On a recent Wednesday night, more than 100 people packed into the auditorium at John O’Connell High School, angry about a contested plan to meter parking spaces in the northeast Mission.
This meeting was the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s chance to rectify the situation, to let residents know that they wouldn’t go forward with a new parking plan without community input — that this time would be different.
But the agency met with a tough crowd. As SFMTA officials asked the attendees to sit in the area of the auditorium that corresponded with their quadrant of the neighborhood, one man murmured, “They wanna divide and conquer!”
It was a bit like watching an absent parent try to reconnect with children after years of missing visits and breaking trust.
“We are here to restart the process because we heard loud and clear that we didn’t get it right the first time around. So we took a couple steps back to restart,” said SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin at the beginning of the session.
Community members listened — some reluctantly — as Jeffrey Tumlin, a consultant to the project, presented newly acquired data on various aspects of parking in the northeast Mission. Tumlin highlighted the Mission’s unique history, which has shaped the area’s hodgepodge of land uses. The data highlighted parking supply, regulations and occupancy at the block-to-block level.
“One size certainly does not fit all,” said Tumlin of the Mission’s mixed use of land, which distinguishes it from other parts of the city.
The SFMTA restarted the decision-making process in the northeast Mission after encountering fierce opposition from the community earlier this year when it tried to implement an SFpark pilot project that would install new parking meters in the area. Under the SFpark program, meter and garage prices are adjusted up or down according to demand. The goal is to reduce congestion by helping drivers quickly find open parking spaces.
The move to manage parking comes as a 220-spot parking lot on 17th and Folsom streets is slated to be converted to a park and low-income housing development.
The goal of Wednesday night’s meeting was to present newly acquired data and hear the community’s suggestions regarding parking management techniques in a neighborhood where parking is largely unregulated.
One man, unhappy with the response to his question about his small business, left angrily, flashing his middle finger at Reiskin. “I’m taking my business elsewhere,” he said.
Jennifer Brommer, who owns a motorcycle shop in the Mission, was close to tears. Parking in front of her shop was free for 13 years, but now she pays for her customers to park, which can cost up to $2,000 a month.
“They’re destroying me with their agenda because they didn’t look closely at each block,” she said. “[That’s what] this meeting is all about, so hopefully there’s gonna be some change.”
Parking in San Francisco can be a headache, and the northeast Mission is no exception. According to the SFMTA, it typically takes drivers 27 minutes to find a parking space in the northeast Mission. The city’s transit-first policy encourages residents and commuters to rely on BART and Muni rather than their cars, but many at the meeting, including Tumlin, said that a transit-first policy is at odds with the desire to increase parking availability and ease.
The SFMTA’s goal, Tumlin said, is to make some parking available while also discouraging people from driving when they could take public transportation, walk or bike.
Tumlin, who is originally from Los Angeles, said that he will probably always own a car but understands that he takes up far more street space by driving than when he walks, bikes or uses public transit.
But does a transit-first policy really work for the Mission, where transit service often falls short? Tumlin acknowledged that Muni service in the neighborhood is “terrible.” And the not-so-quiet elephant in the room was that more meters ultimately equals more revenue for the city. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “revenue from parking fines and fees … generate[s] more than $187 million a year that is pumped directly into the Muni transit system.”
One community member at the meeting told the SFMTA that she would love to take public transportation, but it’s simply not an option. She said that she had lived in New York City for several years and never needed a car, “but here it’s different, public transportation is not at that level where I can solely rely on it.”
A group called ENUF (Eastern Neighborhoods United Front) has been monitoring the SFMTA’s policies with concern and anger. “Everything they say is ‘Oh, transit first,’” ENUF member Mari Eliza told Mission Local, who also referred to the difficulty of accessing Muni in the Mission.
The city’s transit-first policy began in the 1970s, Eliza said, when San Francisco had air-quality problems from car pollution. These days, she said, it’s a different story. “In 1973 there was really bad smog…. If we’re looking at today, you’re trying to push plans that were developed 30 years ago. What’s here now is that we’re at a 20-year low for carbon emission.”
