Streetscast: An Interview with David Chiu

David_Chiu_bike_commuter.jpgSupervisor David Chiu doesn’t own a car and walks, bikes and takes public transportation. 

District 3 Supervisor and newly-elected Board President David Chiu says he would be willing to consider a car-free Market Street and study an idea by the Transportation Authority to charge drivers a user fee to manage congestion.

Though he was cautious, and didn’t express outright support for a car-free Market Street, a concept resurrected by Supervisor Chris Daly last year, he said he is well aware of examples in other cities where closing down major thoroughfares has worked to attract more foot traffic and business.

"I think that most drivers of private vehicles have bad experiences anyway going down Market Street. Most people don’t choose to use Market Street as a thoroughfare.  So, I would be open to looking at examples but I think we need to do this in close conjunction with not just transit experts but the local business community along Market Street."

Chiu sat down with Streetsblog San Francisco in his City Hall office for a brief interview one day after rising to one of the most powerful positions in city politics. I saw it as an opportunity to present our first Streetscast:


Chiu also expressed his support for the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) and said he held his first meeting with MTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford last week. 

"I very much want to make sure that there is a lot of focus from the Board of Supervisors on the effectiveness of MTA," said Chiu.

Other highlights from the interview:

  • On the bike injunction: "I very much support moving as fast as we can to lift the bike injunction and moving forward with really developing all of the bike paths that we need."
  • On the budget deficit: "It will affect our ability to invest more in the programs around public transit and public transportation. All this being said, I think right now in this budget crisis it is critical for us as a city to think about whether there are innovative programs that either will not cost money or could potentially save money to move forward in certain areas."
  • On bureaucracy and dysfunction in city government: "We are a city government that is well known for having a great deal of public process to allow everyday citizens to weigh in on governmental decisions and to really have a meaningful input. That input is often at the expense of being able to move quickly with things and this is certainly an area that I think I and others would love to move faster than we’ve been able to."
  • On District 3 transportation issues: "District 3 is the densest neighborhood not just in San Francisco but really on the West Coast, and it is incredibly important that the transit options in my district are robust. And frankly I find those options often to be somewhat lagging on a number of respects. Obviously we don’t have enough bike lanes in the district. Muni is late 30-percent of the time."

Flickr Photo: Greg Dewar, N-Judah Chronicles

  • David will be speaking to the North Beach Neighbors tonight at Tel-Hi Community Center ( ) at 7 pm.

    I have had the opportunity to talk to him while he was running for office. We talked about the central subway ( a huge waste of transit money and effort, in my opinion ), and he said that the money is pretty much alloted to that project so getting funding for something else would be hard pressed. Though he didn’t think it was the best idea, he found it to be better then nothing. I feel that a transit-only stockton would be a much better option and at a fraction of the cost.

    I wish David the best of luck, and I think he will make a great BOS Pres. Also, I’m very happy to see my sup living the same car-free lifestyle as myself.

  • It is nice to see at least some elected officials really “walk the walk” (or in this case bike the bike?) on transit and urban living. I’m so sick of people who at campaign time put out dead-tree mail with them in a Prius, talking on and with loads of buzzwords, but when it comes time to make hard choices, they vote against transit or bikes or whatever.

    plus anyone who can safely ride a bike down Post on to Kearny as Dave did in that photo, and not get killed by the crazy drivers deserves a medal or something.

  • those dudes

    someone teach the guy how to wear a helmet!


SFMTA Director Heinicke: Let’s Get Cracking on Car-Free Market Street

The campaign to rid lower Market Street of the delays and dangers caused by personal cars has an unexpected champion on the SF Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors. At an SFMTA board meeting this Tuesday — the same meeting where agency staff presented a new Strategic Plan, which includes the Bicycle and Pedestrian Strategies […]