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    Dave Moore

    So? It still doesn’t mean anything. There’s also an implicit assumption that all “car light” households are aligned with opposition of Prop L, which is nonsense. Even if some or most are, it’s certainly not all. It just weakens some reasonably sound arguments about paid parking and who uses Muni.

    Another case of this is his use of the total number of street parking spaces to determine his 2% figure of eliminated spaces. It may be accurate but it’s not useful. That number includes many spaces that are not in any competition with those what were eliminated, which were mostly done in areas that have tight parking already. I agree with the car share use of these spaces, although I think they should be charged more for them, but Aaron weakens his case by throwing around bogus or useless numbers.



    From the WSJ three years ago. If we were “almost there” in terms of being energy-independant then, we are surely there now.

    To your other point, I wasn’t advocating building more car infrastructure, at least not in SF. It was more an argument that we can’t just get rid of it either, any time soon.



    “Many of the problems that you cite are self-correcting. For instance, if
    the roads become more crowded and/or driving becomes more expensive,
    then some people will get rid of their cars, thereby alleviating the
    cost and congestion for those who do not.”

    The invisible hand works… eventually. That’s why we have booms and busts.

    America is not a net energy exporter. No way. And this analysis is junk anyway, the real folly of our energy extraction is that we price and sell only by production costs, never factoring in the fact that each barrel of oil we burn means that that barrel is gone and we can never burn it again. The runway is long enough that costs have not started to factor in the opportunity cost of not being able to sell that barrel of oil 50 years from now for much more money. The Koch Brothers will never live to see that day so who cares?

    It’s not a good outcome to build more parking and roads based on car usage expanding, and then when the trend changes we will have all this useless asphalt, most of which gets completed just about the time it becomes useless. I guess it creates a lot of jobs though!



    Some good news, recent customer satisfaction surveys indicated almost 2/3s of muni riders rated the service as fair/good/ or excellent. Hopefully the anger and mistrust of the SFMTA shown in the Yes on L crowd is a small, but loud minority.



    Pretty easy to extrapolate from car ownership per household numbers and average household size numbers. And as we know the population is growing faster than the housing stock so that household size is increasing.



    Man, those Yes on L flyers are classic misinformation and fear-mongering. Speculation equated as fact based on the assumption that the SFMTA “other” have all the worst intentions; insinuating that the thoughts and opinions of few are actually those of the majority; and, semi-relatedly, insisting that anyone who thinks differently should “get real.” Unfortunately, I don’t think the No on L flyers are currently direct enough in their opposition to the baseless claims of the Yes folks.



    Anecdotal personal references do not make the best perspectives from which to view city planning and propose regional transportation solutions. As Karen said, it’s not about everyone not owning or driving, but the more people that drive less the better for everyone, even drivers. And the lower one’s income, the bigger the financial and time burden car ownership entails.

    The problems of driving are not self correcting, they require government intervention (often that counteracts previous subsidies) such as charging for parking, congestion pricing, and VLF increases. All of those costs would reduce driving but also, as you both said, make driving easier. These costs will not happen under the status quo, the only incentive to not drive will be congestion and that impacts other modes to almost the same degree, undermining alternatives to driving.



    Agreed, but I do think that many people and the Prop L supporters/proponents in general have rejected or are in denial about your point 9. Without being able to agree that SF and the region are growing rapidly and are going to continue, we’re not going to be able to come to any kinds of understanding about how to best accommodate that growth.



    The idea that we need 62% of housing units to be built and sold below market makes me wonder if we’re really solving the right problem. Isn’t that essentially a socialization of housing? How is raffling off subsidized housing to a lucky few ‘fair’?

    The root problem here is income inequality. Let’s address that instead.



    You make some good points although predicting the imminent demise of the car is a stretch. There is really no sign of that happening and I would guess we are at least a hundred years away from that reality, especially now that the US is a major energy exporter again. That means that nobody who is an adult today is going to see a car-free world. And moreover that gives technology a long long time to come up with other solutions for private transportation.