In the final part of the meeting, attendees split into small groups based on their place of residence. Many residents from each subgroup spent time with SFMTA officials, giving block-by-block suggestions for managing parking to suit their streets. Others had no faith in a process that they said would ultimately be determined by the SFMTA’s board of directors.
Some residents had difficulty communicating with the city officials because of language problems.
Near the entrance to the meeting, an SFMTA representative asked a man to write down his email address on a mailing list, repeating the word “address,” which the man interpreted as his physical residence. Finally, a Spanish-speaker interpreted the representative’s message. “Oh, my email?” said the man. “I don’t have an email address.” He passed on the question and looked for a seat.
“Mi nombre es Victor Bonilla,” the man said later. “I live at Capp between 18th and 19th. It’s a residential area, not a commercial one. I understand that the meeting is to pass or not pass a resolution that would put meters in the neighborhood, something which would absolutely hurt the peace in the community.”
Bonilla is part of a group of longtime residents who rely on cars to get to and from work, their children’s school events, doctor visits and the like.
“Look, we have three cars. I drive one, my wife drives the other and the other is my son’s. And we only have one garage…. This isn’t just my problem. This is the problem of the majority of people from a certain class who don’t have big garages and need more than one car. For that reason, I am totally in disagreement with this project…. If the city needs money, I can pay an additional tax, but they shouldn’t disturb our community with meters.”
To see the SFMTA’s data on parking in the northeast Mission, click here.
There is no evidence as to whether SF Park variable pricing “works” because the MTA has not done a full lifecycle analysis of variably pricing parking for availability.
Variably priced parking with the intent to maintain availability is tantamount to building a parking structure. Available curbside parking, like parking structures are trip generators. Whenever an SFPark project is sited near a transit line, we need to know whether in a city with enough well off drivers who are not time, not price, sensitive, these added VMTs will create congestion along transit lines.
If this is the case, then SFPark might very well elicit mode shift from transit to autos. We don’t know how the SFPark projects at 4th and King and 22d Street CalTrain have effected mode shift. What a pyhrric victory to shift people from CalTrain to private auto for the long haul commute because parking at the stations compares with the cost of driving your own car.
These are fair arguments that would blow a CEQA exclusion out of the water because it impacts transit. Enviros and progressives should welcome CEQA review when it prevents City staff and misguided advocates from taking discretionary actions that might have significant unintended environmental consequences.
Shoup never studied up how his pricing theories impact on a surface transit system that is sensitive to congestion. The bike plan got tripped up on transit delay, let’s learn from that and not throw soil on Muni as it is trying to dig its way out. Rapid and reliable transit is the foundation that encourages mode shift.
lets try posting again.
This is a money grab by the city, they already tried to torment the citizens into the previous plan and are now back with ne buzzwords.
If this all is such a great idea the overclass of city hall vermin would have let it go last time, and then waited for the citizens to ask for a solution.
This is another top down scheme to raise money by the city, you lowly peasants are too dumb to know what is best for you.
Good luck to all of you. I had been in conversation with the SFMTA regarding the increased MUNI traffic in South Van Ness after the reroute and they basically wrote me a letter saying their staff would contact me in a week which did not happen and that the bus traffic had not increased….not true.
In the end they will Folsom as they please.
Typo…do as they please.
I am speaking of the time after the buses returned to Mission St ….MUNI is taking advantage and using the street as a shortcut and has not slowed traffic on the street. God forbid they show up late somewhere.
Two other matters:
A person can get a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) even if his car is registered elsewhere.
Transit First just sez to fund transit first. Not much else…
See the numbers and percentages on the pie graph?
41% (880 cars) registered in CA outside of SF
22% (471 cars)
12% (252 cars)
Total 74% (1603 cars)
These 1603 car owners may live in SF 94110, but register their cars out of town.
SF has high insurance rates, and 94110 has the highest rates of *all* the SF zip codes.
Consequently, even though the car is registered in, say, Colma, the Sunset, or Grass Valley, it actually may belong to a resident who lives in and keeps that car in the Mission.
This is why an RPP may be fought against. It would require people to forego parking or re-register their cars. They probably don’t mind paying $100 for an RPP, but don’t want to pay another $500 for increased insurance costs.
