Phil Matier’s Shameless Bid to Drum Up Resentment About Parking

Phil Matier is apparently perturbed at the “rapid” pace at which SF plans to re-purpose less than 0.5 percent of its curbside parking spaces.

In keeping with his habitual windshield perspective, Matier used both his SF Chronicle column and air time on KCBS radio today to spin a narrative about motorists getting “a giant middle finger” because a sliver of curb space is being used for bike lanes, transit lanes, wider sidewalks, and parklets instead of car storage.

Phil Matier. Photo: KCBS

The outlook for motorists is dire, according to the lede of today’s Chronicle column, which Matier writes with Andrew Ross:

From the Financial District to the Fillmore, parking spaces along San Francisco’s streets are vanishing at unprecedented numbers — and for those who drive, the situation is only going to get worse.

Okay then, let’s do the math. The 1,600 parking spaces “scheduled for removal” make up an exceedingly small share — less than 0.5 percent — of the 280,000 on-street parking spaces that occupy the vast majority of the city’s curb space.

The areas poised to get safer streets and better transit — or “the hardest hit parts” of the city, as Matier said on KCBS this morning — are South of Market, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Financial District. “Last year, 180 spaces were taken out of service in the downtown area alone,” went today’s column.

Census data shows that the downtown and Civic Center area has as many as 35,000 publicly-accessible parking spaces per square mile — the highest density in the city. Matier and Ross also neglected to mention that none of these figures include SF’s uncounted private parking spaces, estimated to be as many as 800,000.

On KCBS radio this morning, Matier told the hosts they only had to look out their window to see a recently daylighted intersection — where parking spaces were removed near street corners to make people more visible when they enter the crosswalk.

Leave it to Matier to make this simple safety measure sound more like a kidnapping:

They’ve taken out two spaces within the last couple of weeks. They come, they put a bag over it, it’s kind of quiet for a while, then they come and they cut the meter off and then they paint the zone red.

Watch out, motorists: safer crossings, bus rapid transit, and bike lanes are out to abduct your parking when you aren’t looking.

“The idea is to get you out of your car and get you onto mass transportation,” continued an exasperated Matier. “The problem is, if you’re in your car, you can’t get out of it because you’re circling around and around looking for parking!”

But considering that car traffic in San Francisco appears to be in decline, if Matier insists on driving everywhere, maybe he should be thankful that city policy is taking potential competitors for his precious parking spots off the road.

  • Dexter Wong

    May you lose a fight over a parking space to a T. Rex.

  • Leon Foonman

    Bicyclists are the most self-centered, self-promoting cry-babies that have ever come along in SF. The good thing is, once they approach 40 most of them will have grown up, moved to Walnut Creek, or have saved enough money to by a car… they will conveniently forget they ever rode a bike when they can no longer pedal around like 9 year olds on Christmas AM…..if they are still around, and I seriously doubt that they will, they will be whining about the lack of parking in SF, you know, like Normal People…and Phil Matier…

  • Leon Foonman

    The only problem with this image is that it’s possible to put 30 republicons in to a clown car….so it’s really just a manipulation of apples and pomegranets

  • Leon Foonman

    Except that walkers and bicyclists are NOT alllies in SF. Bike riders use sidewalks the way they use bike lanes and people walking on the sidewalk are often dodging bike riders. Bikes are wonderful, but the people on them think they are special …..

  • Leon Foonman

    MUNI answer to packed buses and trains is “Get out and walk”…which is fine if you can. There are thousands of older people, and many disabled who are just S.O.L. …. But wait, they pay taxes, in fact they might even own most of the property in SF… Just wait till there are a lot Boomers (respectfully capitalized) and elderly who organize an Anti-Hipster-and Bicycle lobby…..

  • Leon Foonman

    In the same part of the constitution where it allows trust-fund-transplants to move to California and act like they are the only people who should have any rights.

  • gneiss

    Hi Leon, I’m well out of that age range you mention. I own and live in the Haight, and both my wife and I ride bicycles for transportation around the city. In addition, I have an 8 year old daughter. My biggest concern is not the lack of parking, but rather the lack of safe, protected bicycle routes. I always manage to find parking, but I rarely feel completely safe on every ride, particularly when I’m in sharrows with my daughter.

    I would turn your comments on their head. I find that car drivers who constantly wine about a lack of parking, how expensive it is in the city, and how much traffic there is are nothing more than self-promoting self centered cry babies who should just move to Walnut Creek where they can always find a parking space and the streets are wide and unobstructed.

  • gneiss

    The only reason why people who ride bikes do so on sidewalks, is because there are not safe places for them to ride in the streets. Also, let me point out that there are plenty of places where it is perfectly legal for bicycles and pedestrians to co-exist in the city on multi-use paths, not to mention the fact that if you are 13 years and under, you are legally allowed to be on the sidewalks as well.

  • gneiss

    There’s a reason they call the Boomer generation the “me” generation Quite a few of them only seem to think of themselves whenever they vote and create public policy. Nothing surprising that they still think that way as they get older.

  • NoeValleyJim

    You mean the Me Generation. Or more accurately, the “Me ME ME!” generation who wants to pave the earth and destroy the atmosphere for future generations rather than suffer the slightest personal inconvenience.

    Your kind got 35% of the vote on Prop L last time around, it seems like you car-first types are a dying breed around here to me.

  • Gezellig

    Except that walkers and bicyclists are NOT alllies in SF.

    Wow. Says who? Do you think people who sometimes hop on a bike never use their two feet to walk? Or that people currently on the sidewalk have never hopped on a bike?

    There’s no such thing as -ers and -ists and -ians, but rather trips made by various modes. That’s some crazy tunnel vision.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    free Parking

  • Gezellig

    Were the original poster sincere I’d say they might be surprised at how many kid-having 40+ year olds regularly hop on a bike to get around SF as well as other parts of the Bay Area (quite a handful of whom regularly post here!) but some people prefer their tired, hackneyed stereotypes.

    So, that’s fun for them, I guess.


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