    Many of the problems that you cite are self-correcting. For instance, if the roads become more crowded and/or driving becomes more expensive, then some people will get rid of their cars, thereby alleviating the cost and congestion for those who do not.

    In fact, I’d be perfectly happy for driving to cost more if that meant that other people quit driving, because it would make driving for the rest of us quicker and easier. Driving is fairly price-inelastic for my family’s lifestyle, although we do take Muni and BART as well, where and when it makes sense.

    Outside of the north-east of the city, driving is still the quickest way of getting around town. I am fortunate to live close to the geographic center of the city and I can be almost anywhere I need to be in 15-20 minutes – much more reliable, fast, safe and comfortable than trying to take a bus. And cycling isn’t an option for us.

    SF will be car-centric until either technology provides an alternative (shareable driverless electric cars constantly available or, more speculatively, flying cars). Or until we build a serious subway system that runs throughout the city, rather than the piecemeal rail segments that we have right now. BART would be the best basis for that.

    In the end, SF is really the downtown of an urban area that stretches for 50 miles north, east and south. Without any serious and unified rail system, we’re going to be driving cars around for as far as can be forseen. Bikes and buses don’t work over those distances – it is either car or train.

    Prop L isn’t the solution but neither is the war on cars. A focus on providing an alternative rather than just making things expensive and inconvenient for the majority of SF residents who drive is a better way. Where is the vision to build an alternative rather than destroy the only alternative that many currently have?


    Karen Lynn Allen

    A review of why it is completely self-destructive for anyone making under $100K to try to protect car-space and car-privilege in San Francisco. (And relatively self-destructive for anyone making $100-$200K.)

    1) San Francisco is growing denser. More people are moving here. Because we have parking minimums in the new condo complexes, a high percentage are bringing at least one car with them.

    2) There is only so much space in San Francisco.

    3) Even if every new condo has one underground parking space, there is no increase of parking *at the place where you or this new resident wants to go*. In fact, many, many new condos are being built on former surface parking lots.

    4) Even if every new condo has one underground parking space, there is no increase of space on our streets for people to drive. Congestion is not linear. More people driving means gridlock because there just isn’t enough lane space unless we want to eliminate all curb parking or tear down buildings and widen roads. (Even then, it’s been proven that allocating additional space to cars only induces more demand, leaving them as congested as before.)

    5) Personal cars, either on our roads or stored when parked, are an incredibly inefficient use of space. See poster below. The only way San Francisco can possibly survive growing denser is for people to make most of their trips by a mode other than personal car. Because of the extraordinary space differential, sacrificing 10% lane space and parking spaces will benefit drivers even if it only increases walking/biking/transit mode share by 10%.

    6) Car ownership is expensive and will get more so. If you make under $100K, car ownership will impoverish you in short order. This will be true in expensive cities like NY and SF first, but this phenomenon will spread to smaller cities and then to suburbs. The poorest people in San Francisco are already living car-free. (Look at Chinatown, the poorest, most car-free neighborhood in SF.) Young people are already sensibly figuring out how to live car-lite and car-free. (Often making use of car-sharing for a small number of trips.) Next will be seniors who will discover living car-lite or car-free isn’t so bad. It’s true that living car-lite or car-free means redesigning one’s way of life somewhat, but the biggest redesign usually entails moving to somewhere where walking, biking and taking transit is pleasant, safe and quick. If walking, biking and transit improves around you, you don’t have to move!

    7) If you don’t care about car ownership impoverishing you, you simply must drive, and you hope to either have room on the road or a place to park when you get to where you’re going, then you want as many people in San Francisco to walk, bike or take transit as possible, because that is the only way there will be space enough for *you* to drive. Especially if you hope to drive in the NE quadrant of San Francisco. Think about it. More people are living there, more cars are fighting for the same amount of road space, and the number of private surface parking lots is falling drastically. This means congestion can only worsen even if we tear down buildings to make more parking garages. (Note: new condos are far more lucrative than new parking garages.) Trying to keep access to a small number of curbside parking spots with more and more cars fighting for them IS A FAILING STRATEGY. It cannot possibly work.

