Mervyn's croak in that parking laden locale?

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Then there's no problem, is there? Bi-Rite caters to people who don't drive to shop, while Trader Joes and Lucky do.

At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pushing 50 and am hip as fuck.

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Au contraire. If there is no parking, people will walk or take transit. If there is parking they will drive, and create congestion.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"No parking" for any of the supermarkets in SF? Even the Planning Commission would balk at that idea. The reality is that a lot of people choose to drive in SF, and that works where there's adequate parking, like at the Lucky market at Fulton and Masonic. It doesn't work well at the Trader Joes at Geary and Masonic, because their parking lot is too small. The closer we get to your crackpot ideal the more the city's economy is going to suffer.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Yes - if parking is the key - why did Sears and Mervyn's croak in that parking laden locale?"

I don't know, but it probably didn't have anything to do with parking.

"I'm pushing 50 and am hip as fuck."

It's pathetic that you even make that claim.

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Miyako said...

Miyako miyako!

Doesn't change the facts. Legitimate people don't want more cars here. I laugh at the fools looking for parking. To hell with them. Eventually they'll go away.

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous perfect storm? said...

Hummm... I am now thinking that we should let things get real bad vis traffic. People will not give up cars particularly for those people who have no viable option. Those who cannot ride a bike, choose not to take muni or wait for an expensive cab, those with kids(!) yes there are people with those little people. I think eventually issues like this and others (eg., street people, out of control crime, violent club scene, poo and pee, Laura's Law issues) will form the perfect storm. Perhaps then the voters will connect the dots?? nawwww...

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless - the Target should be fought because it is run by a bunch of bigots.

The retail company Target made history recently--in a very bad way. Target
became one of the first corporations to take advantage of the Supreme
Court's Citizens United ruling by giving $150,000 to support a far-right,
anti-gay, anti-immigrant candidate for governor in Minnesota.1

The resulting outcry has been overwhelming. Last week more than 260,000
people across the country signed a petition telling Target to stop trying
to buy elections. Then, more than 4,000 people brought letters announcing
a boycott to local Target store managers across the country. And MoveOn
members in Minneapolis drew media outlets from around the country to a
high-profile petition delivery at Target's headquarters.

But despite all of the attention and pressure, Target has so far refused
to stop trying to buy elections.

And now the company wants to open stores in San Francisco.2 And so San
Franciscans have a unique opportunity to have a big impact.

Right now you can help turn up the heat on Target by calling Mayor
Newsom's office and telling him that Target is trying buy elections,
supporting right-wing candidates, and doesn't belong in San
Francisco. Here's the number:
(415) 554-6141

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who lives right next to bi-rite (which has 1/10th the square footage of TJs) parking and congestion is a serious issue, notice all the "Do not park here/respect the neighbor's" signs on the garages near bi-rite.


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