|Most car lanes have been replaced by bike lanes on Oak and Fell Street. Cars still have access in a single car lane shown above. Photo by Jon Winston.|
"All of those wasted spaces-parking garages and freeway exits-are now serving a real purpose as much-needed housing," says Moe Billy Tey, of the Mayor's Department of Livability (DOL), referring to the hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units built on space previously dedicated solely to the storage of idling cars.
"We realized we could fit at least 10 bicycles in a single car space," says Sonny Fairweather, of the Department of People and Transportation (DPT). "We would have been crazy to keep wasting public space on those oversized gas-guzzlers."
Nowhere is the effect of the city's about-face more apparent than in the sudden reappearance of thousands of children on the streets.
"My 12-year-old daughter rides her bike to school, to soccer practice, everywhere," says Emma Goodmom of the South of Market area, where massive one-way streets formerly dedicated to the speedy movement of cars are now used by 50 times as many people on bikes, buses and foot. "Now that we've reclaimed the streets for people instead of cars, I feel safe letting her explore."
The vast majority of the city's residents have sold their cars and now belong to City Car Share, renting vehicles only a few times a year when they really need them.
Trips to other cities in the Bay Area are simple thanks to an interconnected, effective bus system and the newly redesigned Bay Bridge. Tired of petty arguments about the design of the bridge, the President of the United States stepped in last year with an Executive Order to ban cars from the Bridge and instead dedicate the space to bicycle, pedestrians and rail service.
"We move 20 times more people more efficiently now," she told the SF Comical from the White House. "And thank heavens you folks in the Bay Area don't have to listen to those annoying traffic reports every single morning and afternoon. Rush hour, my as*."
(OK, we're just April foolin' but isn't it a nice vision to work towards?)