    8) There are two ways to get people to walk, bike or take transit. The first is the carrot–making walking, biking and transit pleasant and quick. The second is the stick–make parking and car ownership in general more expensive. To achieve a city without gridlock in the NE quadrant both tools must be used.

    9) You might think the answer is not to increase walking/biking/transit mode share in San Francisco, but rather get rid of all the new people. Good luck with that. Yes, there will be a housing crash at some point, and rents and housing prices will fall, but the forces leading people away from suburbs to dense cities will not lessen. And remember, per capita people in cities use less water, use less energy, emit fewer carbon emissions, and are healthier than people in suburbs (so their healthcare costs are not such a drain on society.) In addition, since cars suck money out of local economies, car-light cities are inevitably more prosperous. Taking car space and turning it into people space is a trend that is going to intensify, even if we do our best to keep walking and biking stressful and dangerous, and even if we keep Muni slow and unpleasant. Far better to work with the forces of history than against them.

    10) You might think the answer is to put roads and Muni underground. Good luck with that. Tunneling is very, very expensive. Some will happen but not nearly fast enough to accommodate the rate of increasing density.

    11) You might think the answer is to not let people from outside SF drive to SF and clog our roads so that people who live here can drive on them. This is a partial solution, certainly, but if you want people outside of SF to take transit, it has to be quick and pleasant for them, and then they need a quick and pleasant connection (be it walking, biking or more transit) to get to their destination. Keeping walking, biking and transit stressful and dangerous in SF is guaranteed to keep suburbanites driving here and clogging everything.

    11) If you make under $100K and can’t imagine not driving everywhere you go, then consider moving to the suburbs. You’ll probably last three more years there before your car goes the way of the dinosaur than you will in San Francisco. Oh, but everyone in the future will be driving electric cars! Consider this: if you can’t afford an electric car today, why would you be able to afford one three years from now? (And there still won’t be space for everyone to drive even an electric car in San Francisco.)

    If you make under $100K, look at the future. Where is it going? Which side, the car-driving elite or the non-car-driving masses, are you likely to be on? Why protect car-privilege when in a few short years it is guaranteed to benefit mostly very rich people (driving electric cars, to be sure) and very likely to harm the future you?

    Note: I define car-lite as having only one car per 2+ person household that is used for trips out of town and maybe one in-city trip per week.



    Only if developers are only planning on selling properties as investments to be flipped short-term. There’s plenty of profit in building apartments.



    “It’s probably fair to say that everything tenant and NIMBY activists have enacted in the last 35 years in SF has made housing costs more expensive in SF.”

    How do you figure? Rent control is the only reason I still get to live in the city I grew up in– where my family is.

    (and tenant activists are hardly synonymous with NIMBYs. I’d guess that the venn diagram between those groups overlaps less than homeowners and NIMBYs)


    Dave Moore

    While I agree with many of the points here (I think all street parking should be paid for one way or another), I struggle to understand the definition of “car-light” that Aaron tosses around. Is a household with one person and one car “light”? What about 2 people with one car? How about 8 people and 2 cars? The information presented gives no clarity on that. I can only assume it’s just a way be able to declare “majority”. Just because the other side is using sketchy numbers doesn’t justify doing it yourself.


    Fran Taylor

    Owner move-ins are limited to one per building.


    Upright Biker

    The hidden agenda here, according to a comment Rob Francis (aka SFParkRipOff) made to me on another board, is to sink the bond measure, A. Get enough transportation-haters to the polls, combined with people who may support transit but don’t believe the SFMTA deserves more money, and you’ve got a real chance to make that happen.

    It would be a real shame if Prop L also passed in the process. I have no idea where it stands, as I don’t believe anyone has done any polling around this prop, but this is a very craftily worded piece of legislation that goes right to the Achilles heel of truly progressive livable cities policies.

