Rethinking the SOMA "Parking Crisis": Balanced Transportation as the Solution by Leah Shahum

While the daily newspapers publicize frenzied cries for more parking in the South of Market area, the SFBC is busy trying to put this "crisis" in better perspective. Some city decisionmakers appear ready to hush the clamor by building more parking garages without considering the mess we'll be left with tomorrow. Every new parking space generates new car trips (read: more congestion). There is reason for hope if we encourage city leaders to take a thoughtful approach that encourages more walking, biking, and transit trips.

The SFBC is working with a coalition of transportation advocates, housing activists, and developers on a set of serious, proven solutions that can get things moving again in San Francisco. We will focus on how a truly balanced transportation system will move more people more efficiently and conveniently. Our approach would increase the carrying capacity of our streets by offering more ways to get around and by prioritizing housing people and businesses over "housing" more cars. Specific proposals include ways to increase Muni ridership by one-third (where ridership levels stood just a decade ago); double the number of bike commuters; increase access to taxicabs and vanpools; and encourage more walking by building housing closer to jobs and transit access.

If you can help with this effort, please call. We are also looking for bicyclists who work or live in SOMA to form a working group dedicated to improving bike access in the area. Call Leah at 431-BIKE, x-2.