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    Just because he figured out “Free Music is Cool” and “Facebook is cool” and had the chutzpah to follow up on it doesn’t make him brilliant. It just means he has chutzpah.


    Karen Lynn Allen

    I get why the Koch brothers spend gazillions trying to buy elections and keep fossil fuels dominant in the US. They’re old, they want to make as much money as possible, and they don’t care even a tiny a bit about what happens to the planet/humanity/all life forms after they die. Sean Parker I understand much less. Someone needs to sit him down, show him a picture of the Koch brothers, and ask him if that kind of ugliness is really what he wants to achieve in this life. Because that’s the path he’s on.

    The claims of wanting to help the working poor and being surprised people in San Francisco are upset with him are entirely disingenuous. Remember, he is also a major bankroller of Ed Lee.



    For anyone who’s curious I haven’t found any examples nationwide but did find some stats for bike usage per income level in Amsterdam:

    Scroll to Figure 2.10 on page 25.

    Title: “Frequency of bike usage amongst bike owners per net monthly household income”


    dagelijks = daily
    enkele keren per week = several times per week
    wekelijks = weekly
    maandelijks = monthly
    minder vaak = less often
    nooit = never
    onbekend = unknown

    You can see the usage amongst income groups starting with “meer dan €3200″ (more than €3200) on down. Looks like the poorest (monthly income below €700) bike the most with almost 60% biking daily, though even half of the wealthiest bike daily.

    In the Netherlands that quote could very well be updated to “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars but where the rich take their bikes.”



    Average income of a Caltrain rider is 6 figures.


    SF Guest

    Low cost ferry rides with a higher GG bridge toll would be a benefit to all except GGBTD. From a business perspective GGBTD would lose revenue from both a reduced bridge toll population as well as providing and maintaining a less lucrative ferry service.

    If you’re the GGBTD you would want to maximize your revenue collection from bridge tolls while providing alternative ferry service.



    I know many relatively rich people. In my experience, they value their safety first, then their time, and then their luxury. If public transportation is safe and goes faster, they’ll take it, otherwise they’ll drive. NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, for instance, famously took the subway daily during his pre-politics working years.

    The choice of public transportation — in most rich countries outside of the U.S. — is not about money, but about preference. One of my Italian friends, well-off but not wealthy by most occidental measures, prefers taking cabs everywhere. She, at least, hates mixing with the hoi polloi.



    I caved and read the whole Sean Parker article. He needs to hire a much better team to advise him or at least do some reading for himself. He’s shooting himself in the foot as influencer in politics if he doesn’t figure out his politics in a coherent way. It sounds like he’s taking out his frustration at the DMV from when he was younger on the people of San Francisco. No thank you.



    But what’s weird about it is people who can afford to pay for parking stand to benefit the most from market based parking policies. It makes it much easier to find a spot and reduces some congestion. You’d think a tech billionaire would be interested in disrupting the parking status quo, but I guess not if the money is collected by the government.


    Morgan Fitzgibbons

    His own dick. How can you tell when Sean Parker is lying? His lips are moving.



    Or he could spend his money buying Muni passes for poor people. But that wouldn’t solve the “real” problem for Parker: that his private chauffeur has to circle the block a couple times to find a parking spot.



    Also what does he mean poor families don’t have access? SF has one of the best transit coverage systems in the US. While our transit could certainly use a lot of improvement, it does serve hundreds of thousands of people a day. And the most recent survey showed that 51% of riders are at or below the poverty line.

    It would be nice if he put his money behind getting the VLF passed or something that would actually improve peoples’ lives, especially poor and working families.


    Nicasio Nakamine

    Don’t forget ships and boats passing underneath! Each should pay a toll to go under, effectively “using” the shelter provided by the bridge.


    SF Guest

    They do enforce parking on sidewalks if you call SFMTA, but their arrival times vary. I haven’t heard of PCO’s refusing to respond.



    regarding your point about 50% of pedestrian collisions being with Muni:

    “In the last seven years, 120 people have died and more than 5,600 have been involved in collisions mostly with cars.”

    The article states that 1/3 of crashes were attributed to the pedestrian so that means that in 2/3 of cases, drivers were determined at fault.



    yes, muni employees are the only government workers with bloated salaries and pensions. Let’s stop funding public transportation to teach them a lesson.

    …and you’re wrong – Muni fares were raised to make up for the budget shortfall caused by removing Sunday metering. The missing 9.8MM revenue from the meters was already included in the budget before it was subsequently removed (



    Got to love Parker’s “logic”:

    “We don’t have great public transportation and poor families don’t have access and it’s a huge problem.”

    So the solution to fix public transit is to make it slower? WTF is this guy smoking?!