Kudos to the SFMTA for their persistence in designing parking management that will work for this tricky area. I’ve lived in the Mission since 1993 and we’re now raising our family in the neighborhood, often frequenting businesses in the NE Mission for coffee, haircuts, car repair, groceries etc.
We certainly don’t expect the city to provide free real estate for us to store our car – the businesses that are car-oriented (HansArt Automotive, Rainbow, etc) have parking lots and the other ones we hardly ever drive to. That’s what our bikes/feet/Muni are for! If we needed three cars for our family, we would definitely move to a part of the Bay Area where street parking was plentiful, but we really love the Mission. So my husband and I have both chosen our jobs, and our son’s preschool, partly based on how easily we can reach them by bike and transit. We only drive our car a handful of times a month, and if we really need a second car, we have City CarShare.
My 2 cents as a long time Mission resident!
The citizens said they didn’t want the SFMTA’s help and kudos to the SFMTA for attempting to jamb it down their throats again.
Remember to obey
I live in the North East Mission, and I have for 4 years been able to get by just fine without a car. I bike everywhere, occasionally taking BART, the 22 and the 33 to get to other places in the city, and I rent a Zipcar maybe once every two months to do errands that require a car. MUNI isn’t the best thing in the world, but it’s never hindered me from getting where I need to go.
Every comment made in this article sounds like entitled car owners believing that that they have the right to free, public land. There is no way that any family in this neighborhood *needs* to have 3 cars (!!), and it is absolutely not the city’s responsibility to make room for that.
If your family really is completely dependent on three cars, please do not expect the city to cater to you. There are suburbs within short distance where you’d easily be able to get an affordable house with a two car garage and ample street parking. I’m proud to live in a city where I can get around easily without the expense of owning a car (God knows I can’t afford it), and I fully back the city’s transit-first policy. Last time I checked, none of the Valencia businesses are hurting from lack of parking. Instead, we have a vibrant street with bustling sidewalks and beautiful parklets.
However, residential permit parking sounds like it would definitely be the best solution for the neighborhood, and I hope that is the option in addition to meters. One permit per housing-unit would be aplenty though.
Parking meters and residential parking permits would also finally eliminate the 2 RV’s that have been permanently parked on my street for 2 years now. I would welcome it with open arms, then celebrate in the 17th & Folsom park – the only (potential) green space within a mile of my house. I’ll take that over free parking any day.
Some people need cars to commute their jobs outside of San Francisco. My wife and I both work outside the city, one in northern Marin, the other usually in Contra Costa County, in places where public transit is not available or not realistic. Of course, we would both like to work and live exclusively in San Francisco, but the realities of the job market dictate otherwise.
I’m not going to judge how many cars someone should own or how they should travel as long as they play by the rules. Of course, ideally, we’d all bike or walk or use public transit, but the world isn’t ideal.
That’s why I suggested a comprehensive survey/canvassing effort to as fairly as possible determine the needs and wants of the affected neighborhood. I suspect that this effort by the MTA is just a money grab, and that the situation in the NE Mission is pretty much okay as is.
My concern is that once they unnecessarily put meters into that part of the Mission, the MTA will spread their efforts throughout the neighborhood. In my area (near Garfield Park), the parking situation can be difficult, but the mixture of residential permit parking, non-permit required free parking, and meters on the commercial streets (24th, Mission) seems to work well for most people.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The way we have subsidized motor vehicles has made possible what should be an irrational choice of 2 people living in SF, and each working in other far flung counties.
It’s an exercise for the reader to decide if it is broken that we have enabled and even incentivized that strategy.
Our situation evolved over a long time. At one point, before we were together, we each lived and worked in SF. I switched into union construction and the only local that accepted me into apprenticeship was in Contra Costa County. Similarly, my wife much more recently completed a graduate progam, and the only job she could get upon graduation is in northern Marin. She’s lucky because almost none of her classmates have been able to find full time employment.
So while our jobs are elsewhere, our friends, interests, community and hearts are in San Francisco. We make do with sharing one car because we want to minimize our contribution to the environmental degradation.
Your point is well taken, although I disagree that our choices have been irrational.
Eddie – note I said “should be irrational” which is meant to imply that our current built environment doesn’t make it irrational – personally – though taking externalities into account the fact we all have built this sort of lifestyle actually is irrational. I’ve certainly exploited that situation plenty in my lifetime.
