San Francisco Parking Battle Shows Limits Of Smart Planning

Neighbors are in uproar over a 71-unit affordable housing project planned on a bus-turnaround in a residential area of San Francisco because it provides only 7 parking spaces. Is smart growth planning getting ahead of itself by becoming top-down?
August 4, 2010, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Almost 500 residents signed a petition opposing this project (proposed to be built on land owned by the transit district) primarily because its felt that the lack of parking would exacerbate the existing parking shortage in the neighborhood. While the 'transit-first' policy, devised in 1973, is cited as the reason for the limited parking as well the project being 100% affordable, other neighborhood planning areas allow for ratios of one parking stall for two units.

"Parking is the battleground in the transit-first world of San Francisco development. Planners and environmental activists argue that limits on parking are the only way to keep congestion from strangling city streets, while developers and many residents complain that the tough new rules reflect a hazy vision of some car-free urban utopia and not the reality of life in a major American city."

"Without limiting parking, people will choose an auto-oriented lifestyle and continue to drive," says a "Parking and Better Neighborhoods" report on the city Planning Department's website. "Traffic will continue to worsen."

Apparently, the neighbors think otherwise....

Thanks to John Holtzclaw

Full Story:
Published on Monday, August 2, 2010 in San Francisco Chronicle
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