Pandering to the Parking-First Contingent Won’t Win Transportation Funding

Some pretty specious rationales are being used to peddle some pretty terrible recent transportation policy decisions in San Francisco. Yesterday, the SFMTA Board of Directors repealed Sunday parking metering, caving to pressure from Mayor Ed Lee. Board members said they bought into the mayor’s thinking that bringing back free Sunday parking would help win support for transportation funding measures on the November ballot.

We’ve explained why the mayor’s claims of an anti-meter popular backlash are unfounded, as the real push appeared to come from church leaders. But at City Hall, this faulty strategy of backtracking on solid efforts to improve transit and street safety seems to be popular among among decision-makers besides the mayor. In another recent case of the city watering down a great project, the SFMTA downsized transit bulb-outs in the Inner Sunset to preserve parking for a vocal minority who complained. Supervisor London Breed basically said that tip-toeing around the parking-first contingent is necessary to ensure that voters approve new funding for transit improvements down the line.

“They’re pandering to a specific group of motorists — the loudest opponents — who are never going to support these programs,” said Jason Henderson, author of “Street Fight: The Politics of Mobility in San Francisco.”

Supervisors London Breed and Scott Wiener debated the merits of pandering to cars-first voters last week. Photo left: Office of London Breed, Photo right: Aaron Bialick
Supervisors London Breed and Scott Wiener debated the merits of pandering to cars-first voters last week. Photo left: Office of London Breed, Photo right: Aaron Bialick

At a supervisors committee meeting last week on the SFMTA’s budget, which relies heavily on the ballot measures to fund planned transit and safety improvements, Breed said she’s “trying to understand how we’re going to convince voters, especially drivers, to spend a lot of money.”

Breed said that while city officials like her might understand the connection between making walking, biking, and transit more attractive and cutting congestion and parking demand, many voters may not be so savvy. “We’re asking drivers to basically foot the bill for all of the improvements, and we’re taking away parking spaces, making things a lot more — what drivers believe, and have expressed in my district — more difficult,” Breed told SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin.

Breed also said she was concerned that the city doesn’t have a plan B for funding the Bicycle Strategy, the WalkFirst pedestrian strategy upgrades, and the Muni Transit Effectiveness Project. The three ballot measures would fund about half of the bicycle and pedestrian improvements called for, and most of the Muni TEP. “It sounds like we’re taking it for granted that this is actually going to pass,” said Breed.

The three ballot measures proposed by the Mayor’s Transportation 2030 Task Force would each raise roughly $1 billion over the next 15 years. One measure calls for two $500 million general obligation bonds, one in November 2014 and another in November 2024. Another measure would raise the sales tax by half a cent. Only one measure would collect revenue specifically from car owners: an increase in the vehicle license fee from 0.65 percent to 2 percent, which simply restores the VLF to its level before 2004, when then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut it to 0.65 percent statewide. A state bill passed in 2012 specifically allowed San Francisco to raise it again with voter approval.

Responding to Breed, Supervisor Scott Wiener argued that motorists have already been given plenty of breaks, like the lower VLF and a federal gas tax that inflation has eroded since 1993, and already don’t pay for the full cost of the infrastructure they use. “I think it’s completely reasonable to say that drivers should bear part of the burden,” said Wiener, noting that he’s a car owner himself. “Right now, it’s transit riders that are bearing the burden by having an unreliable system.”

Breed said that Wiener is “preaching to the choir.” She continued, “it’s our responsibility as leaders to look at the bigger picture, and to project out what the challenges are… If I’m asking folks in my community to support [measures to raise more money], I want to feel confident about how we’re using our existing dollars in our transportation system.”

“While it’s true that San Francisco government is no paragon of efficiency,” said Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich, “it’s also true that you can’t run a city without revenue, which means taxes and fees for service. Roadways and public parking spaces are very costly public services – in monetary terms, as well as in sustainability and livability terms. The folks who use them ought to help pay for them.”

Henderson and Radulovich say that like those who expect the city to be an autopia abundant with free or cheap parking, there’s no placating those who “expect excellent public services but refuse to pay for it,” as Radulovich put it.

