Worst Ideas of the New Millenium by Leah Shahum

This drawing from the 1960's illustrates the "supercorridor" concept of funneling traffic underground. But where do the cars go? Graphic courtesy of Gray Brechin.
It is only half way into the first year of the new millennium, but it seems like a decade's worth of wacky transportation ideas have been proposed in San Francisco already:

#1 The Truth About Parking
Pleas by some political players to add 10,000 new parking spaces in South of Market, Potrero, Hunter's Point and the Eastern waterfront lead the pack of misguided ideas.

This huge increase in parking would encourage more driving, further aggravating congestion and unsafe street conditions and stalling transit and bike improvements. The SFBC and others are calling, instead, for a balanced approach: vastly improved Muni service, a complete bike network, safer pedestrian conditions, and more housing built within walking distance of jobs.

According to a report recently released by the parking-or-perish crowd: "It is the overwhelming wave of new public and private developments that creates the need to accommodate motor vehicles."

We ask why worry about accommodating motor vehicles, none of which hold jobs or live in San Francisco, or shop or dine here. It is people, not cars, that live in and visit San Francisco, that strengthen our economy, that create the culture and one-of-a-kind spirit of this city. Fortunately, most people realize that parking won't solve congestion problems. A poll taken by the SF Chronicle in October showed that 46% of SF residents want the city to encourage mass transit by not building parking garages, while only 39% see more parking as a necessity.

#2 Un-Supercorridor Idea
With congestion on SF's streets expected to increase by 200% in the next 20 years, city transportation planners are studying a recycled, often-rejected freeway concept that is certain to wither on the vine. This time, instead of trying to hoist traffic into the air, the idea is to bury it underground by building "supercorridors."

Unveiled in the Transportation Authority's draft 20-year transportation plan, the concept is being touted as a way to "reclaim our streets" by undergrounding regional traffic and making more room on the surface for local traffic, transit-only lanes, bikes and pedestrians.

Besides being wildly expensive and disruptive, the result, no matter how you look at it, would be to increase the capacity for cars. All that traffic has to return to the surface somewhere, and we all know what San Franciscans think of generating more traffic...

#3 Southern Crossing Won't Float
Just as most people seem to be grasping the concept of "if you build it, they will come," up rears the ugly head of an old idea: a new Bay Bridge. The Southern Crossing bridge connecting southern Alameda County with SF and San Mateo Counties, an idea which has been around for more than 50 years and nixed numerous times, would not relieve those counties' congestion problems but simply multiply them by whatever new vehicle space is added across the Bay.

The good news is that these ideas are recognized as being so outlandish that they stand little chance of going anywhere.