    Jym Dyer

    The city really should enforce laws against parking on sidewalks; you can call the SFPD after midnight if the PCOs refuse to respond. The city should also really enforce laws against paved front lawns, though the planners can’t do much about that.

    Keep pushing for the street trees, they’ll at least block sidewalk-parking in lieu of enforcement. If we actually let them grow, they’ll also calm traffic.


    Jym Dyer

    @Duane – I don’t know who the “we” is in your first sentence, but the bit about who pays more is completely wrong. Motorists impose far greater costs than any other road users, which fall far short of the additional costs they pay in gas taxes, fees, and tolls. Their chosen transportation mode is subsidized by everyone choosing any other mode, and are subsidized disproportionately by localities with higher incomes and higher property values.

    This, of course, describes San Francisco, Prop L’s very jurisdiction.


    Jym Dyer

    @donsf2003 – I just got a glossy leaflet from the Yes on L people. It was full of flaming lies. It doesn’t even get jurisdictions straight, blaming the SFMTA for what the MTC does. You must be really upset about this sleazy ad campaign, right? I mean, it’s a bunch of lies being sent to people’s houses and everything, not just some guy playing with Photoshop on a blog.

    I eagerly await your principled, angry denouncement of the sleazy tactics of the Yes on L campaign.



    They seem to be pursuing an island station option similar to the new platform at Santa Clara, with a pedestrian crossing gate at the north end connecting to the parking lot and a tunnel at the south end connecting to East and West Grand Avenues.


    Chris J.

    I think we should go even further and charge not just pedestrians and bicyclists, but also each time someone in the Bay Area looks at the bridge or photographs it. They can also be considered “users” of the bridge because the bridge also serves an aesthetic purpose. This will raise even more money and spread the cost across even more people.



    For a US example the best is probably New York City. Sure, plenty of high-income people will always be taking luxurious vehicles but for plenty of trips within the city the subway’s often simply faster. For millionaire and welfare recipient alike.

    The amount of wealth that daily commutes into the FiDi of SF via non-car modes is also fairly high. Too bad that doesn’t always apply to the rest of the Bay Area…or even the rest of SF.

    I think Peñalosa’s point is not that there exists a place where no rich people or no poor people ever use cars but more that a developed country should have the infrastructure to make something like transit (and presumably by extension also biking/walking) such a safe, prevalent, convenient option that large cross-sections of society of any and all means regularly do it as a regular, no-brainer thing.

    People for Bikes had a really interesting piece on this recently:

    You can see how the lowest income stratum in Denmark (defined as less than $13k annual income) still actually drives for 45% of its trips.

    *But it’s not weird to not drive*. You’re not a loser or eccentric if you show up to a job interview or do your shopping on a bike. This has huge implications in terms of dignity, self-determination and simply being able to get things done, work and go about your life without needing the costly buy-in and ongoing expenses of a car in the first place.

    Btw, those bike numbers are probably quite a bit better amongst the poor in the Netherlands, because they’re quite a bit higher overall anyway. The NL is still a fairly car-crazy country but has notably higher bike modeshare (and more prevalent and protected infrastructure) than Denmark. I’ll have to look some stats up and see what I find.



    Penalosa makes many great points. I particularly like the one about hyper-democracy which is see more as neighborhood rule – when a local action group is give permission by the city to hijack the part of a broader agenda that passes through their neighborhood – this reminds me of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, which was successful in making life more dangerous for all the cyclists passing along the Polk Street arterial.



    I’ve seen that quote about “the rich take public transportation”–is there such a place? There may be wealthy people who ride subways and buses, but I’m sure most of the upper class prefer the luxurious interiors of their Mercedes Benzes, Cadillacs, etc. to rubbing elbows with the common folk on bus or train. And I’ve driven up US 101 through the Salinas Valley and seen better cars than mine parked next to the salad-greens fields at harvest time.



    Damn. Was just inspired. “Who voted on this?” ::points to danger-prone, car-centric urban street:: Amazing.



    Whoa, how did I miss that he was going to be here?!

    This quote of his is still one of my favorites:

    “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars but where the rich take public transportation.”

    Love his comparison of the inequity of our current streets to other formerly pervasive wrongs such as male-only voting. When steeped in the status quo it’s often really hard to imagine what can or should be.

    And loved his points, too, regarding stubborn resistance to change–the hyperdemocratic approach where the status quo (which wasn’t even voted on in the first place) gets to be maintained due to vociferous nearby residents is not the way to create better places out of already public space. Much to Chuck “not-in-front-of-my-luxury-condo” Schumer’s chagrin:



    Good point! Let’s take the money from the Doyle Drive reconstruction and hire full time crossing guards for Sloat!