Radulovich also noted that there’s somewhat of a “false dichotomy” between easily-accessible parking and livability, as SFpark’s efforts to put a rational price on parking further both goals.

Many sustainable transportation advocates say back-channel, retrograde concessions to parking complaints, like the Sunday meter repeal, undermine their political confidence in the SFMTA’s ability to deliver needed safety and efficiency improvements. Just as officials like Breed feel cars-first voters need assurance, those San Franciscans who are eager for progressive change also have a political voice that can’t be neglected.

Henderson pointed out that opponents often come around to improvements once they see them actually happen and that the sky doesn’t fall. He pointed to the case of a sidewalk extension at Market and Dolores Streets that replaced several parking spaces and part of a traffic lane. Some of the most ardent opponents are now fans of the mini plaza outside the new condo building and Whole Foods Market, he said.

Henderson said there are also plenty of San Franciscans who own cars but “also understand that they shouldn’t be used as much, and are open to reducing driving.”

“I know a lot of those people. They see the problem as not funding walking, bicycling, and transit enough.”

  • sebra leaves

    When will cyclists start paying for bike lanes, street parking, and all the other special perks the taxpayers are paying for? If the streets are not free to cars they should not be free to bikes either.

  • Jamison Wieser

    @jamiewhitaker:disqus what are your thoughts on the 11-Downtown Connector? How much do you think it will help SOMA vs. missing the point about where people need to go to?

  • All these things are paid for through property taxes and other city taxes. Not gas taxes, which don’t even cover the cost of keeping highways and freeways in repair. (That ends up being paid for with federal debt that future generations are expected to pay off.) Not vehicle registration taxes. Remember the street repair bonds we passed a little while back? All those who don’t own cars shoulder that burden just as much as those who do. Bicyclists pay for city streets just as much as car drivers and use less of them because bicycles take up so much less space. And people who drive into San Francisco from the suburbs don’t pay for our streets at all as the small amount of sales tax we might get from them doesn’t cover the damage/pollution/congestion they inflict.

    Twelve bicycles can park in the space of one parked car. As a bicyclist I would be delighted–delighted!–to pay a dollar per hour to park my bike if cars had to pay $12 an hour. Delighted! (All bicyclists should embrace this with fervor.)

  • 42apples

    Also, it would cost way more money to install and enforce bike parking meters than you’d ever get out of them. If cycling mode share was 60-70% or so and bikes started to pile up outside every building, I’m sure you’d see a plan for paid bike parking. I think most cyclists would support a moderate annual bicycle registration fee if all the money collected was put into maintaining and improving cycling infrastructure.

  • 42apples

    I think the real problem here is that many city officials (Ed Lee foremost among them) see parking meters as just a cash cow for the city. Unfortunately, many transit advocates seem to be implying the same thing. However, the benefit of parking meters is not the revenue generated but the efficient rationing of the scarce resource of available space for parking, leading to less searching and higher turnover. That is why the Chamber of Commerce supports them despite the fact that they effectively raise prices for nearby businesses. It’s the same reason why a carbon tax would be beneficial even if it raises no net revenue.

  • MaceKelly

    The pandering I see is to the bicycle coalitions, and anti car groups. SF has 3-4 hundred thousand registered cars, and the Bay Area in the Millions. Maybe some day we will really reduce auto use, but in the mean time there needs to be a balance. Now I get this, that such words will just inflame the righteous politically correct left extreme that cannot tolerate an opinion other than their own.

  • gneiss

    MaceKelly – you seem to live in an alternative reality. On what planet do you see “pandering” to the SFBC? Less than 1% of SFMTA’s budget goes towards bicycle projects, and yet 3.5% of all trips taken in the city are by bicycle. In every major streetscape redesign project that has come forward in the last 3 years which would rebalance the street away from car parking and towards bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, none of them have escaped unscathed without concessions being made to car parking or “concerns” of the SFFD. It took 6 years for 3 blocks of Oak and Fell to have curb side bicycle lanes installed and that project is still not complete. And that was just paint on pavement and a few signals. No significant infrastructure.

