Today’s Headlines

  • What Would Bay Area Bike Share Look Like in International Orange? San Franciscoize Paints It Up
  • UC Berkeley Study Looks at the Income Equitability of SFPark (ITS Berkeley)
  • New Bike Shop, Aptly Named “Wiggle Bicycles,” Opens On the Wiggle (Haighteration)
  • 7×7 Explains San Francisco’s Newest Bicycle Infrastructure
  • More On the Homelessness Controversy Over SFMTA’s Move to Restrict Large Vehicle Parking (SFGate)
  • Stanley Roberts Looks at Driving Parents Who Don’t Secure Their Child Seats Properly
  • CAHSRA Faces Choice of Quality vs. Price in Construction Contracts (CoCo Times)
  • San Francisco Man Aims to Walk Around the 330-Mile Long Bay Trail (SF Chronicle)
  • Santa Clara County Wants to Make Lawrence Expressway Even More Like a Freeway (Cyclelicious)
  • Apple’s Proposed Headquarters Expected to Generate Lots of Car Traffic (CoCo Times)
  • Poll: Palo Alto Voters Favor Bike/Ped Improvements, Oppose New Parking Structures (Pen Transpo)
  • Palo Alto Driver Flees After Injuring Man in Wheelchair (PA OnlineMercury News)
More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill
  • gneiss

    As usual, Stanley Roberts looks at the issue superficially. The deeper problem is how families on the edge are cutting corners or impoverishing themselves trying to hang on to their cars because for them, there is no other safe or reliable transportation option.

  • If “safe” involves not only driving a car but also involves skipping a seatbelt, I have bad news about your definition of “safe.”

  • gneiss

    MrEricSir – No. That’s not my point at all. However, I’d bet that most people think it’s safer to be in a car without a seat beat than outside walking along a busy street next to speeding cars.

    The fact that 2 adults need to travel with 9 children in a car (some of whom could be out on their own) shows how badly we’ve failed families and children in particular in providing them with places where they could get around without needing a car.

  • SweetDickD

    RE: Income Equitability of SFPark: Is it a surprise that when we allow the market to allocate parking spaces, there is (economic) discrimination in the allocation of a public good?

  • This presumes that allocating public space for private parking is actually a “good”

  • This doesn’t even touch on the concept of “needing” to drive from say, Glen Park to Golden Gate Park in order to go to the park, when Glen Park has a very nice park right in the neighborhood.

    Having a car incites the “need” to go to far flung places simply because you can, instead of evaluating places nearer in proximity. Even if GGP was “better”, is it marginally more better than the time investment to get there and the cost investment of that travel?

  • SteveS

    Parking spaces are a textbook example of a private good: they are 100% excludable and 100% rivalrous. How did we get to the point where people talk about parking as a public good?

    A better research question would be, what is income equitability of forcing everyone to publicly fund a private good (parking), regardless of their usage of it?

  • SweetDickD

    Like the library?

  • SteveS

    Libraries are almost always non-rivalrous, except maybe for a best-seller in the first couple months after release. The fact that street space in a dense city is so highly rivalrous is what makes it a relevant political issue; in places where there is always an excess of free street parking available, it’s not an issue of debate.

  • SteveS

    Libraries are almost always non-rivalrous, except maybe for a best-seller in the first couple months after release. The fact that street space in a dense city is so highly rivalrous is what makes it a relevant political issue; in places where there is always an excess of free street parking available, it’s not an issue of debate.

  • SweetDickD

    You’re missing the point completely- my comment is not about how economists would classify parking as a good common or public or otherwise. the point is about using the market to allocate resources. that is what is real to everyday people, not textbook econ. (I could go on and nitpick your classification within a micro-econ context about the type of good parking or libraries or whatever. that aint the point…)

  • SweetDickD

    You’re missing the point completely- my comment is not about how economists would classify parking as a good common or public or otherwise. the point is about using the market to allocate resources. that is what is real to everyday people, not textbook econ. (I could go on and nitpick your classification within a micro-econ context about the type of good parking or libraries or whatever. that aint the point…)

  • davistrain

    I’m not familiar with the park in Glen Park, but some parks (not necessarily in SF) are so overrun with hoodlums and bums that they’re not fit places for family activities.

  • SteveS

    I saw the original point as being that SFPark was regressively funding the provision of a public good, which would indeed be very unjust, so I think it’s important to point out that parking is a private good (even though we quite irrationally choose to provide most of it on public land in the city).

    The fact that parking is completely rivalrous and also very scarce is relevant to how we allocate it. We can decide that everyone in the city should have access to any book, and the library system is able to deliver this at quite a reasonable cost to San Franciscans. We cannot decide that everyone in the city should have access to street parking on any block; it is not physically possible.

    It would be nice if there was no scarcity, but given scarcity exists, market pricing of parking appears to be the least bad option. Making all street parking free with no time limits (what everyone would naively want) would be a disaster, causing huge amount of pollution and eliminating turnover, and neighborhood parking permits transfer the use of public land to the wealthiest at below market costs – much worse than what market rate pricing does.

