Aparkalypse Now in San Francisco


Taking a graphic, novel approach, SF Weekly reports on a ballot initiative that it says would reverse San Francisco’s progress in prioritizing people over parking.

"Aparkalypse Now" says the initiative, backed by Gap clothing store founder Don Fisher and condo developer Webcor, is being promoted as a way to save downtown San Francisco from gridlock by raising the number of parking spaces allowed for residential development. Without the additional parking spaces, supporters claim, industry will eventually flee for more car-friendly locales, leaving San Francisco a "no parking ghost town."

However, says the Weekly’s Matt Smith:

Fisher’s so-called "Parking for Neighborhoods Initiative" wouldn’t do
very much to make it easier to park in the city. But if successful, it
would go a long way toward making it harder to get around by car, bus,
on foot, or by bike. It would eliminate new affordable housing all over
the city. And it would contribute significantly to congestion, to urban
ugliness, and to smog.

Here’s more from the Bay-Guardian:

Under the proposal, new housing projects throughout the city would be
required to provide a minimum number of parking spaces per unit,
whereas the 2005 law turned parking minimums into maximums. Studies
have shown that the city’s existing policies will lower housing costs
and encourage transit use, but developers oppose the law because they
say homes with parking spots are what buyers want and are willing to
pay extra for.

Image: Matt Smith/SF Weekly 

  • Zach

    Yo, guys, are you going to cover all the deals that are supposedly going on *right this minute* between Spitzer/Silver/Bloomberg? Because although for some reason Streetsblog lost interest early, they seem to be hammering something out nonetheless…


  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    I have to disagree, Zach. I find the minute-by-minute stuff to be a waste of time, kind of like up-to-the-minute stock reports.

    About the graphic novel approach, I think it’s an interesting idea and I admire Smith’s obvious skill, but the execution is pretty lacking. What it needed was a clear narrative and some relatively simple, schematic figures. Instead, it yaws wildly between sarcastically
    presenting the pro-parking side and straightforwardly presenting the anti side. The pictures have too much distracting detail. I’d like to see something like this for the congestion pricing debate, but more pointed.

  • Zach,

    As a general rule, when the entire media pack is on a story, we may bow out and work on something else that isn’t being covered as heavily (like, say, a Community Board meeting on the Upper East Side).



Transforming Pavement to Parks in San Francisco

In San Francisco, the Pavement to Parks program has launched an initiative that may someday alter the way U.S. cities treat their commercial strips. Taking the PARK(ing) Day concept a step further, the Parklets Program is experimenting with allowing businesses to convert parking spaces into public spaces and cafes. The first was installed in March […]

Shoup to O’Toole: The Market for Parking Is Anything But Free

We’re reprinting this reply [PDF] from UCLA professor Donald Shoup, author of the High Cost of Free Parking, to Randal O’Toole, the libertarian Cato Institute senior fellow who refuses to acknowledge the role of massive government intervention in the market for parking, and the effect this has had on America’s car dependence. It’s an excellent […]

There’s a (Parking) Place for Us

This post is #14 in the Sightline series, Parking? Lots! Alan Durning is the executive director of Sightline. There are places in this world the savvy traveler would never drive with any hope of finding street parking: Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, for example, or just about anywhere in downtown Los Angeles. That’s what you […]

SFPark, Putting Shoup’s Ideas to the Test, Launches to Much Political Support

San Francisco launched the world’s most ambitious and innovative parking project yesterday, a federally-funded trial that could revolutionize the way cities manage the public supply of parking. SFPark promises to make it easier for motorists to find spaces in busy commercial districts, while reducing congestion, speeding transit, increasing safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, and improving […]