    Last year, we completed the Bay Bridge, which cost $6.4 Billion to build. The Doyle Drive replacement project will cost $1.1 Billion. In each case, state bonds (that all taxpayers, regardless of whether they drive) are covering a significant chunk of of the cost for those roadways.

    Considering the amount of money spent on bicycle projects anywhere in the state compared to money spent on infrastructure for cars, you can hardly say that anyone is “pandering” to people who ride bikes.

  • gneiss

    I would only support such an annual fee for people who ride if it was based on the proportional amount of money that is spent on bicycle infrastructure vs. car infrastructure. Since we spend less than 1% of SFMTA’s budget on bicycle infrastructure, the “fee” should be 1% of what car owners would also pay for registering their vehicles in the city.

    Also, if that’s the case, then we should do away with any tax breaks for electric vehicles. There’s no reason why the state should subsidize the purchase of electric cars by wealthy people with some $200 million of cap and trade money if bicycle riders are then charged for riding on city streets they already pay property and sales taxes for.

  • 42apples

    I think tax breaks and free HOV access for electric vehicles are extremely regressive and a waste of money. I’d much rather see that money put into making world-class cycling infrastructure (and not recreational trails, but commuter-designed paths and lanes).

  • murphstahoe

    in the mean time there needs to be a balance

    I’m all for a balance. But you should be careful what you ask for, because I do not think you understand how unbalanced it currently is….

  • jamiewhitaker

    The 11 Downtown Connector is set to turn at 2nd Street in the TEP. Meanwhile, thousands of new dwellings (1,000 for 50% AMI at 30% of income low income targeted) are being buit east of 2nd Street. I think there is more of a relationship between the Mission and SoMa than there is SoMa and North Beach. I would like to see a bus line (maybe 27 Bryant and 11 Downtown Connector modifications?) to connect 24th Harrison/Folsom to The Embarcadero (or at least Main Street).

  • MaceKelly

    Nice reply Gneiss. I used the word pander only because the article headline said pander when the BOS dropped the Sunday parking meter operation, actually unrelated to SFBC. I thought that headline was unnecessarily inflammatory. I guess also I am guilty of some stereotyping of all the new politically correctness on the left, from different groups, that seem to wage war against cars. I live over on the West side of SF and I am probably not as impacted with the increasing crowdedness of SF streets as those living East of the hills, except when I travel there. When I moved to the City about 40 years ago, I got rid of my car and wanted to be urban, carless. It didn’t work, as I could not take an hour and a half to get across town on a weekend after working door to door twelve hour days.

    Anyway, I get your side. I just don’t think the BOS pandered to anyone on the Sunday parking meters, in any way they might have decided. Characterizing the decision as pandering is an example of the new left politically correct crowd that that cannot stand different opinions, which I suspect may be from the generations that were given a gold star for just being cute little children.

  • MaceKelly

    Hi Murphastahoe, Not sure what is unbalanced. What I know directly from living here for four decades is that it’s become overcrowded, too many bicyclists ride dangerously in the streets, blowing through stop signs, red lights, completely ignoring all traffic laws (not all, but many, and I get it that there are bad drivers too), and Sunday parking meters was an unwanted experiment and annoyance for people who live or visit the City and drive. It’s a relatively small loss of income to the city to preserve some character and quality of life for SF.

    There was a nice little article in either the NY Times or Financial Times about the Google buses and how Silicon Valley cities refused to build additional housing to accommodate their tech company’s employees because they wanted to preserve the quality of life and character of their cities. So, over crowding gets shifted to SF, and they can preserve their QOL but SF cannot?

  • murphstahoe

    Our disagreement is this. I assert that Sunday parking meters improve the quality of life in SF. I assert that you can’t understand this because your analysis is too narrow – “I don’t want to pay more for something”. This narrow focus is to our detriment.

  • murphstahoe

    “Pander” – inflammatory
    “War against cars” – intellectual discourse

  • The current vehicle license fee in California is so low, it would also not be worth the money to collect it on bicycles. It is .65%. (Take the value of the vehicle and multiply by .0065). So for a new $20,000 car it is $131. This annual fee will then drop each year as the car depreciates in value.

