Today’s Headlines

  • Jennie Zhu Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter in Pacific Heights Crash That Killed Teen (CBS, KTVU)
  • SF’s Most Bike Crash-Prone Intersections Highlighted in Bold Italic
  • Young Bay Area Couples Looking to Abandon Cars, Buy Homes Near Public Transit (Mercury News)
  • Chronicle Columnist Gets it: More Walkable Development Will Increase Affordability in the Bay Area
  • Study: SF, Oakland Among American Cities Where Car Use is Declining (SF Examiner)
  • Mission High School Bike Workshop Popular With New Foreign Students (Mission Local)
  • Keeping Cars Moving Through Oakland’s Latham Square Seen as a “Compromise” (SFGate)
  • Autopsy Report Finds Workers Had Backs Turned When Hit by BART Trains Near Walnut Creek (SFGate)
  • Greater Marin: Efficient Bus, Ferry Transit Carries 27 Percent of People Across the Golden Gate
  • Palo Alto Take Steps to Mitigate Construction Impacts to Businesses During California Ave. Project (PAO)
  • State Board Grants CAHSRA Its First Eminent Domain Seizure in Fresno (SM Daily Journal)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Rogue Cyclist

    Auto-centric view in the Latham Square article. Mentions “snarl” of car traffic around the square, which I haven’t seen during the car-free pilot. Pedestrians and bicyclists are traffic too.

  • The Examiner story on declining car use is crudely biased. Will Reisman would never have made these mistakes. Look at the Transportation Fact Sheet to see the numbers: “driving alone” to work in SF has only declined 2.9% in eleven years, and the increase in bike commuters has only been 1.2% in eleven years.

    According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there are now more than 458,000 motor vehicles registered in SF; there were 446,000 registered here in 2003.

  • gneiss

    Rob, the number of cars registered in the city is more a factor of the population growth than anything else. Population in 2003 was approximately 785,000. We’ve got an additional 40,000 more people living in the city now, with population at over 825,000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_francisco. The fact that there has been growth of 12,000 registered cars during that period indicates that while more people are moving here, not everyone is getting a car, or existing residents are ditching their cars in favor of other modes of transport.

  • murphstahoe

    Yet every story that fits your narrative is Pulitzer Prize work.

  • murphstahoe

    The fact that there has been growth of 12,000 registered cars during
    that period indicates that while more people are moving here, not
    everyone is getting a car, or existing residents are ditching their cars
    in favor of other modes of transport.

    This number is even more enlightening when you note that the percentage of the population that is below driving age in SF continues to drop. On a percentage basis, the number of new drivers who have not registered a car is lower than the percentage amongst existing drivers. Also follows the narrative that car ownership percentages amongst younger people is dropping – showing a demographic shift away from car preference.

    While it would be great if policy would preceed this shift, the shift is happening and eventually policy will have to catch up. No amount of whining by Rob Anderson or Rob Ford can change that.

  • EastBayer

    Huh? Going from 2.1 percent to 3.3 percent is an increase of almost 60 percent. Probably more, considering population growth over the same period.

  • A whoppiing gain of .12% a year! By talking about percentages, you can make the increase sound pretty impressive, until someone actually analyzes the gains.

  • coolbabybookworm

    In regards to vehicle registration, how many more people live in SF now than in 2003? According to wikipedia there are almost 50,000 more people living here than in 2000. So even if there are 12000 more cars, car ownership rates are still lowering.

    oops, looks like Gneiss beat me to it. But still, your grasp of the data Rob is just laughable, especially when you’re trying to claim the numbers are on your side.

  • 2008: Registered vehicles in San Francisco = 470,333,
    Population = 808,001

    2012: Registered vehicles in San Francisco=471,298
    Population = 825,863

    Increase in all registered vehicles = + 965
    Increase in cars+trucks+ trailers= – 588
    Increase in motorcycles= + 1553
    Increase in population = 17,862

    But these numbers are nothing. We are going to see some very dramatic shifts between 2012 and 2014 both in population (increasing) and per capita vehicle ownership (decreasing.)

  • Har, har. Let’s factor in all the cars belonging to people who buy them and register them in other counties. And then we have millions of tourists who drive into and around San Francisco, since tourism is our main industry. More than 35,000 people drive into SF every workday, since SF is the major jobs hub in the Bay Area.

    And cycling is still only 3.4% of all trips made in the city.

  • coolbabybookworm

    to quote Gneiss: “The fact that there has been growth of 12,000 registered cars during that period indicates that while more people are moving here, not everyone is getting a car, or existing residents are ditching their cars in favor of other modes of transport.”

    You can look at the percent of mode share trips by bike and say it’s small, but it doesn’t discount the thousands of people who use bikes every day to get around SF. You can say the percentage of total mode share is small, but that doesn’t change that the percentage of bike trips is still growing faster than any other mode share while car ownership is declining. It’s not an either or situation, but we are establishing a new equilibrium that involves fewer cars.

