Friday, October 16, 2009

A Paper Whose Time Expired

So The Chronicle Comical has decided to campaign against rational pricing for parking meters in SF. In doing so they reveal themselves as tireless advocates for those few privileged enough to drive in San Francisco.

Where was their outrage when Muni fares went up in May? A bus ride now costs twice what it did when our spokesmayor took office and, come January, so too will your Fast Pass if you want to use it on BART. Newsom voicebox Nathan Ballard, who apparently has the ear of the Chron's Editorial Board, reacted to the MTA study thusly:
In this economy, we can't ask people to pay more for parking. Our small businesses don't need one more reason for people to stay away.
Read the report, Mr. Ballard! Businesses don't get their customers from on-street parking. Across SF, only 14% of customers at local businesses drove to get there, and they spend less per capita per month than any other group of shoppers. These are people you want beating a path to your door, I suppose, as long as you're not interested in making money.


Ballard, Newsom, and the Comical's concern for the plight of the private motorist is especially insulting given their apparent disregard for Muni riders. All of us who take the B.M.W. (BART, Muni, walk) have been 'asked' to shoulder the overwhelming majority of the burden of the MTA's budget deficit. Not once was a crocodile tear shed by the mayor or our daily paper over the increased costs we've been made to pay.

That, you should note, is how these people treat the engine of our local economy - the 86% of shoppers who spend anywhere from $50 to $150 more per month per person on restaurants, boutiques, hardware stores, dry cleaners, movie theaters and everything else.

The SFMTA, to its credit, did it's homework on this one. There are no chinks in its argument as there were in the recently reversed parking policy in Oakland, and comparisons to that chain of events are superficial. Opponents of the plan must come to realize that they are wrong, and all the evidence is on our side.

So, too, must the SFMTA Board of Directors. They will be meeting at 2pm on Tuesday, the 20th, in Room 400 of City Hall. Be there if you can to voice your support for rational meter pricing in person. Send them email feedback at, and encourage your friends to do the same. And write The Comical and let them know they're wrong and should be ashamed of how they pander to the privileged minority of San Franciscans who own and drive cars. You can send them your thoughts at

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