Were we not capable of having this sort of lifestyle, the rational choice might have been to not go into union construction, go out of construction, or move.
Perhaps in that utopia we would be building housing on the remaining parking lots in the Mission and expanding the sidewalks into the former parking spaces. This would provide numerous union construction jobs in San Francisco and housing inside San Francisco such that we wouldn’t need so much union construction building housing in Contra Costa County to house workers commuting into San Francisco to wash dishes.
As an aside, if transit is not available or realistic for either of your jobs, and you share one car, how do you both get to work?
I’m working sporadically because of the slowness of the construction industry, but more importantly, because I suffered a serious crushing injury that has left me permanently without full use of one of my hands so doing construction full time, while possible, is quite difficult.
I’m slowly struggling into transitioning into something else, probably in social services and hopefully in SF. When I have worked since my wife has started her job in northern Marin, she has taken the very long bus ride to work, or arranged rides with co-workers who live in BARTable parts of the East Bay.
I glad you mentioned “utopia” because I think that some people who criticize car drivers forget that our current transportation system is far from utopian and that not everyone can bike, walk, use public transit or car share.
I’m satisfied with the realities of the difficult parking situation in our part of the Mission and rely on the RPP. I hope the community in the NE Mission can force the MTA to find a fair system, and that that solution does not include meters solely as an income source rather than as a means to keep spaces available in front of business whose customers need parking.
I love this argument.
The majority of Americans do their thing by car, so if the government does somethings for those people, who are in the majority, it is a subsidy?
I seldom go to parks so I resent the availability of parks for the majority so it must be a subsidy that needs to come to an end. Park users need to pay a fee and we need park police to make sure everyone in Dolores Park has paid the fee.
I assume our deep thinkers agree? There are dozens of things that I don’t use that there needs to be people identified and charged for.
The maintainance cost of every park in the Bay Area could be handled for eternity from the cost of one Bay Bridge.
Oh, but you need the bridge to transport all the grass seed for the bridge? If all the bridge was being used for was transport of goods, we would not need 2 decks.
The Bay Area could create a safe bicycling utopia on all of the streets that cyclists actually use for the $300m that bicycle advocates suggest we spend on the Bay Bridge west span bike facility.
What gets me here is that the anti-car zealots decry the right wing for science denialism on climate change yet fixes their own blinders tight when it comes time to scientifically test their own assumptions against inconvenient realities.
Simply because your intentions are laudable does not mean that your policy recommendations further your desired outcomes. When government operates in regulatory capture by the profitable businesses that have purchased it and when advocates are in lock step with that corrupt government, then given the track records of all involved, that raises even more suspicions.
It turned out that the Bike Plan needed an EIR because yeah, it delayed private autos which is no environmental impact in and of itself. But when autos are delayed, then transit often gets delayed as well and that is an environmental impact. Efforts to sweep those impacts under the rug are environmentally dangerous like an oil spill.
If we expect for people to mode shift away from autos, then we have to acknowledge that most will not bike or walk, they will take transit. The speed, reliability, cleanliness and crowding of existing insufficient transit infrastructure has to be given top priority and all discretionary public decisions have to do no harm to transit first.
It is arguable as to whether existing infrastructure is sufficient to elicit mode shift. It is arguable as to whether raising more barriers to driving in the absence of robust transit is the best way to elicit mode shift.
Perhaps the anti-car zealots are motivated by hate to the extent that they will resort to the most conservative of economic approaches to raising barriers to private auto use, irrespective of any unintended consequences.
But moving an agenda of change works better in my experience when we invest in the carrots first and once enough people have a taste for carrot, then consider investing in sticks. The neoliberal approach to transit finance insists that projects cover their costs on the first day of operation. History proves that many transit infrastructure projects took years, decades or even a century to meet that test.
The subways into The Bronx in NYC are a prime example of transit led growth. The Bronx used to be “sprawl.” The lack of sufficient new rapid, reliable, scalable and sustainable transit infrastructure in San Francisco’s developing east side and the refusal of the MTA to forward invest simply invites trouble down the road. The lack of regional rapid reliable transit further prunes the tree of transit viability.
