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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