    And even if they want to go through with this ridiculous idea, then fine: charge pedestrians based on the impact/wear-and-tear they have on the bridge. If cars are paying $6, then the average pedestrian causes what, 1/1000th of the wear and tear of the average car? Hell, let’s be generous and say it’s 1/100th. So if cars are paying $6, then pedestrians should be 6 cents. Seem like a good idea now? And this is still excluding air pollution, GHG emissions, and negative ramifications of congestion. In this light, I think it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that pedestrians should be paying anything.



    My hero.


    Andy Chow

    I am wondering whether these drivers are too over reliant on GPS. A good driver should be able to navigate most part of the city (except parts like the Twin Peaks) with just the intersection rather than exact address, and know the good streets with timed lights.


    Andy Chow

    I think the station should have 4 main tracks designed in, which would require reconfiguration of the freight yard. This is the only all day station that requires a hold out rule and access to the station is far less than desirable.



    Hopefully the police and the reporter understand all the places that are legally crosswalks that aren’t marked with paint before they start talking about someone being ‘in a crosswalk’.


    Dark Soul

    Sometimes, have seen many people dash out crosswalks…what you think? (These elders need someone to help them cross to assure safety) Seeing alot of these happening….i am guessing Walkfirst or VisionZero once again will ask SFMTA to place Traffic Lights there…because there was accident with ped..

    SLOAT BLVD meant to be a be Travel Time Saver and no on protected lanes to assure safety.



    I think you’re thinking of CVC 21955 (that is, state law) clarifying when crossing is legal at minor intersections, like when an alley meets at a 3-way intersection.

    That law won’t apply to this section of Sloat because there are multiple uncontrolled crosswalks along that stretch. So crossing at any unsignalled intersection is legal, in other words. I guess the comment about the man not being in the crosswalk is meant to speak to the accidental nature of the collision. ….Not that I’m particularly swayed by such arguments really, for as we all have figured out by now, the design of Sloat encourages dangerous driving and people in general do not drive defensively enough around here.



    Yes, the toll has increased just $1 round trip (20%) for cars with fastrack since 2008 ($5 to $6) while the ferry has increased, while the Clipper Card price for the Larkspur ferry has increased $4.50 round trip (~50%).

    Also, encouraging people to drive comes with increased road maintenance costs on Hwy 101 and in SF (plus externalities) as both Murphstahoe and gneiss pointed out… thought I guess the GGBTD doesn’t care as it doesn’t increase their own maintenance costs. Sigh.



    Bike/ped toll would probably only be a buck or so making the cost to collect the toll almost as high as the toll itself. Collecting a small toll is futile because it wouldn’t raise significant revenue and just discourage a green use of our orange bridge. I think that gneiss is correct: this proposal is just floated once and a while to appease the “I pay my way, lets make those freeloading walkers pay too” crowd.



    Yup! Similarly GGT bus fares should be cheaper as all those riders are saving a lot of capacity for private cars:

    And despite the huge capacity advantages of a bus each rider still pays *more*. For example, the commute-hour 70 is on a daily basis close to or at its capacity of 40 riders across the bridge, and 3 bikes on front is common. Yet the minimum each rider pays is $4 each way ($5 cash or $4 w/ Clipper) for $8 minimum roundtrip every day. Of course many riders pay even more depending on their farezone.

    So, doing some rough math, a GGT vehicle that is only 40 feet long (barely twice the length of a full-size sedan) with up to 40 riders both ways and takes up to 40 individual cars off the bridge is “rewarded” for its effort by in effect having a $320 toll (40×8) or more.

    Pretty whack.



    It is fairly easy to read your original comment as a justification for the discrepancy of a toll vs. ferry cost.

    In my opinion the Ferry should be cheaper as ferry riders save us so much money on the back end – reduced wear on US 101, the bridge, Lombard, etc… Reducing congestion on those streets costing the local economy in lost worker productivity. Reducing the need for parking on the SF end, allowing us to use that land for far more useful and lucrative purposes. Etc…



    That KTVU segment repeats the disinforming phrase “pedestrian accidents” when in fact they are “drivers colliding with pedestrians”. Beyond that the emphasis on whether the fellow who died was in or out of the crosswalk is sickening. The language suggests victim blaming. Why does SF have so many suburban-mentality news outlets?


    SF Guest

    CamBam415 stated: “but driving [from Larkspur to SF] only costs $5-$6?!” The thought must not have occurred to you if the bridge toll was lower the ferry prices would have to be more competitive as well.

    You’re very slick when it comes to twisting words around:

    “It is totally irrelevant to include a private vehicles charges (gas, insurance, etc.) in the calculation of how much the GGB Authority should be charging for car tolls.”