    So consider someone buying a pretty darn nice new bike for, say $800. (This may be almost double what most people spend on a new bike.) An equivalent “vehicle” license fee would be $5.20. Now let’s depreciate the bike at 10% a year. The next year the fee would be $4.68. The year after that would be $4.21. etc. The payment system would pretty much eat up all the money collected and then some.

    The fact is, anyone riding a bike is saving the government (Federal, state and city) money in terms of congestion, road repair, pollution, land use, reduced transit subsidies and health care costs. If our government had any sense it would pay people to ride bikes. (The city of Copenhagen figures every car driven in their city costs them $.12/mile and every bike ridden saves them $.21/mile.)

  • Jamison Wieser

    OK, I was thinking SOMA as Second-ish to Eighth-ish where it starts being West SOMA, and east of Second as South Beach. SFMTA didn’t update the route-by-route maps, but did revise the 11 and 27 routes themselves.

    This might only exist ars e rtin the TEP implementation workbook (sigh…) as an addendum showing the final changes after public feedback and the EIR. The 11-Downtown Connector will now run to the 24th/Mission BART station via Folsom (you were right about the relationship with the Mission) instead of ending at 11th.

    Vehicle availability, staffing, and scheduling are unseen and complicated factors in all this, but going with a broader definition of SOMA its tens of thousands of new dwellings here’s an idea (and if I’m not off maybe this is something for the revisions in five years down the road when the Central Subway opens)

    What about splitting the 11 into two lines which overlap in SOMA.

    11.1 following the original plan starting at Eleventh Street and turning at Second with whatever modifications are appropriate North of Market. Part of the point had been to provide SOMA a connection with Van Ness Station.

    11.2 would follow the revised routes starting at 24th/Mission, but following your routing to Main where it would turn north putting the Embarcadero only two blocks away (maybe for the best it has a bit of a buffer from waterfront traffic?) where turning North it would run right within a couple blocks of the densest of the new development, only one block from the Transbay Terminal and could connect with Embarcadero Station as well.

  • Sprague

    “Many people have walking impairments and cannot take Muni to the park.”

    Muni (as is nearly all public transit in the U.S.) is ADA accessible. Passengers with walkers, wheelchairs, etc. are most welcome on Muni and do use it.. Parking restrictions or even driving restrictions (ie. street closures) can always have exceptions to ensure access for people with mobility impairments. A well used and well funded public transit system improves access for everyone (including for the many people with mobility impairments who do not have access to private vehicles).

  • Sprague

    As a cyclist I greatly enjoy not having to pay any sales tax and property tax and it’s especially nice being exempt from having to pay income tax. If you’d join our ranks, you would also enjoy these wonderful perks!

    Or, Sebra, cyclists (and pedestrians and others who try to tread lightly on our planet) could write: When will motorists start paying for the air they pollute, the lungs they poison, the ice caps and glaciers they melt, the species they kill, the climate they alter, and all the other damage to which they greatly contribute? Do you truly think the maybe 60 cents/gallon gas tax and vehicle registration fees (and RPP fees for the relatively few who need this to park) even begin to cover these expenses?

  • cwalkster

    1% of SFMTA’s budget is $9 million.
    In the next two years SFMTA will spend more money on bicycle improvements than on pedestrian improvements.

    Then there is the $18 million bike lane on Masonic Ave. SFMTA can always find money for bicycle projects they want to build.

  • jamiewhitaker

    11.2 would be the morally and environmentally and public health minded thing to do, but SFMTA did not respond to years of me and my neighbors pointing out the obvious – 20,000 residents will occupy high rise and low rise homes east of 2nd Street, and they will absolutely (excep for the 2,500 or so who probably won’t afford having a car) be driving to Trader Joes, Rainbow Grocery, costco, Whole Foods, Slim’s, Basil, Rocco’s, so on and so forth… Neighborhood serving businesses which do not exist in Rincon Hill and may never exist because of the cost of leasing or buying the retail spaces getting built. I expect we will just get more Boulevards, Prospects, and other ridiculously expensive restaurants and zero grocery stores because the retail spaces are too small.

