Saturday, March 06, 2010

Surprise! Streetsblog doesn't like shopping malls

No one has to guess why the anti-car website Streetsblog doesn't like shopping malls: people have to drive their death monsters, a k a "automobiles," to get there. Even worse, malls have a lot of parking for their customers. The horror!

From the MTA's Extended Meter Hours Study:

Malls do not offer the charm, character, and experience of a great San Francisco neighborhood. San Francisco's neighborhoods are special places that many people want to experience. However, one great thing about places like Stonestown or Bay Street is that although parking is not necessarily free (e.g., drivers must pay for parking at Bay Street), it is almost always easy to find. That can't always be said for many of San Francisco's neighborhood commercial districts, especially in the evenings and on Sundays when parking demand is typically at its peak. Parking availability is an important part of what makes commercial districts attractive (page 30).

Just for the record, parking at Stonestown is free, and there's a lot of it. On a recent visit to Stonestown, I saw a lot of people there, with the food court on the top floor packed with diners.

San Francisco is trying to implement contradictory policies---making it as hard and expensive as possible for people to drive and park in the city, even as it acknowledges that our neighborhoods need parking if they are to prosper. 

Want to shop or dine at the Ninth and Irving neighborhood? There are a couple of parking lots in the neighborhood, or you can park in the garage under the Concourse in nearby Golden Gate Park and take a pleasant stroll to the neighborhood. 

Want to dine at Greens at Fort Mason? Lots of parking for the restaurant, the theaters, and the fine library bookstore there. If, on the other hand, you are across town and want to drive over to dine in my neighborhood, the Divisadero corridor between Haight Street and McAllister Street, brace yourself for a parking hassle.

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Howard Zinn: "overly schematic, simplistic and ideologically driven"

Even serious leftist intellectuals like The Nation's Eric Alterman admit that Howard Zinn's work is political propaganda:

"Personally, while I found the poetry and audacity of Zinn's work exhilarating upon first encountering it, by the time I earned my history doctorate, it felt overly schematic, simplistic and ideologically driven. Politically, I also found myself at odds with Zinn, who supported Ralph Nader not only in 2000 but also in 2004 and even in 2008, and who recently judged Barack Obama's approach to foreign policy to be 'hardly any different from a Republican.'"

More systematic critiques of Zinn's work here.