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Ballot Measure "To Restore SF's Transportation Balance" Proposed

4180 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  pesto
A proposed ballot measure entitled "Restoring Transportation Balance in San Francisco" has been submitted to San Francisco's Department of Elections for processing.

From the draft summary . . . :

The Board of Supervisors created a Transit First policy in 1973. In 1999, the SFMTA was created. Its unelected board was granted exclusive authority to dictate the City’s transportation policies. Since then, the Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors public transportation and bicycles, to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation. Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety, and freedom of movement.
The City has eliminated thousands of off-street and on-street parking spaces through new construction and the creation of new bike lanes. The City also removed the requirement that one parking space be created for each new residential unit constructed. To make matters worse, the SFMTA has not constructed a single new parking garage since the 1990s. These out-of-balance policies have contributed to a severe shortage of parking spaces in the City.
If passed, the measure would eliminate the operation of parking meters in San Francisco on holidays, Sundays, and outside the hours of 9:00am to 6:00pm and would freeze the fees for meters, garages, tickets and parking permits for five years. In addition, the introduction of new meters or variable meter pricing into neighborhoods where they currently do not exist would only be allowed "upon petition by the majority of the affected household and merchants."

The measure also calls for traffic laws to be "enforced equally for everyone," for proposed re-engineering of traffic flows to achieve "smoother-flowing streets," and for SFMTA monies to be earmarked for the construction and operation of new neighborhood parking garages.

At last! The backlash has begun.

Over the last few years major arterial streets have been made virtually impassable by taking away traffic lanes in favor of bike lanes and failure to enforce laws against double parking, illegal left turns and more.

The proposed measure says 78% of San Franciscans own or lease cars. I don't know if that's true or not--I do neither but I drive when necessary, courtesy of Zipcar. What is true, I'm sure, is that the number who use a bike a primary mode of getting around the city are in the thousands while the number who use a car or motorcycle are in the hundreds of thousands. And I'm also sure there are many who are too old or too disabled to ever use a bike for more than occasional recreation. So turning the streets over to bike riders the way San Francisco has been doing makes little or no sense and is simply a response to the organized political power and threats of the "Bicycle Coalition" and its ilk.
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Not sure this one is going to fly. Parking revenue and violations take in quite a bit of change each year for the general fund. I like the ideas but the bicyical colalition and others will be jumping up and down on this one. The car ownership does seem a little high but finding a parking spot, which is an Olympic sport, supports this.

Anyhow, it is fun to read the meters and look at the color of the curb and look at the multiple signs on the polls and try to figure out if it is the third Wednesday if the month.
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The 78 percent number sounds accurate including leases. It's one of the great myths that SF residents don't have cars. Only NY has less than 50 percent ownership as I recall.

Just speaking personally, I know about 50 people who live in the city and exactly zero don't own cars (most of them are working age and have family and friends all around the Bay Area, so they are willing to absorb the effort of finding cheap parking).

My guess is this will be voted down (the coalition of unemployed, poor and environmentalists is pretty large). But bound to be entertaining.
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I'm not sure price fixing would really help make it easier to find a parking spot, I wouldn't be surprised that if this goes into effect that garages will start filling up earlier and earlier until people simply think that finding parking in SF is impossible.

But I suppose it worked for rent control, and prop 13, there is a long history of price fixing in SF so I suppose this one might get traction.
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This won't be about parking or any of that. It probably will end up purely a bikes vs cars fight. I think there is a lot of silent anger out there over things like Critical Mass, the several pedestrians who have been run down by bike riders who got off with a wrist slap under circumstances where a driver would have been given a stiff punishment, and the fact that more and more streets are being rendered impassable to cars in the name of bike lanes used by a few hundred people a day at most.

Look at the comments section of any news article about bikes and bike riders and you realize how bitter this fight could be. Both sides are pretty passionate but the bike riders have been far more organized. This could change it if the proponents of the initiative have a funding source.
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Yes. Willie Brown had an opportunity to smash this movement but didn't. A couple of hundred confiscations of bikes and shipment of them to poor people in Namibia would have stopped this long ago. Now every city has bikes and bike lanes but SF has "entitled" bikers who just don't give a shit about anyone else.
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