Skip to Content
Streetsblog San Francisco home
Streetsblog San Francisco home
Log In
Mayor Ed Lee

SF Will Never Build the Ed Lee Parking Meter Monument

4:59 PM PDT on July 30, 2014

In some parallel universe, San Francisco may replace the Alma Spreckels monument with Mayor Ed Lee on a parking meter. But not in this world. Credit: Aaron Naparstek and Carly Clark
In some parallel universe, San Francisco may replace the Alma Spreckels monument with Mayor Ed Lee on a parking meter. But not in this one. Image: Aaron Naparstek and Carly Clark

Ed Lee isn't the first San Francisco mayor to go to bat for free parking. But maybe he'll be the first to realize that this is no way to leave a lasting legacy -- the city will never build a monument to his crusade against parking meters.

The beautiful renderings in this post, depicting a Mayor Lee statue on top of a giant parking meter where the Alma Spreckels' monument now stands in the middle of Union Square, were created by Streetsblog founder Aaron Naparstek and visualization wizard Carly Clark.

The idea came to Naparstek as he delved into the current state of sustainable transportation policy in San Francisco, preparing for his keynote speech at the SF Bicycle Coalition's Golden Wheel Awards earlier this month. After watching New York implement breakthrough after breakthrough under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Naparstek concluded that Mayor Lee's lack of leadership is one of SF's great obstacles to creating reliable transit, safe bikeways, safer streets for walking, and attractive places to gather.

By the time he left office, Bloomberg could point to bold measures like the pedestrianization of Times Square and the multi-modal redesign of First and Second Avenues in Manhattan. Ed Lee, meanwhile, can say that he kept parking free on Sundays and threatened elected officials who tried to increase funding for transit and safer streets.

"No 21st century big-city mayor will ever be honored or memorialized for being the guy who preserved cheap, abundant, on-street parking," said Naparstek. "There is no mayoral legacy to be had."

Credit: Aaron Naparstek and Carly Clark
Image: Aaron Naparstek and Carly Clark

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog San Francisco

BART Grant is Good News for Oakland, Alameda, and Other Cities

Latest round of 'Safe Routes to BART' program includes $16 million for bike and ped improvements leading to and from BART stations

March 1, 2024

Advocates Hammer City College Trustees’ Climate Hypocrisy on Frida Kahlo Way

City College talks a good game about supporting bike lanes and better transit, until it comes to losing a few parking spaces

March 1, 2024
See all posts