Friday, March 12, 2010

How anti-car policy hurts the city

Scott James in today's NY Times provides readers with a prime example of how damaging the city's crackpot anti-car policies can be:

In my column today, I explain how restaurants like the Passion Cafe are part of a revitalization plan that could transform the city’s skid row into a type of gourmet ghetto. More than $18 million in taxpayer dollars have been spent on the neighborhood turnaround.

If only the Department of Parking and Traffic was also on board. It turns out that the 6th street redevelopment zone is also home to some of the strictest street parking laws in the city. In some places it is one-hour parking, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Sunday. That’s not exactly conducive to exploring the neighborhood and leisurely dining, and it is out of sync with the parking rules in the city’s other foodie destinations like North Beach, the Castro, and the Marina...

MTA spokesman Judson True provides James with a comment that combines an outright lie with the stupidity typical of that agency:

Mr. True said the tough local parking rules were “fundamentally not about increasing revenue” by issuing violations. He suggested that diners who want to explore the new 6th street should use public transit, walk, bike, hunt adjacent areas for rare two-hour spots or pay to park in garages.

The lie: Of course parking tickets are all about raising revenue for the city, especially in a recession, when people are driving less and committing fewer infractions. As the Examiner recently reported, parking control officers are expected to issue 540 tickets per month.

The stupidity: If a foodie wants to visit this new destination in the city from elsewhere in the Bay Area---or even from across town---she's supposed to ride a bike or the bus?

Interesting to note that the pro-bike Streetsblog didn't include today's story in the NY Times in its usually inclusive "Today's Headlines," probably because it demonstrates how dumb their anti-car ideology is. [The story is listed this Saturday morning.]

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Frank Oppenheimer and the Exploratorium

In the latest New York Review of Books, Timothy Ferris reviews a new biography of Frank Oppenheimer, the man who created the Exploratorium.
The Exploratorium's website: