SF Voters Reject Measure to Enshrine Free Parking and Stop Livable Streets

In case you need a little pick-me-up this morning, here’s some good news out of San Francisco. Voters resoundingly rejected Proposition L, a local ballot measure designed to halt the city’s progress on improving streets for walking, biking, and transit. As of the most recent available count, with nearly all precincts reporting, 62 percent of San Francisco voters had said “No” to Prop L.

The Prop L contingent, backed by internet billionaire Sean Parker and the local Republican Party, framed their measure as a way to “restore balance” to San Francisco streets by enshrining free parking and elevating traffic flow as a decisive factor in street design. This in a city that has only taken modest steps to reclaim street space for transit, biking, and walking, and where the mayor recently reneged on a shortlived policy to charge for metered parking on Sundays.

While Prop L was a non-binding policy statement, it could have put a serious chill on livable streets policies in the city. The campaign strategy was to turn car-based populism into votes — handing out flyers in parking lots was the most visible tactic.

As the closest thing to an up-or-down vote on transit-priority lanes, bikeways, and pedestrian improvements ever put before the electorate, the Prop L results are going to make an impression on local officials who decide the fate of those projects. Instead of rejecting the nascent reforms happening on the streets of the city, voters sent a signal that they want more.

For more on the Prop L vote and its implications, check Aaron Bialick’s reporting at Streetsblog SF later today.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Get Ready for Streetsblog San Francisco

|
How come so many posts on San Francisco lately? Let’s make it official: The Open Planning Project will be launching Streetsblog San Francisco in January 2009. After interviewing many highly qualified candidates during last month’s RailVolution conference, we’ve hired Bryan Goebel as the site’s editor and Matthew Roth as full-time reporter. Bryan is a veteran […]

Budnick v. Anderson on “Talk of the Nation” This Afternoon

|
Transportation Alternatives’ Noah Budnick will be on NPR’s "Talk of the Nation" this afternoon at 3 p.m. EST. He’ll be debating Rob Anderson, the one-man wrecking crew who filed the 2006 environmental impact law suit that stopped San Francisco from building out its citywide bicycle network. I don’t think "Talk of the Nation" is available […]

T.A. Urges Bloomberg Admin to Take the Lead in Parking Reform

|
A map of the area near Washington, D.C.’s new ballpark. Streets with variable-rate or permit parking are in color. After calling attention last month to the traffic-reducing power of parking reform, Transportation Alternatives has released a follow-up report with a parking prescription for New York. "Pricing the Curb" [PDF] looks to innovative programs underway in […]

DC Defends Livable Streets Improvements as WaPo Declares “War”

|
In an effort to improve safety and mobility for pedestrians and cyclists, Washington, DC has embarked on a number of livable streets reforms (market rate street parking), and is considering others (reclaiming auto-occupied street space for people). Though a recent article in the Washington Post casts these initiatives as a "war" against car commuters, it’s […]