If the increase in capacity along 4th Street due to the Rose Pak Railway is about 20% over the 30/45/15, and the increase in the developable envelope is going to go up by a factor of ten or more. then we’re simply using transit as an infinite sink when it has lost its capacity to absorb any more.
I know that thinking things through without predetermined outcome makes the zealot’s brain hurt. It is so much easier to operate within the vacuum of a constrained and ideologically determined ontology. But such risk taking is required if one is to get an accurate view of the problem at hand and to develop reality based solutions that thread the political needle.
“Every comment made in this article sounds like entitled car owners believing that that they have the right to free, public land.”
What part of neighbors and businesses are willing to pay for RPP are you missing? I can understand your emotional response to this, but please, pull yourself together and kindly respond to what people are actually writing.
I’ve lived in the neighbourhood for 20 years without a car, and don’t feel entitled to tell others how they should be living around the ownership of cars.
Most people think the problem with Muni is a lack of focus by the SFMTA on fixing the problems with Muni, exacerbated by a lack of authority and oversight by city officials who feel powerless to constrain them. SFMTA controls too much money, has too much authority and lacks proper oversight.
Props E, A, K, and Transit First policies created a monster that is out of control. And there is a growing demand for a ballot initiative to correct that problem. Recent admissions by SFMTA that there are major conflicts of interests within the department lead us to believe that the people are right and a major power shift is needed to correct the problem.
One conflict of interest that needs to be addressed is SFMTA’s plans to eliminate and constrain public parking in San Francisco while increasing population. People all over the bay who would take public transit cannot because of the lack of parking near transit hubs. The solution is not less parking, but more. There is no magic in the Shoupe hat. Nobody is buying that theory any more, as evidenced by one participant at the Mission meeting who said, “Don’t go there,” when Jeff tried to bring up the congested parking rates theory. Her request was met by applause from the audience and Jeff dropped the subject.
According to SFMTA data, 41% of the cars in the Mission are registered outside of San Francisco. Commuters are parking here and taking public transit to their final destination. These are Muni and BART customers. Why is the SFMTA fighting their customers instead of serving their needs?
On a recent weekend I walked around Mission Bay and photographed seven huge parking garages near the Third Street light rail. Most were empty. Why?
One other matter that has come to our attention recently, is that businesses around Valencia, and other neighborhoods where parking restrictions are already in place, are in trouble due to the lack of parking. The parklets are not as popular as SFMTA would have you and everyone else to believe. Residents hate them and businesses prefer more parking spots not less.
ENUF supports a moratorium on further parking restrictions and all non-Muni related activities until the Muni is fixed. The Muni riders can determine that.
There is a petition and parking survey online where you can let city officials know how you feel: http://www.sfenuf.org
“According to SFMTA data, 41% of the cars in the Mission are registered outside of San Francisco. Commuters are parking here and taking public transit to their final destination. These are Muni and BART customers. Why is the SFMTA fighting their customers instead of serving their needs?”
Is this supposed to be a good thing? I personally don’t want my neighborhood being a parking lot for out-of-town visitors wanting to take BART/MUNI to Union Square. If that’s what they want, they can park by Balboa Park or Daly City – BART stations that have large parking lots for that exact purpose.
Sorry, I meant Glen Park, not Balboa. Balboa doesn’t have parking.
My point is that we need more parking in the city for everyone, including commuters. They are only parking in your area because thousands for parking spaces have been eliminated over the last few year. That is the trend that needs to stop. There are not enough parking spaces at the Glen Park station and SFMTA is planning to eliminate the ones that are there, in case you missed that story.
Transit is horrible so you don’t think you should pay for parking, BUT commuters drive to your neighborhood to take transit.
How does that make sense?
Driving into east side San Francisco and getting on Muni is preferable to getting to transit in the periphery, getting into San Francisco via transit getting to your final destination in San Francisco via transit.
My read of the neighborhood is that people would be cool with RPP. The best way to achieve that end is not to start negotiations mid way but to start with an extreme position and bargain down from that, just like the MTA did by rolling out their Bad Idea #1 fait acompli, they thought.
“There is no magic in the Shoupe[sic] hat”
Oh, barf. What a well-reasoned argument and what a way to crowdsource wisdom–at a meeting packed with NIMBYs.