    I watch the Twitter 83X bus line get created out of thin air, and I was a little stunned. I watch the 82X Levi express MUNI bus drive up Main Street weekday mornings, not stopping to pick anybody up who lives in my neighborhood where parking spaces are only allotted 1 for every 2 dwellings. And I watch the 5L bus line get added, but again, that’s like an international flight when all I need is a domestic.

    I’ll be campaigning for SUpervisor this year in part because of a cancerous discrimination I see exhibited towards SoMa by SFMTA, Rec. and Parks, and many other City Departments. I at least want my neighbors to know they’re being asked for $100 million (because SoMa’s property values represent 20% of the Citywide assessed value total) out of a $500 million GO Bond for MUNI while being treated like second class citizens and our lives decreased via the added cars on the streets which increases the air pollution. And I thought San Francisco was about non-discrimination – silly me.

  • murphstahoe

    As in you are going to run for Supervisor? Kudos.

  • jamiewhitaker
  • Jamison Wieser

    There is no “maybe some day we will really reduce auto use” about it, more people are taking transit, biking, car-sharing, and simply walking. There is no balance in taking yet more transit funding to subsidize parking and driving. The VLF was cut by 2/3 a decade ago, but all the cuts came from transit. Several years late the STA was eliminated at the last minute after it had been promised by the State and budgeted for. Five years ago service, maintenance and staff were cut by 10% and even though service was restored the staffing wasn’t and the maintenance backlog collects interest like credit card debt.

    But what you appear to consider “balanced” is not to provide Muni riders with 40 years worth of free sunday service for all those decades of free sunday parking, or to provide extra funding to get through that backlog (which would create jobs and improve service) or to add four extra years worth of funding for the bike network to make up for the years the city was under the injunction. That seems pretty balanced, but the SFMTA is still incentivizing drivers with cheeping and free parking through SF Park. Despite the common misconception, the meters run at a loss.

    But you are placing so much emphasis on subsidized parking that you aren’t even noticing the other benefits for you as a driver. That’s where some of the anger comes from, that you are being so shortsighted you don’t even notice how much you have already been coddled by the rest of us, you are advocating to make life worse and more expensive for everyone. That includes you, because without the people outside SF paying for parking through meters, the extra costs to the city are being paid for by you too.

    If there wasn’t such opposition, and the SFMTA were allowed to expand SF Park complete with in-ground sensors, you would be able to always find the cheapest or free parking on Sunday using the SF Park app or one the third party apps which integrated. How is that not to your benefit?

    Please seriously consider that, how would it not help you if under a full SF Park rollout, you’d be able to turn by turn directions to the either the closest or the cheapest available spot any time depending on whichever you need. Yes you’d start paying Sunday, but you’d be paying less overall. You’d be spending less in gas as well if you looked at it from a wider angle.

    And read how traffic really is getting better even though the perspective on the ground seems otherwise:

  • NoeValleyJim

    i moved to San Francisco 21 years ago, sold my car and have had a great car-free life ever since. I routinely carry my kids to school on my bicycle and use Muni when it rains. I have saved at least $100,000 dollars that I would have flushed down the drain and am in amazing shape for someone my age.

    We need to reduce the amount of auto usage from the people that are running over our children and elderly in crosswalks, polluting the environment, ruining the economy and causing global warming.

    You have 20th century ideas in the 21st century. I know you Boomers think that you are the most important people in the Universe, but it is time to step aside and let the younger generations clean up after you.

  • Jamison Wieser

    Well thankfully the measures this fall are completely unnessacery,

    Before pushing his free parking, Mayor Ed Lee said back in January that SFMTA didn’t need the money “Now, I think we have come up with a better way to finance Muni in the long haul, so why not give people a break?”

    Muni riders got a fare increase and whatever service cuts are needed for the parking subsidy and car owners don’t have to pay meters, everybody the mayor considers “people” win!

