Your Eyes on Your Streets: Space Hogs

Our first user-generated slide show, on bike traffic, was a lot of fun. (See it here.)
This time out, we’re looking for pictures that show cars — the most
inefficient form of transportation — hogging public space.

IMG_0477_1.JPGReader
Evan Goldin has already sent along a few, including the image at right,
which he snapped with his iPhone at the 22nd Street Caltrain Station in
San Francisco. He says it’s a common situation for the commuters
leaving the station to be forced into a tiny space by cars parked so
that they take up half the sidewalk.

You see this stuff
all the time, right? People and bikes being pushed aside by cars? Take
some pictures of it. Send them to sarah [at] streetsblog [dot] org. Or
tag them "streetsblog" and "spacehog" in Flickr. We’ll make another
cool slide show.

So far almost all our submissions are
from the coastal states. Let’s change that. We want to see what you’re
seeing in the South, the Midwest, the Southwest. Everywhere. Outside
the U.S. is good, too.

Get your entries in by the end of the day Friday, and we’ll get the results up next week. We can’t do it without you.

  • I use this station. The exit has a shamefully bad design. There are train load of passengers pour out at the same spot, only to find narrow side walk with parked cars cutting another 2 feet into it. Notice other obstacles like the giant trash can next to the exit. Adding to this is many people hauling bicycles up the stairs with the crowd. Once the reach the street level there are few space for them to launch the bike.

    Simply removing a few parking spots will make a huge difference to this exit. People can disperse more easily and bicycle can find some space to take off.

  • zsolt

    Hey, at least there’s space to pass. In SF, a city with a bad sidewalk parking problem, you can consider that generous!

  • Adam

    This is a classic post of this website and the reason I’m going to stop reading this blog.

    You always focus on the negative side of things, slamming the dreaded automobile and in general not offering any solutions.

    I’ve been reading this blog now for almost a month and am surprised just how negative all of you are. Always complaining about one thing or another but you rarely offer any real options. For example, in this photo, did anyone think of asking the station to put in concrete bumpers about a foot from the curb so cars couldn’t back over the sidewalk? Or how about moving the garbage can to a less traffic-heavy location? I’m guessing not. Instead this article is posted, further showing just how ineffective we are.

    Face it, you’re never going to get cars off the road, you’re fighting an uphill battle and you’re not making people sympathetic to our cause.

    Yes, I am a bike rider and am annoyed by some of the actions of car drivers. But do I feel that I am more entitled to be on the street than cars? NO! And that’s exactly how I feel all of your bloggers are coming across on here.

    I’d like to say I enjoyed reading your blog but in actuality it wasn’t pleasurable and I didn’t learn anything other than you are the cause of more problems than you’re actually correcting.

    I for one am going to keep riding my bike everywhere, being as nice as I can to all users of the road and trying to be a good example of what a bike rider can be.

  • Adam, if you don’t mind taking a step off your soap box and joining us peons for a moment. My first thought was also to put a concrete bumper up, but the only way we can get changes like that is pointing them out in a possibly “negative” way.

    Also, this site is anything but negative all the time. How many great articles have been written about Sunday Streets and Pavement to Parks? The city is doing great work to make pedestrian (and soon bike) experiences much better. But there is still a lot of work to be done, and sometimes you have to point out the glaring problems to have any hope of changing them.

  • Tyler

    Sorry Mike but I have to agree with Adam on this one. Pointing out problems without offering solutions or asking for solutions doesn’t help one bit.

    I don’t mind pointing things out that need fixing, it’s the only way to get things done. But to just point out the negative all the time doesn’t fix anything unless there is action called for behind it and I don’t see any action to this article other than “You see this stuff all the time, right? People and bikes being pushed aside by cars? Take some pictures of it.”

    What solution does that offer?

  • Hey Adam, speaking of only focusing on the negative, maybe you could look in the mirror. If you haven’t found anything positive posted on Streetsblog, you haven’t been looking very hard. Goodbye and good luck.

  • Hey Adam, thanks for raising that point. I’m the person who submitted the photo. In fact, long before I sent this Streetsblog, I took this photo EXACTLY because I wanted to email Caltrain about the sitaution.

    I did, and I never heard back. Though I imagine it’s probably an SF PWD issue, so I should email them as well.

    So yes, we should be focusing on solutions and not just problems — but you shouldn’t assume that’s not already happening.

  • SFResident

    Tyler, taking pictures of spaces where bicycles and cars interact poorly creates an objective record that can be used to guide discussions and arguments about infrastructure development. It provides proof against the argument that bicyclists are just ‘making things up’ and should just “deal with it.” Perhaps as the site matures there will be a greater emphasis on lobbying and such, but it’s hard to fix a problem if you can’t show that it exists.

    I happen to think that the “us vs. them” attitude and the framing of bicycling as a form of identity politics isn’t terribly productive, but that’s only a small (if loud) slice of what I read in the stories and the comments here.

  • Agreed SFResident. You said it much more eloquently then myself.

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