    We need to learn from this, hope it doesn’t pass, and take stronger steps in the future to neutralize such wrong-headed actions before they reach this level of legitimacy.



    While they’re at it, could they stop calling the T to Sunnydale “inbound” after Embarcadero? And what is the point of changing the designation to K sometimes-but-not-always?



    What Sean fails to recognize, is that fines for traffic violations are not only levied on people who drive cars. They are also disproportionately harsh for people who walk, take MUNI, and ride a bicycle. A stop sign violation on a bicycle can run you north of $300. A jaywalking ticket can cost you up to $250. And a proof of payment base fine is up to $110. Meanwhile, a street cleaning violation is a bargain at $64.

    The idea that people who drive cars are somehow singled out for heavy fines and fees relative to other modes is a fiction. Many of these costs are so high no because of the base fine, but rather all the administrative costs that have been tacked on to the fines over the years as a result of our government trying to control rising court costs. It’s politically easy to just make the people who are ‘guilty’ of these ‘crimes’ to just pay more, because after all, they are guilty.

    If Sean was really concerned about fairness for the poor, then he should have gotten behind measures that more fully fund our court system so they don’t need to rely on administrative fees and penalties of offenders of traffic violations. Maybe even looked at having a graduated fine structure based on income rather than just a set fee. In any event, there are many other ways he could have supported the poor than this bone headed measure that will ironically make it harder to get around the city and find parking by car.



    Require that the parking garages be easily convertible to productive space. There’s been a trend towards building garages with ceilings high enough for occupation and with floors with maximum flat and level surfaces. The only such conversion I’ve seen yet is a partial job at San Jose State.



    It’s worked the other way. Campos’ opposition to 1050 Valencia. QED.



    All Sean Parker cares about is making life easier for the poor. And by the poor, I mean his underpaid personal limo driver.



    The more accurate case is – decide you want to move. You could keep the house and rent out your unit… BUT … if then you need to sell, you’re screwed, so you’re gonna sell the whole place because you don’t want to be worried about being under the hook of the speculation tax.

    So you sell the 3 unit building to three nice couples who then OMI the other two sets of tenants. Whoops.



    (Apologies in advance if electioneering is not allowed on here.)

    SFTRU needs your help. Desperately. To get the word out about Prop L (as well as Props A & B).


    Kid Charles

    I think it’s great that there’s more and more transit oriented development along the Caltrain corridor but there’s a serious issue with capacity on the train and the electrification project will not do nearly enough to address it. It supposed to increase capacity by 20% 5 years from now. In the meantime trains are absolutely packed during rush hour. Also, after that project is done, what then?



    Raising height limits good, wasting money on $40k per spot garages bad. What to do?



    Embarrassing mistake on this new map: they got the one-way directions of Geary and O’Farrell streets backwards. Westbound 38 buses run on Geary and eastbound 38 buses run on O’Farrell, this map shows them the other way around.



    Yeah, so a perfect loophole for speculators. They simply move in, or get a relative to move in, or pretend to move in, then sell, and the entire tax is avoided.

    Just more evidence that this will do nothing to prevent speculation


    David D.

    Speaking of which, the Willie Brown Bridge is still shown as the “San Francisco Bay Bridge” on this map. These guys need to get with the program! ;)



    If you live in one unit of a 4-unit building, the entire building is exempt from the Prop G. If you want to read the legal text, it’s on page 215 of the voter info book in
    Section 1105(c)(5):



    It’s nice to look at and much easier to read. One tiny detail: Middle Drive East in GG Park is now “Nancy Pelosi Drive,” as I would delightedly remind my Republican dad.


    Andy Chow

    The more-like rapid routes are actually express, whether they use the freeway or use arterials timed for green lights.



    Jspider, but do I get the exemption just on my unit and not on the whole building?

    Again, take my last example, I buy a 4-unit building, live in one unit, keep the others as rentals, and then sell within 5 years.

