As San Francisco has implemented its 40-year-old Transit First policy more assertively in recent years, some car-loving residents have grumbled, fumed and quietly plotted revenge.
Their targets are the politicians and bureaucrats who have visited upon the city such evils as bike lanes, transit-only lanes, variable parking meter rates, higher parking charges and enforcing meters on Sundays (recently revoked).
Now, they’re prepared to unleash their fury. An unnamed coalition of San Franciscans, including a Republican candidate for Assembly, submitted papers and started collecting signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would establish a nonbinding declaration of policy “restoring transportation balance in San Francisco.”
“We realize that motorists contribute a disproportionate share of the funding to the SFMTA while receiving next to nothing in return,” the coalition said in a statement.
The group acknowledges the Transit First policy, which passed in 1973, but says that 79 percent of city households own cars and nearly 50 percent rely on cars to get to and from work.
“The Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors only public transportation and bicycles to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation,” the coalition says in a statement. “Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety and freedom of movement.”
The group’s policy calls for:
- Prohibiting parking meters on Sundays, holidays and outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Freezing for five years fees for parking meters, garages and residential parking permits, and limiting increases thereafter to inflation adjustments.
- Banning new parking meters or variable meter pricing in neighborhoods unless a majority of residents sign a petition in support.
- Earmarking a portion of new parking revenue, fees charges motorists and bond monies for construction and operation of neighborhood parking garages.
- Requiring that any “re-engineering of traffic flow in the city should aim to achieve safer, smoother-flowing streets.”
- Enforcing traffic laws “equally for everyone using San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks.”
- Requiring motorists to be appointed to the Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, and create a Motorists’ Citizens Advisory Committee.
- Having the Board of Supervisors “make every reasonable effort” to adhere to the policy.
Coalition representatives say they need to gather 9,702 signatures by July 7 to qualify their measure for the ballot. Look for them at a parking garage near you… (more)