Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two SF polls: Tourism, cars, congestion pricing, and RCV

Two polls reveal what city residents think about important issues and how tourists travel to and around San Francisco.

The SF Travel Association's Visitor Profile Research has some good news for the city's economy:

In 2010 San Francisco welcomed 15.92 million visitors, an increase of 3.1 percent from 2009. These visitors spent $8.34 billion in 2010, up 6.2 percent from the previous year. The tourism industry generated $485 million in taxes for the City of San Francisco, up 4 percent from the previous year. Tourism supported 67,122 jobs in 2010 with an annual payroll of $1.88 billion. In 2010, there was an average of 126,931 visitors in San Francisco each day. Visitor spending equated to $22.84 million daily (including spending related to meetings and conventions).

How did all these people get to the city?

While San Francisco visitors can—and do—arrive in the city by a variety of methods, airlines are quite clearly a popular means of traveling to San Francisco. During 2010 twice as many visitors arrived in San Francisco by air (58.0%) than automobile (28.1%), which was the second most common transportation mode. Relatively few visitors arrived via other forms of transportation.

How do tourists get around the city after they arrive?

Survey respondents were asked to indicate the modes of transportation they used (or planned to use) while in San Francisco. Four in ten report taking taxis while in the city (38.1%). Other automobile options are popular amongst San Francisco visitors, with 35.1 percent using a personal car and 14.6 percent using a rental car. Additionally, the city’s public transportation options are being utilized by important shares of visitors. Over one quarter (27.6%) rode the cable cars, while 22.9 percent took MUNI trains and/or buses and 18.3 percent rode the F-Line street cars. One in four used BART (26.7%).

Funny, but there's no mention of bicycles. Add up the percentages, and 87.8% of tourists use Death Monsters---aka, automobiles---to get around in SF.

The Chamber of Commerce poll of 500 city voters shows increasing public optimism about things in general, as many apparently buy into Mayor Lee's "consensus" approach on public policy.

But 61% of city voters still think parking in the city is getting worse, and 78% oppose congestion pricing, that is, paying $3.00 to drive downtown in their own city.

Those polled also prefer traditional runoff elections over Ranked Choice Voting 52% to 42%. Many voters don't trust the RCV system: 70% thought either that their votes weren't counted or were unsure if they were counted, which bodes well for the Elsbernd/Farrell effort to repeal RCV.

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