San Francisco to Reform Parking Policy - In Favor of the Car?

Image credit: SF Citizen
San Francisco's new parking plan may bring little change
Just a few days ago Mike posted on the counterintuitive nature of traffic - arguing, with the help of StreetFilms and the Open Planning Project, that the less space you give for cars, the less cars there will be. San Francisco is a great example of how the opposite is also true. While some innovative new projects aim to reclaim road space for people, the car still remains king. A new report details how a half century of publicly subsidized parking has lead to increased dependence on the motor car with disastrous consequences. Sadly, while the report recommends some much needed minor reforms, the ultimate goal still seems to be appeasing the motorcar. Couldn't we aim for something better?
The story comes to us via SF Weekly and tipster Andy Wright, detailing how San Francisco parking policy has subsidized car use - giving away public land for free on-street parking, and also building parking garages where spaces were offered at below-market rates. The result, unsurprisingly enough, has been an increased dependency on car use, and a disincentive to use alternatives like biking, walking or public transportation.

The parking report from the San Francisco County Transit Authority does recommend some small steps to start repealing this policy - charging more for parking in certain areas, and at certain times - but it certainly doesn't sound like a revolution in the making. In fact, the stated aim of the project, according to SF Weekly, is to "make more parking spaces available to shoppers, workers, tourists and anyone else who needs them."

Sigh. You'd have thought that a city that makes composting mandatory could also make some bolder moves to end reliance on the internal combustion engine and the private motor vehicle. Let's hope that the future of the city lies more in intersections turned into public parks, and less public parks turned into parking lots. Any San Franciscans care to enlighten us on which is more likely?

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