    Do I pay the tax on 100% of the sale price, 75% of the sale price, or 0%?

    Does anyone even know?


    David D.

    Looks good overall, but the “R” designations definitely should be “L” before this becomes an official map.

    Does anyone know what the dashed line on Lincoln Way between 3rd Avenue and 19th Avenue is supposed to be? It’s shown as connecting to/from Park Presidio, which doesn’t make any sense to me, as it’s definitely not the 16X or NX.

    Also, this map really could stand to have some more route numbers added to it. In some cases you have to trace individual lines across town before you can figure out what you’re looking at. Good luck figuring out where the NX goes east of Judah & 19th, for example.



    In all of these cases, you are living in one of the units, so you are an owner-occupier, so you are exempt from the tax. Period.



    But what about these cases:

    1) I buy a SFH with a rented in-law and then need to sell?

    2) I buy a 2-unit rental building with a partner, and TIC or condo it so we can both live in it. And then want to sell?

    3) I buy a 4-unit building, live in one unit, continue to rent out the other three, and then sell?

    And so on. Lots of buildings in SF do not fall into the two neat categories you imply.



    When the BART extension opened, Caltrain modified their schedule to match BARTs. 3 months later BART changed their schedule. Caltrain said screw it.



    Once you figure out which route you’re taking at the bus shelter from the map, you’re supposed to pull out your phone and find out which stop to take. Unless you needed to know where the stops were so you could figure out which route to take–in which case you should have used your phone in the first place.

    I just had to refer to google maps transit directions to make sure that stop I thought was close to Heron’s Head Park was really there in another comment, so yeah, map fail.

    Halloween costume idea: Sexy MUNI Map. Draw some nice looking lines on yourself, but wear enough clothes that you’re not giving anything away.



    No stub, but it’s 0.2 miles from the closest stop at Evans/Middlepoint/Jenkins intersection up Jenkins to the park. (Closest stop is also the closest point on the route)



    Agreed. Having only 2 hours of bullet service in the morning and evenings is ridiculous and the later trains are completely packed.



    I must have missed the link at the bottom of the article the first time I read it – thanks!


    Fran Taylor

    Prop G doesn’t apply to owner-occupied buildings.



    It would also help if the existing CalTrain schedule could be adjusted to allow timed transfers between BART and other transit systems. Missing your train because BART was a couple minutes late sucks.



    Let me know when you find a Muni bus route that is “rapid”.



    Or because hardly anyone goes there?



    It’s probably fair to say that everything tenant and NIMBY activists have enacted in the last 35 years in SF has made housing costs more expensive in SF.

    Hooking up the liveability wagon to that bunch of losers is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.

    We want change. They want nothing to change.



    There is direct service to the Hunters Point Shipyard on the 19, but Muni doesn’t show it on their maps, presumably because access to the shipyard is restricted.



    I really wish they’d just show all the bus stops, like they do for PresidiGo and some of the bigger Muni routes.



    Along those lines another no brainer would be to extend the baby bullet schedule an extra hour for the morning and evening rush hours. This would not require buying any new equipment or extending platforms, just staffing more train runs.

    These days northbound BB #329 is standing room only from San Jose @8:03 northwards, basically the entire run. I’m sure if the bullet schedule were extended another hour (i.e. add an 8:45 and 9:03 BB departure from SJ) that many of the current #329 riders would shift their workday a little later and ease crowding on the trains.

    Caltrain at risk of becoming a victim of its own success if crowding isn’t relieved. Commuters will go back to driving just for the comfort of a seat.



    This has always confused me — I see L, and I immediately think “local”, as in the opposite of “express”. I don’t think “limited”. Maybe I’d get used to it, but I’m not on those lines often enough to make it stick in my head.


    Isaac Rabinovitch

    No doubt a “branding” move that makes management feel like they’ve accomplished something and just confuses everybody else. Kind of like cars labeled “partial zero emissions”.