  • MaceKelly

    You must be joking. Who do you think built the human made world you live in, my generation and all the generations before both of us. The trouble with too many youngsters today is that they think all the wonderful things they enjoy, the house they live in, the streets they ride their bicycles on, the Muni they ride, the Internet they use, the schools their kids to to, all just sprang up magically like fruit on a tree, just for them. Your ancestors built the world you live in and enjoy, fought and won the second world war, and built this country before you (and me) all so you could enjoy your life. Every think you mentioned has a carbon foot print, your carbon footprint, too. I hear all you say, but your self righteousness is like a bad smell that shows your anger and hostility. The new politically correct left just cannot tolerate a different opinion, or show respect to others and their elders. By the way, welcome to SF.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Your generation didn’t fight in WWII or suffer through the Great Depression. That generation I respect.

    Your generation gave us sprawling suburbs, conspicuous consumption, super-sized everything and a planet rapidly warming with critical resources depleted everywhere. You are the most self-centered generation to every walk the face of the earth.

    What are you doing to help clean up the mess you made? What kind of legacy are you leaving to your children and grandchildren?

    Thanks for the welcome. My mother and children were also born here, so I have deep roots in my community.

    What are you doing to make San Francisco a better place for everyone, not just yourself?

  • NoeValleyJim

    Bike riders don’t pay their
    fair share for the roads.


    The perception that our
    streets and highways are completely paid for
    through gas tax and other driver user fees is a
    relic of the 1950s. Times have changed — a lot.
    The gas tax has stayed stagnant since 1993 and
    cities and states have turned to local taxes and
    streets bonds to cover the cost of road repairs.
    As a resident of San Francisco, you pay for
    our city streets when you purchase items at the store, shell out
    for your state income tax or pay your property taxes. In fact,
    you’re paying MORE than your fair share. A study by
    economist Todd Littman found that in the U.S., the average
    driver travels 10,000 miles in town each year, contributes $324
    in taxes but costs the public $3,360 each year. By contrast,
    someone who bikes everywhere contributes an average of $300
    but only costs the public $36 in road costs. Thanks for more
    than paying your way!

  • MaceKelly

    OK, I get it. You hate boomers. The problems you address are the result of hundreds of years of industrialization in the entire world, a global and modern industrial technology capitalist world, which by the way your parents and grandparents helped create.. While your rhetoric is on a worthwhile issue, you vision is very narrow and blaming it on the boomer generation is rather weak.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Not all Boomers, just those who aren’t willing to help leave a cleaner planet. Just those who demand more free parking and wider freeways and don’t care who gets run over because of that.

    80% of all Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere was generated since 1950:,_1751-2009.gif

  • MaceKelly

    OK. You are convincing me, that I ought to think of revisiting my eco-consicousness, which I had abandoned as hopeless, as I see the insects die off, and the continued pollution of the earth. I will send a link to an article in the FT about an environmentalist in England who has given up after twenty years of activism to retreat
    to a self sustaining farm.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    And why do we demand transit is “cost-efficient” in the first place if it’s also considered a public service/public good?

    Because only idiots throw money (a limited resource, and an economic proxy for real, limited resources) away.

    The reason we (enviros, lefties) are fucked and always will be fucked is because dim-wits are happy to throw money at any idiot scam which is superficially greenwashed as “transit” (BART to the Moon! Central Subway!), and are so trivially bought off to actively support tens of billions disappearing into the pockets of exactly the same scamming fraudsters who build mean old bad old freeways.

    As long as “cost efficiency” is a bad word (math is hard! let’s go shopping!) then you’re going to get the very worst possible outcomes. Look around you. You’re soaking in it.

    Iraq war = bad!
    Exxon = bad!
    Therefore, shittiest “transit” project = good!

  • Jamison Wieser

    Sebra is a wonderful example of what happens when you pander to self-centered children who steal toys and won’t share.

    She pretended that there is some sort of problem with parking when there is plenty of space. So much drivers leave plenty of space between cars. Drivers can just stop bitching until they learn how to park.

    Or are you so blind with anti-bike rage you just can’t be bothered to look for it. Stop whining you don’t have enough.

