Forum: Finding a Place to Park

From Mechanics’ Institute Library:

Do you know where your car is right now? Join us for a spirited panel discussion on the state of parking in San Francisco. Learn about the historic struggle between the urban grid and the automobile and how committed San Francisco is to becoming a “Transit First” city.

Panelists include historian Michael Tolle, City Planner Joshua Switsky, and SFSU Professor Jason Henderson.


Jason Henderson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography & Environment at San Francisco State University.  Street Fight, his recent book, examines the politics and ideological debates over mobility and urban space in San Francisco, with implications for cities throughout North America and worldwide. He teaches urban transportation, land use planning and a new course: Bicycle Geographies. He is also starting a new project on the political, cultural, and environmental history of Muni.

Joshua Switzky is the Acting Director of the Citywide Planning Division of the San Francisco Planning Department, where he has been a planner and urban designer for over 12 years. He has been instrumental in development and adoption of many of the major comprehensive plans adopted by the City in the past decade, including Transbay, Market & Octavia, Rincon Hill, Treasure Island, and Parkmerced. In addition to these, he has guided major policy initiatives including overhaul of the City’s off-street parking regulations and creation of design guidelines for major new development. He holds a Master of City Planning degree with a Certificate in Urban Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

Historian and Mechanics’ member Michael E. Tolle is the author of What Killed Downtown? Norristown, Pennsylvania, from Main Street to the Malls. After earning a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University, he was in succession an Advisor to the Vietnamese government’s refugee program, a carpentry contractor and energy conservation consultant, and most satisfyingly, a father. As circumstances allowed, Michael earned a M.A. in History at Villanova University and began teaching history at local colleges, including both Montgomery County and Delaware County Community Colleges.

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“Street Fight”: The New Guide to SF’s Transportation Politics

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On the Sunset District’s 19th Avenue, a street transformed into an urban highway environment in the mid-20th century, Muni buses jostle for room on a car-clogged six-lane roadway, where residents put their lives in the hands of long-distance car commuters every time they cross. And all but the exceptionally adventurous can forget about bicycling on the […]