    In regards to the tourist drivers, didn’t the SF tourist board recognize that more visitors choose not to drive in SF than to drive? Or it was around 50-50 mode share. Either way, it’s not like everyone drives into SF.

    Anyway, it’s always nice of you to stop by and post on occasion, I always need new reminders to get involved and up my donations to the bike coalition and walkSF.

  • voltairesmistress

    Great post and stats. Am I reading that correctly -that raw numbers of actual car + truck registrations are down while population is up? By the way, does anyone else think we should put designated motorcycle and scooter parking in small bits of curb currently painted red between curb cuts? That would free up full length curb space for car parking, park lets, whatever. Seems like we could also make such moto parking free and not subject to Residential Parking time limits, thereby increasing scooter use and reducing transit crowding, etc.

  • murphstahoe

    Let’s factor in all the cars belonging to people who buy them and register them in other counties.

    Really? Motorists would evade taxes and commit fraud against their insurance companies? I thought these motorists you speak of are the saints of society holding back the dike against the evil law breaking cyclists. Last I checked no cyclist has been caught registering his bicycle in another county in order to commit fraud.

    You aren’t advancing your argument with this theory. Unless you can show that new car owners are more prone to this behavior than old car owners have been, than it does not contribute to the trend.

  • murphstahoe

    Even with your “new math” 3.3 minus 2.1 is not .12

  • Rod_North

    I cannot speak to Rob’s claim of a trend, but I most certainly know some people who register their vehicle in a location other than where they normally keep their vehicle.

    And not just another County, although I would expect that to increase if SF county votes to increase it’s registration fee to 2% next year and surrounding counties do not.

    But even in another State. Oregon has no sales tax and no “use fee” for registering vehicles. I know a guy who bought and registered his vehicle in Medford, Oregon (just across the OR border on I-5), using the address of a “friend” or mailbox address, saving himself potentially thousands.

    Should they do it? No. Is it taking a risk with their insurance? Possibly. But it happens and such things are perhaps inevitable when you have such a patchwork of conflicting laws, taxes and fees.

    So estimating how many do this could help understand any discrepancy between the official numbers (not increasing) and actual congestion (appears to be getting worse all the time).

  • As a scooter rider, I would love it if there was a policy to automatically stripe any ‘remainder’ spaces to motorcycle spots. However, I know in residential districts, homeowners often use those ‘stub’ areas + their curb cuts to fit their own cars on the street. Sort of like how sidewalk parking can become justified because “everyone has done it for decades” etc. : Not sure how to figure that one out.

  • It’s registered cars + trucks + trailers. Am not near my numbers at the moment. From memory, cars were up by 5500 or so, trucks were down by 5000 or so and trailers were down by 1100 or so, putting the total of the three down 600 or so. It’s a mystery to me how there can be over 7000 registered trailers in SF, but that’s what the DMV says so they are lurking out there somewhere.

    I split it out this way to emphasize the higher number of motorcycles and scooters, which we should expect to see more of as the city grows denser. We’ll also see more large SUVs replaced by small city cars, which is my guess why truck numbers were down while cars were up.

    I would be happy to see more electric motorcycles and electric scooters in San Francisco, especially if they replace cars. I am personally not a huge fan of incredibly loud, pollution-spewing motorcycles with monster engines that deafen and poison me as they roar past.

  • NoeValleyJim

    So the DA can press charges when someone in an automobile gets killed but finds it perfectly okay when someone runs over a cyclist. Some animals are more equal than other animals.

  • murphstahoe

    Can I presume you advise these people that they are in violation of the law?

  • murphstahoe

    There was a moto rider in Noe Valley who parked his moto in a stub. This stub would be generally useless but the stub and cut was favored by the homeowner to park their car instead of in their garage, which was full of junk, a car had probably not been parked in there for decades.

    The homeowner reported the moto as parked for over 72 hours, and eventually the moto was towed. And yes, the moto rider lived *next door*.

  • murphstahoe

    I think this is a bit misplaced. The drunk who killed Nils on Masonic was charged and got serious time.

    The problem is that Gascon’s standard for recklessness is so high. Or more so that if the negligence is somewhat minor, the driver won’t be cited *at all*. It would appear that you could just be a really really incompetent but otherwise nice driver and you could kill indefinitely without so much as having your license revoked.

    I certainly think that 80 MPH in Mercedes is worse than 35 on a Trek. Had Bucchere rear-ended a Mini-van at 35, he would have died, not the passenger inside the car.

  • murphstahoe

    So estimating how many do this could help understand any discrepancy
    between the official numbers (not increasing) and actual congestion
    (appears to be getting worse all the time).

    I’d probably consider amount of external traffic coming into the city to be a bigger issue than misregistered vehicles. Nonetheless, I suspect that traffic management is done via observed counts on the roads, not by number of registered vehicles. If everyone took MUNI it wouldn’t matter how many registered vehicles there are. And if a road is completely gridlocked, more cars don’t make it more gridlocked.

  • gneiss

    Once again Park Station has decided to double park on Waller spend a few hours ticketing cyclists on the wiggle. I find it ironic that two weeks after a pedestrian was put in a coma by a red light running hit and run driver at Oak and Scott and a motorcyclists was killed at Oak and Steiner that the biggest danger in the lower Haight remains – cyclists rolling through the empty 4 way intersections at Waller and Steiner. Way to go SFPD.

  • jd_x

    This anachronistic BS really needs to stop. This is an incredible waste of resources. The SFPD continue to demonstrate their incredible bias towards cyclists and pedestrians.

  • jd_x

    “I would be happy to see more electric motorcycles and electric scooters
    in San Francisco, especially if they replace cars. I am personally not a
    huge fan of incredibly loud, pollution-spewing motorcycles with monster
    engines that deafen and poison me as they roar past.”

    Agreed. Quiet scooters/mopeds/electric bikes are awesome, but those damn motorcycles with amplified exhausts need to be banned. I think they their adverse effect on people living in the city is highly under-rated. And it’s just so easy to stop: the cops just need to start giving tickets and motorcyclists will quickly fix their issue or learn they aren’t welcome in SF.

  • No, the tourist board did not find that “more visitor choose not to drive in SF.” The opposite is the case.

    Look at the San Francisco Visitor Research report of 2011, page 10:

    “Transportation Methods Utilized while in San Francisco. Survey respondents were asked to indicate the modes of transportation they used (or planned to use) while in San Francisco. Four in ten report taking taxis while in the city (38.1%). Other automobile options are popular amongst San Francisco visitors, with 35.1 percent using a personal car and 14.6 percent using a rental car.”

    Funny but there’s no mention of bicycles.

  • coolbabybookworm

    As I said, less than half, or really, about half, use a car (as in personal car or rental). Either way, it’s not like everyone drives. And one doesn’t need statistics to see the thousands of rental bikes parked or riding in the parks or along the embarcadero, you just need hateful blinders. Plus that’s from 2011, before bikeshare was launched.

  • No, Murph: .12% is the annual average gain for the great bicycle revolution in San Francisco that gained 1.2% in ten years.

  • Add up taxis, personal cars, and rental cars and you get 87.8% of city visitors are using cars to get around in SF. The rest are using Muni and BART. No mention of bikes.

  • coolbabybookworm

    lol if you think that’s what that means. You can take bart into the city and then take a taxi and then you’ll have taken a taxi while in the city. Or you can take most trips walking around downtown, but rent a car for a day trip to Marin. Not everyone spends their entire trip or life in one mode share. A family can even drive to the city and rent bikes for example. Anyone who drives to a hotel needs to be ready to pay for parking though.

  • murphstahoe

    He doesn’t think that’s what it means. He has confirmation bias and will call an apple an orange. Fortunately nobody with any power really cares what he has to say.

  • But why aren’t bikes even mentioned in the survey?
    Because that “mode” is so insignificant to people visiting San Francisco.

  • coolbabybookworm

    The report also leaves out walking so I would think that is because they’re looking at impacts on the transportation infrastructure. With the bikeshare launch I think it’s likely that using bikeshare may be a question on future surveys and I know the bike coalition is working closely with many businesses to promote biking and business. Also note that the airport is far more significant than highways for bringing in visitors with over 60% arriving via airplane to the bay area.

    And lastly, using patented Rob Anderson® analytics we can see that 95.5% of people use transit to get around SF:

    “Additionally, the city’s public transportation options are being utilized by important shares of visitors. Over one quarter (27.6%) rode the cable cars, while 22.9 percent took MUNI trains and/or buses and 18.3 percent rode the F-Line street cars. One in four used BART (26.7%).”

  • murphstahoe

    Who cares.

  • Yes, most visitors fly in to SF, but once they get here they mostly use cars to get around. Of course many also use Muni and BART, but the cable car system is really just a recreational form of transit, not a serious transportation “mode.”

  • coolbabybookworm

    if that’s the case then why do only 14% rent cars?

    Also, if it’s mostly recreational why is it in the survey!??!?!?!

  • Cable cars are a big deal for tourists, and this study was made by the visitors bureau. You seem to have forgotten some of the numbers from that study: many use taxis and many drive their own cars to the city:

    “Four in ten report taking taxis while in the city (38.1%). Other automobile options are popular amongst San Francisco visitors, with 35.1 percent using a personal car and 14.6 percent using a rental car.”

  • murphstahoe

    You’ve mis-read the stats .

    A rental car IS a personal car. 20.5 percent use their own car, and 14.6 use a rented car.