It’s all true and correct, and unsurprisingly, SFPark is working. You can shout down data all you want like the blowhard pundits shouted down Nate Silver on Fox News, but in the end, we’ll look back on these bad old days of giving away free street space and wonder at our idiocy.
The solution is not less parking, but more. I say we start by tearing down an entire block of houses and putting in a parking garage. Then not only will there be plenty of parking, but fewer residents who need it. And it will drive up housing prices due to scarcity so we can get rid of the riff raff who can’t afford a nice car.
Lets just turn Dolores Park into a parking lot too while we’re at it. Who needs parks, right? It would make getting to Bi-Rite and Farina much easier, and what’s good for businesses is good for the neighborhood! Even better, none of us will ever need to take the terrible, dirty MUNI bus ever again. Because fuck making personal sacrifices for the sake of the environment and our community.
either “up” you meds, or quit them.
Marcos put it perfectly in his/her second to last sentence. MUNI, the entity that belongs to us all, is what really needs to be brought up to par and not ignored. Accountability mixed with transparency is paramount and needed. Period.
I live in another part of the Mission. My hunch is that the MTA is looking at meters as a revenue source rather than trying to solve a most likely non-existent parking problem (other than the inherent problems facing a densely populated urban neighborhood.)
Have the residents and small business owners in the area been agitating for changes to the existing parking system?
Since the MTA is already sending staff (or overpriced consultants) block by block to survey the use of street parking, they should also canvass the neighborhood house by house, business by business, to determine as accurately as possible what the residents need and want.
Once again, the MTA efforts are more about revenue generation than serving the needs of the community.
The City is changing the direction of the Mission by upzoning for luxury condos with less parking around transit and freeway ramps under the unsubstantiated theory that new residents will take transit instead of drive.
It is debatable as to whether transit oriented development can work with transit actively suffering disinvestment and sited so close to freeway ramps. We do know that Royal Motors is building a 50′ Audi retail palace at 14th and South Van Ness because of skyrocketing demand. Folks don’t come into SF from elsewhere to buy cars, demand is local which means more cars on the streets.
North Mission residents were not at the table for this change in zoning because Chris Daly was conflicted out when the rezoning boundaries were drawn to just within 150′ of his condo. I wonder why that happened. Thus, we are left to contest these policies on a project by project basis.
If the City wishes to move forward with this developer give away, then it needs to ensure that those of us who moved here under a certain set of economic and transportation assumptions are not made to pay the costs of this experiment.
Residents and businesses are often dismissed as “emotional” for objecting to parking policies that would shift the costs for these experiments onto us. We are also dismissed as NIMBYS for daring to question the wisdom of city staff and lobbyists by participating in the formulation of policy for our communities. City staff rarely gets it right, especially the first time and it is like pulling teeth to get staff to abandon their cherished ideas when they are wrong.
These marginalizing devices are used discredit popular participation and to cover the fact that the City and region are not providing rapid reliable transit and don’t appear to be dedicating new revenues to increasing funding for transit. Every time that the MTA gets new resources, they appear to vanish into corrupt thin air.
The $26m from Prop A 2007 went to the SFPD and other agencies. The $45m savings from labor reform Prop G were deemed “unbudgetable.” This money is going somewhere and that is not into providing rapid and reliable public transit.
Neighbors are warm to the notion of a Residential Parking Permit overlay with meters. Those RPP should be made available to all existing addresses, residential and commercial, in this post-quake neighborhood just like any other established residential neighborhood.
And the meter and RPP revenues paid in our neighborhood should be directed towards beefing up the transit lines that traverse our neighborhood: crosstown lines 22,33, radial trunk lines 14 and 49.
But as it stands, neighbors are being squeezed from all sides, more luxury condo development destroying our established neighborhood character, city mandated increases to the costs of living and doing business, deteriorating transit service and the raft of social problems that the SFPD contains here.
It is neither emotional nor NIMBY for residents of a unique community to resist the systematic devaluation of human and social capital in public sector decision making that impact our environment.
I bike everywhere and we do car share every three weeks for Big Shopping and our home has a garage. I’ve got no direct dog in this fight. What gets me is the sleaziness with which the MTA have been moving this project and the profound, structural corruption that is starving the Muni.
