Bus Stops and Crosswalks: Does Mayor Lee Care Where His Car is Parked?

Ed Lee is at it again. After the mayor’s car was found parked in a Muni bus stop, he was spotted entering the vehicle while it blocked a crosswalk.

SF Weekly and the SFGate Blog reported that Mayor Lee was photographed yesterday by a Twitter user as he entered his Chevy Volt, which his driver had stopped in a crosswalk at Noriega Street and 46th Avenue in the Outer Sunset. Lee was apparently visiting a merchant at the corner, and seemed not to worry about his vehicle blocking a designated pedestrian crossing.

As we reported last week, Lee’s car was found in a Muni stop, while he ordered food at a taqueria outside Glen Park BART. Mayoral spokesperson Christine Falvey said that Lee had “was dropped off and he expected that the vehicle would have been parked in a legal parking space,” even though the driver apparently left the car with Lee. Falvey said the SFPD officer driving the car was “admonished,” adding that “the mayor believes this is unacceptable and steps have been taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Given that it did happen again, it’s quite apparent that pedestrian safety and efficient Muni operations are not on the mayor’s radar as he makes his way around the city. Even though the mayor isn’t driving the car himself, he’s now missed at least two opportunities to ask his chauffeur to not illegally park, and thus insult people who walk or ride Muni.

Daily transportation choices say a lot about individuals, including elected officials, and how much they understand the importance of making the city safer for walking, biking, and transit. A leader certainly can get around in a car, while still caring about street safety. However, Mayor Lee has yet to demonstrate that sustainable transportation and livable streets are a high priority for him, neither through leadership at City Hall nor in his everyday behavior.

Put simply, San Francisco won’t get to Vision Zero if pedestrians have to squeeze around the mayor’s car.

Taking just a few trips by Muni, foot, and bike can go a long way to show that an elected official empathizes with her or his constituents who get around without a car. To see what that looks like, take a gander at tweets like this from Supervisor Scott Wiener’s Twitter feed: