Guest Editorial: Driverless Cars Could Wreck Livable Cities

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Over the past year driverless cars have been promoted as a panacea for livable cities. The storyline is that driverless cars will help reduce car ownership, free-up urban space for walking and biking, and help reduce death and injury. The USDOT has joined the parade with its “smart city challenge,” awarding Columbus, Ohio a $40 million prize to implement a demonstration project that includes incorporating driverless cars.

San Francisco was among the finalists for this award, but it might be a good thing that the city fell short. San Francisco’s political establishment – the mayor, Board of Supervisors, and its proxies at the SFMTA and Planning Department – frequently talk up their sustainable transportation ambitions, but by-in-large, when it comes to decisions about San Francisco streets, they pander to motorists. With driverless cars and other “connected” vehicles, the pandering may intensify. We’ll see more, not fewer cars.

Here’s why… (more)

 

SF leaders search for ways to blend car-reliant worshippers with transit-first policies

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

In a city where promoting alternatives to California’s car culture is the unofficial religion, Sunday can be a day of conflict.

The Rev. Malcolm Byrd’s Sunday morning ritual includes collecting the angry notes left on his and other double-parked cars on Golden Gate Avenue. They’re left by bicyclists upset that automobiles are blocking their lane during services at Byrd’s First AME Zion Church.

Such righteous anger, while perhaps well-intentioned, is received by “your classic old church lady,” Byrd said. And that lady is part of a citywide congregation that is overwhelmingly old and car-reliant, with no other viable way to get to services.

This dependence on automobiles is challenging religious leaders and transit officials in San Francisco to find a compromise that can reduce congestion and promote transit while still allowing aging worshipers to access their faith communities… (more)

This feels like a familiar tune. Putting in a cycle track next to a church and demanding the cars move is like building housing next to a night club and demonizing the club. The anti-car movement is making for some strange allies who didn’t realize how much we have in common. Live and let live has been the San Francisco way of life. That is what is at stake.
There is a growing divisiveness feeding intolerant and racists comments that is disturbing, and it appears to be coming from elsewhere. The churches were here first. Cyclists are able-bodied individuals perfectly capable of biking on other streets. Perhaps it is time to codify parking privileges around churches and funeral homes, and certain other traditional situations. There is no reason to upset San Francisco traditions to satisfy new non-tolerant attitudes.