Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Examiner and the city's "war on cars"

Good to see Examiner columnist Sally Stephens acknowledging City Hall's anti-car policies in a column earlier this month (SF residents are the only casualties in ‘war on cars’):

San Francisco is a transit-first city. Those of us who live here are told we should use Muni to get around. Or ride a bike. Or walk. But above all else, we should not drive our cars. To reinforce this, city policy makes it easy to remove existing parking spaces — turning curbside parking spots into parklets — and explicitly prevents new developments from providing a parking space for every unit built. Some have called this a “war on cars.”

The city has defined "transit first" so that it includes bicycles---and any other "improvement" it wants to make to city streets.

Stephens points out that City Hall is just beginning to study the significant traffic impact of Uber and Lyft:

There’s no war on cars in San Francisco if the cars are being driven for profit. Those are welcome here — even if the drivers don’t live here, don’t pay taxes here and, often, don’t even know how to get from one place to another in The City. No, the war on cars is aimed at San Francisco residents. A recent report released by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority showed that cars from ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft make more than 170,000 trips — driving more than half a million miles — within The City every weekday. Nearly 6,000 ride-hail cars clog the streets during peak commute hours.

In spite of the increased congestion, San Francisco residents actually own more cars than ever. They are surely victims of the city's anti-car policy that's redesigning city streets to discourage driving, particularly if they don't have a parking garage and have to rely on street parking even when they're at home.

The head of the SFCTA, by the way, has spent a good part of her career pushing congestion pricing, a plan to charge everyone a fee when they drive downtown in San Francisco. 

Stephens doesn't mention it, but an important part of the anti-car policy is on behalf of the small city minority of cyclists, taking away street parking and traffic lanes on busy streets to make bike lanes. Insult to injury, the city preys on everyone who drives in the city as an important source of income.

Stephens is the first Examiner columnist to discuss the anti-car issue since days of yore when Ken Garcia was writing for the paper.

The Examiner joined the groupthink anti-car consensus five years ago after the Examiner merged with the Bay Guardian and the SF Weekly. Since then this Examiner editorial on Polk Street is typical of the paper's support for anti-carism.

And, like the Chronicle, the now-defunct Bay Guardian, and the SF Weekly, the Examiner has never done a story on that UC study on cycling accidents that the city's media has been strenuously ignoring.

One more complaint: I've done almost 200 posts that are tagged "Examiner" since 2005. Along with its editorial shortcomings, the Examiner is negligent and irresponsible about access to its archives. Most of the links in those posts are no longer functional. Instead, you get this page:

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