  • M.

    uh, only some Boomers. It’s not about age, NVJ.

  • M.

    But no generation has a lock on progress, and no younger generation is obliged to stay the course, especially if that course requires correction and ours most certainly does. If what irks you is being marginalized as an older person, MaceKelly, I’m with you; that’s nasty, unfair ageism. But your advanced age might also mean you’ve forgotten the righteous changes we fought for.

  • M.

    As if? If Kingsnorth is your guide, go for it.

  • M.

    Don’t forget the way higher costs of wear and tear on the roads themselves and the huge public health costs of the cardiovascular and endocrine diseases that plague us.

  • NoeValleyJim

    No it is not about age M. But it is about entitlement, which every generation has, but the Boomers have more than anyone else.

    I do appreciate everyone out there fighting the good fight, you in particular!

  • M.

    And most Americans feel more entitled than anyone else, but you don’t want to be lumped in with clueless, spoilt Americans, do you? And isn’t there a lot of dust being kicked up lately about arrogant young things in tech? #ConfirmationBias. But love ya, NVJ

  • M.

    Sad but true: most opponents of good practice can’t identify facts as such and/or minimize their importance. In that case, the only strategy is to have an entire quiver of facts at the ready, then aim a suitable one at each irrational argument as it’s presented.
    Here’s a fun line of reasoning: 1. SF, like all cities, is growing and building new housing; 2. Most people venture away from home; 3. If each person requires an car and parking, you’re competing with them on the streets and breathing their spew.

  • @MaceKelly – I’m anti-car. Where are these anti-car groups you mention? I haven’t found even one.

  • You left out the part where this environmentalist started up a publishing business to get his viewpoints out on a continuing basis. Not exactly giving up.

  • @cwalkster – Riiiiight. How many years has Masonic been deadly for bicyclists? Make that decades.

    It is dishonest to spin liveable city improvements as bicycle, not pedestrian, when in fact they make the roads safer for everybody, including those in cars.

  • MaceKelly

    I guess I misspoke, but I get your humor. I should have said anti-car zealots, as, like you, I don’t know of any formal “Zero-Car” group. Maybe we should start one, though we will be up against the oil industry, the automobile industry, and ferrari, 🙂

  • MaceKelly

    Hi is not my guide. I just thought it was an interesting note that this man, after all his years of activism, reached some sort of turning point that he was not accomplishing what he was trying to do. The capitalistic, global market, financial industry seems to have an over whelming force against trying to protect the earth.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Dropping out, living lightly on the earth, trying to survive while doing as little environmental damage as possible, this is itself a radical and commendable act. Movements don’t start themselves you know! You don’t know who you can inspire with your actions.

    I agree that capitalism seems to be triumphant at the moment, but there is no way that it can sustain the kind of resource depletion driven growth that has fueled the global economy for the last century. Global warming alone is going to wallop collective humanity in the next decade or two. And there are other problems, at least as large, looming right behind that. I am absurdly optimistic that we will deal with them, but the sooner we get started the less pain there will be.

  • NoeValleyJim

    I remember walking precincts and knocking on doors for the Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez. He won that year and the district went on to elect another Green after him. How did we end up with someone with such lukewarm environmental credentials in D5 as London Breed?

    Ed Lee has a lot to answer for.

  • Kevin J

    It might have been the other way around with the Supervisors quietly threatening to veto if the meters weren’t repealed while the SFMTA Board was put in the position of having to approve the Mayor and Supervisors car owner handouts.

    And why do the Supervisors get to vote on it at all? Or the other way, why have an SFMTA board that goes through the motions when it’s the Supervisors who actually approve it?

  • Kevin J

    And if you take this advice Aaron, could you also include how much of those road costs are offset by farebox revenue?


SFMTA Board Repeals Sunday Parking Meters

The SFMTA Board of Directors today caved to pressure from Mayor Ed Lee by removing Sunday parking meters, a move folded into its approval of the agency’s two-year budget. The Sunday meter reversal was supported by all but one of the SFMTA’s board members, who are appointed by the mayor. Board member Cristina Rubke said she […]