    The comparison made was not about how much the GGB Authority should charge for bridge tolls but how much it costs to drive from Larkspur to SF in a motor vehicle vs. taking a ferry.



    It is totally irrelevant to include a private vehicles charges (gas, insurance, etc.) in the calculation of how much the GGB Authority should be charging for car tolls. Just because you aren’t riding a ferry doesn’t mean we need to subsidize your gas purchases. Again, read what the above comment is saying – ferry and bus fares have been increasing at rates far faster than bridge tolls in recent years. That’s the real inequality here.



    Every few years, the GGB Authority trots out the idea that they should be charging people for walking and biking across the bridge to generate revenue as if this would somehow be a significant amount or be more ‘fair’ to other users of the bridge (i.e. car drivers). This is a crock. It would neither raise significant revenue, nor is it fair. The only reason they say this is to throw a bone to car drivers who feel like they are getting ‘soaked’ for more money whenever they raise the tolls.

    What they should do is change the conversation away from ‘revenue’ and towards ‘congestion’. What they should be managing with their tolls is congestion on the bridge. That’s why we have Golden Gate Transit, the ferries, and bicycle and walking access, and why they are all subsidized by bridge tolls. What they should really look at, is changing the toll structure so that they are charging more during morning commute times until they get congestion down to a more acceptable level. And on that metric, it makes absolutely no sense to charge bicyclists and walkers.


    SF Guest

    Correction: Golden Gate Bridge toll = $7, $6 FasTrak. And when comparing a $7 bridge toll to a $13-$14 ferry ride from Larkspur that doesn’t include the motor vehicle’s gas or operating costs to get from Larkspur to SF.



    “The intersection at 43rd has crosswalks but no signal. Police said it appeared Van Velzen was not in a crosswalk when he was hit”. Isn’t it San Francisco law that if there isn’t a signalized intersection and both ends of a stretch of road, it’s legal to cross anywhere?

    I’m a little confused by how this works. Someone posted a diagram previously but it didn’t include info on whether smaller streets, or three way intersections count.



    Full disclosure: I bike commute over the bridge regularly and don’t to see any fees charged.

    I think charging people to walk/bike on the bridge is a slippery slope. It might start with tourists, but spiral from there. We as a society should be encouraging green & healthy commute options, not discouraging them. I haven’t seen the 33 or so revenue proposals, but I really hope they plan to charge for parking in the bridge parking lots as 1) those lots are mess 2) it targets tourists and 3) it doesn’t open the door to charging for bike commuters. In general, I’d like to see increased bridge tolls for cars and put that towards better public transit infrastructure (tolls in NYC are significantly higher than here for example). By comparison, ferry prices have increased significantly faster than tolls for cars (ferry prices have more than doubled while car tolls have gone up $1-2 in the last 7-10 years)… and ferry passengers have to pay round trip while cars just pay for one direction! $13-$14 r/t from Larkspur BY ferry, but driving only costs $5-$6?!

    And before the bridge looks at raising revenue, I really wish the bridge district would re-examine their cost structure, particularly as it relates to management salaries (as they have rightfully started to target union employees benefits/pension plans already).

    As for capacity, 1) they don’t even open the west/bike side 24 hrs a day (wish they would) 2) access from the West side to Alexander Ave (not the GG Bridge district issue) is tough for the casual rider and 3) signage/striping has been somewhat effective on the east side of the bridge to separate pedestrians/bikes, I wonder if the west side could have something similar for directionality and/or where to stop for pictures (hint: use the bays/overlooks not the middle of the path!).



    Does anyone have thoughts about the renewed proposal to charge a fee to walk or bike on the Golden Gate Bridge? I have been against charging people who cross the bridge while commuting, but now I see how crowded it gets and am wondering if we need to manage that somehow. I question whether tourists would mind paying a dollar, but regular riders would end up with a real loss of income, and this seems counter to the whole spirit of biking to work.


    Liz Brisson

    Sloat used to have streetcars on it



    I think the problem would be if you decided to fight the ticket, because at that distance there would be reasonable doubt that the ID was correct. Tickets written like that are more likely to be waived if contested.

    In practice the general rule seems to be that if you move your vehicle before he writes the ticket, then you get away with it.


    SF Guest

    In your case scenario the PCO didn’t have the option to write your VIN since you were leaving the scene; however, it’s my understanding standard protocol requires PCOs to write your VIN. I just received an expired meter ticket in Oakland at a site I never visited, and there’s no chance someone else used my vehicle that day so checking your VIN helps to avoid mistakes like this one.



    I put together my own South SF station design in my free time: I’m pleased to see the city’s plans are almost identical to my vision.