Letters to the Editor:
Why An Auto-Free SF Won't Work

Dear Editor, Patricia Biggs' letter in the February Tube Times spoke eloquently for a car-free Golden Gate Park and eventually a car-free San Francisco as well.

I'm just as appreciative of nature as the next person, and I'm also frustrated by the proliferation of larger and larger cars here with no concomitant population increase, but I'm not ready to ditch motor vehicles completely, and I hope our organization will not push this point as policy either.

Patricia, just imagine schlepping your sofa, queen-sized mattress or refrigerator by bicycle in your next move - or in the rain, perhaps. And what about all the food, medicine, clothing, and other merchandise delivered from outside San Francisco to merchants around town? Can you really imagine this all being done by bike - even with the help of a bicycle trailer? And how should handicapped and aged people who cannot walk, bike, or ride horses get around? Without taxis or motorized public transportation, their current options and opportunities for mobility will be severely limited.

I hope Patricia's letter did not intend such a scenario. I also dream of a transportation system quite different from San Francisco's currently nightmarish one, but I hope any changes will carefully plan for the needs of the TOTAL population. Pushing fifty myself and with no plans of moving from here, I hope that a carefully-planned transportation network will emerge here, with a working, efficient, expanded Muni, street and parking priorities for taxis, commercial vehicles, public transportation, and bicycles (think a private car-free Market Street!), and pedestrian zones and car-free green spaces in appropriate areas.

I am all for reducing use of cars to the minimum level, but when I need quiet, I'll ride over to the Headlands or up to Mount Tamalpais.

We live in an URBAN area, and we need to reflect deeply on how a car-free San Francisco would affect its merchants, hospitals, handicapped, and elderly among others before we start embracing such ideas.

I welcome the SFBC's challenges of city policies that champion the car over environmentally-friendly alternatives, and I'm truly excited by the great strides we are making to make bicycling safer and a more viable option on San Francisco's streets.

Jana Zanetto
San Francisco

The Tube Times welcomes your Letters to the Editor. Mail letters to The Tube Times, SFBC, 1095 Market Street, Suite 215, San Francisicso, CA 94103, or email them to shahum@sfbike.org. We reserve the right to edit for space. And if you are leery of preaching to the converted, remember we distribute newsletters to more than 2,000 nonmembers each month.