I am also particularly offended when I see progressives calling for market-based solutions in a mixed wealth neighborhood in an effort to enclose on even more of the commons.
“Free” parking is an abuse of the commons.
Right, curbside space should not be just used by cars. Curbside space should be opened up without charge to all temporary uses on a first come, first served basis. It should not be auctioned off to only those who can pay or for just the use of autos.
Do you have any concept of the meaning of “the commons”?
Wikipedia definition: “Commons refers to the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth…”
In the City, The streets are the commons. The sidewalks are the commons. The parks are the commons. The coast is the commons. Transit is the commons.
Any space not claimed as private property to which everyone has equivalent access and over which nobody can take more than their share is the commons.
A parklet and a parked car and a bike corral occupy the an equivalent space and that space is the commons. What we’re seeing here is the neoliberal toll booth economy in action, and true to form, alleged “liberals” are the ones promoting market solutions to public problems.
Generally people for whom money is no problem are the ones who suggest that a price tag be put on everything.
All the while, the Muni is an unreliable and slow cash sieve and nobody’s doing much about it except for cheerleading the self same staff that got us into this mess in the first place as they try to force us to accept whatever current fashion trend they’re fixated on this week..
So, yeah, parking spaces are the commons.
The question actually becomes which is a better use of said space: a parklet, a bike corral, or a parking spot. One is accessable at all times, one serves multiple people without hindering other people from using it, and one serves 1-4 people (one vehicle) only for extended (no meter) periods of time.
It’s not about “neoliberal toll booth” economics.
Also, it is just Muni, not “the Muni”.
The decision as to what is a “better” use of space is a political decision, not a technical decision. Curbside space should not be restricted to parking autos but parking autos should be one allowed use of that space. The reason why these matters are not allowed on the ballot per Prop E is because it is known that the public is opposed to raising barriers to auto use while transit reliability and speed are dropping and Prop E is also the barrier between the public’s desire to fund transit and the corruption that is siphoning resources out of the Muni.
The commons in feudal Europe offered many things to different people. Not all of serfs availed themselves of everything that the commons had to offer. Some gathered wood, some gathered food, some engaged in minor sedentary agriculture yet the rules of the commons were that everyone got to do their thing so long as they respected the right of others to do same sustainably.
My car has not run for a decade now, it is taking up space in our garage, so I have no claim on curbside parking except when we do a CarShare or rent. But that does not mean that I would deny others the right to use the commons for their purposes as of right simply because I don’t think that their use meets my criteria of acceptability. The use of parking spaces without charge should be extended to all sorts of non-parking uses.
Enclosing on the commons, that which we all pay for in property, sales and business taxes is an enclosure of the public realm by toll booths, whether it happens in a park, as a restaurant occupies public sidewalk space with private tables or when the City erects barriers to use via meters for parking. Relying on market devices to allocate scarce resources is a conservative economic position.
I mean, why not adopt the same posture to meter cyclists for using the bike corrals or other curbside lockups? 450 Sutter actually charges cyclists $0.50 to lock up in their garage. I guess it is different when the ox of the zealot is gored.
THE Municipal Railway is THE Muni just like THE US-101 is THE 101.
Jeez, dude. The singularly obsessed diatribes are getting a little old.
Do you do any shopping/dining on Harrison near 15th? No meters. No parking available. That’s really all this is about–putting a price on street space where turnover is appropriate. Just try to relax, breathe, and read rather than post incessantly.
This is not about putting a price on street space where turnover is appropriate. That is SF Park demand pricing. The MTA was proposing that but wanted to evade environmental review on how increased parking thrash might actually increase VMT and delay transit.
So the MTA downgraded their plan to vanilla meters. I bike by 15th and Harrison all of the time. What dining are you talking about, Chez Spencer on 14th, the cafe at UCSF or LIMN?
Residents are warm to paying for on-street parking with RPP as all other established residential neighborhoods are. People don’t like being lied to by city bureaucrats who want to take more of their money without any guarantee of augmented transit service.
Y’all need to chill out and quit jousting at strawpersons where people want a free ride. I understand your emotional response, but it is getting tired.