    A solution in the spirit of complete streets would be to gradually convert all on-street parking into parklets, green space and sidewalk extensions, putting the public land back to service delivering a true public good.

  • • I like the sea foam green bikes just fine and prefer it to international orange. But let’s compromise: celeste frames and international orange handlebar tape, with matching bike clothing. I happen to have a lovely example right here:

    http://monacaron.com/posters/soma-fabrications.shtml

  • Anonymous

    Who are you to decide who goes where, and how? The transportation commissar? Scratch a progressive and you will find an authoritarian.

  • SweetDickD

    I will agree with your last point- the best solution is the conversion of on-street parking to parklets. (please dont impute that I believe that on-street parking should be free to all at all times- those concerned with this issue are in more than two camps).

    However, conversion to parklets is far from a transaction/ financial/ market based solution.

    I think you need to get out of the micro-econ framework and the concern about how out of touch economists would classify public space as in the end, the average person on the street doesn’t give a sh*it how an economist would classify the space. the average person is concerned about accessing public space and wondering why the city is making it easy for money bags, but harder for the working stiff.

    Market pricing is far from the least bad option- what’s best/worst is all subjective and economists and transportation planners cant get their head around the social and the historical. we all dont arrive at the market as equals, and many times because of the doings of markets and their purveyors…

    and so the study find the obvious- when you utilize the market to allocate resources it is those with less that are on the short end of the stick.

  • I have no problem with those decisions. They should just cost appropriate amounts of money.

    And Glen Canyon Park has zero hoodlums. Coyotes maybe, no hoodlums.

  • 94103er

    Seriously? Do I have to keep getting on here to tell you to take comments like this back to SFGate?

  • Andy Chow

    It is still very judgmental and authoritarian. You might as well tell the poor folks that they shouldn’t have so many children to begin with because they can’t afford to raise them (or pay whatever you think is appropriate to take them to a park of their choosing).

    This is the irony of those supposedly progressive environmentalists, bike/ped advocates get all suddenly tea-party conservative. Everything they don’t care about (like parking) should be priced according to market. How are they different than those who supposed to public schools, healthcare, etc?

  • Anonymous

    We (as the government) subsidize public schools, healthcare, etc. Partially because they’re basic human rights, partially because everyone benefits from providing these to poor people (better educated populace, fewer expensive emergency room visits).

    We subsidize parks, too, all over the city. And that’s fine, because they’re a genuine “public good”– non-excludable, non-rivalrous. Likewise, public transportation is somewhat non-rivalrous (the cost of an extra passenger is near zero) and there are major public benefits in providing it.

    But private transportation and parking is rivalrous and excludable, and subsidizing it tends to benefit the wealthy more than the poor. So it’s a bad thing to subsidize.

    It’s not anymore judgmental and authoritarian than failing to subsidize Disneyland tickets for the poor. Doesn’t mean I don’t want anyone going to Disneyland.

  • Andy Chow

    Housing is certainly rivalrous and excludable, but we subsidize them anyway. Every housing rented out to low income families could be rented out at market price to Googlers and Facebookers. Unless you think subsidized housing is bad, there is a double standard here.

    The reality is that Muni sucks, and that a lot of jobs for low income folks are not within reach of transit. Most of the employers do not have the luxury to operate their own shuttles for their employees. In those situation, subsiding automobiles can be a more cost effective way to keep them employed.

    Yes we do have too many automobiles in San Francisco, but many of them are owned by people who are willing and able to use transit (work in downtown office jobs at regular hours) but own cars because they can afford them. Let’s make Muni better and offer more car-sharing to discourage ownership to those who are willing and able. Let’s make transit better so people who are riding today aren’t be so tempted to get their own car. Do not attack the low income folks who already own cars.

  • Housing is a necessity. Neither a car nor a parking spot is.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the big difference between subsidized housing and parking is that only a small portion of housing is of the subsidized variety. Just about all parking is. This means that 1) relatively speaking, it costs much more than only subsidizing it for low-income folks and 2) most of the benefit ends up going to higher-income earners. In fact the benefit is more likely to end up going to the top 10% than the bottom 10%, because the top 10% are more likely to own and use cars.

  • Andy Chow

    Not that I advocate for it, people could live in places where housing is still cheap like Stockton.

    If someone holds a job that requires an automobile to get to work in a reasonable manner, then for that person the car is a necessity. It is elitist to dismiss that just because you hold an office job that pays well and that you can bike or take transit to. The bus drivers or train operators that take you from your home to your job has to get to work far earlier than you and there’s no bus or train to take them to their yard.

    What’s the point of affordable housing if people living there would have limited access to employment (we subsidize your housing but you have to pay full cost like Facebookers and Googlers to have more access to employment via a car)?

    We don’t need to eliminate every automobile in the world to have a dramatic improvement on the environment, traffic, and safety. Why encourage Facebookers and Googlers to own cars because they can easily afford one while their companies provide shuttles, while attacking the low income folks that need cars to access employment? That’s what “markets” do. Survival of the fittest.