I recently invited some friends over for a barbecue and one couple was quite late. As they were usually punctual I was beginning to get worried when they sent me a text saying they were sorry but couldn’t find parking, the kids were starting to melt-down and they decided to head back home. I felt terrible that they went through that hassle and disappointed that they couldn’t make the party.

Anyone in district 3 who owns a car, but doesn’t have a garage, knows this is not unusual. People who live elsewhere think it is ridiculous what we put up with, and it’s about to get much worse. The San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation  Agency has plans to remove hundreds more parking spaces in the near future.

I recently met with the City’s Chief Engineer for Livable Streets, to try to convince him that the proposed “bulb-outs” were dangerous, and asked him “why there are so many apartment buildings without garages”. He responded that they didn’t have many cars when they were built. Wrong. Even a hundred years ago, they had sense to build garages every block or two, each which would hold 40 or 50 cars. Perhaps cars then were not as safe, and storing lots of gasoline under bedrooms, was not considered ideal.

Over the years, nearly all of these garages were converted or torn down, causing drivers to rely more on street parking. For several years now the SFMTA has been systematically removing parking spaces. They rationalize that fewer spaces equates to fewer cars. Ironically they also say that 30 per cent of the traffic, are drivers looking for parking. One would think that removing parking would therefore add to the increasing traffic, but logic seems to elude the SFMTA. There are more cars and traffic than ever, despite the MTA’s  social engineering. Most of our families have been driven away and the lack of parking is the number one complaint I hear. My opponent spearheaded the change in our parking requirements for new developments. Instead of a MINIMUM of 1 space per unit, we now have a MAXIMUM of 3 spaces for every 4 units. This undoubtedly adds pressure on our street parking. We are about to lose hundreds of parking spaces along the Polk St. and Van Ness Ave. corridor, with no mitigation planned. This will hurt residents, businesses and visitors. Even if you don’t drive, the congestion will have a negative effect on your quality of life.

I recommend the construction of more off-street parking, near our business corridors which will help businesses, residents and visitors. They will also generate revenue for the City, as all parking structures do. They will also allow the SFMTA to accommodate handicapped, delivery, pick-up and drop-offs at the curb. They would also allow more bike lanes where appropriate.

Another important piece of the puzzle is for the City to create parking where visitors enter, such as Mission Bay. By allowing visitor to park their cars immediately upon arrival and taking public transportation, walk or bike to their destination will alleviate much of our traffic, and allow visitors an alternative to the challenging city driving and parking.

Forcing trucks to double-park and shoppers and residents to keep circling the block, is not good for anyone and The SFMTA is making matters worse.

4 thoughts on “Let me out of this car!

    1. Rob, thanks for your response. I am not against bike riders, in fact I ride myself, as well as walk and drive and ride Muni. I do believe that we have too much special interest pitted against other special interest. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. For example, building a couple more garages like the one at Bush and Polk, would mitigate the loss of parking bike lanes would cause, and prevent trucks from having to double park as well. There is far too much circling the block, which isn’t good for anyone. We need leadership that unifies our city, not cause neighbors to square off.


      1. I walk and ride Muni and don’t own a car. I’m not “against bike riders,” either, but I am against redesigning city streets to benefit that small minority against the interests of more than 90% of those who now use city streets. Your campaign shouldn’t try to square the circle on this issue, since there really isn’t any mitigation, for example, for the Masonic Avenue bike project that will eliminate 167 street parking spaces on behalf of an unknown number of future cyclists.

        Talking about unifying on the traffic issue is a false path. As a candidate, you have to take a stand based on the facts. Dean Preston, a candidate in District 5, is apparently staking out a similar position. He’s basing his whole campaign on the housing issue, which surely is the most important issue the city faces. But housing and development are intimately linked to transportation issues: so-called Smart Growth and anti-carism is bad for the city:


      2. If you read my post again, you can see my solution is to provide off-street parking. All means of transportation need to be included in any changes that happen. I don’t believe the MTA is doing that. That is what I believe, not some campaign strategy.


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