What Price Street Parking in San Francisco?

Recently, San Francisco started a trial project in several neighborhoods that aims to adjust hourly parking rates based on demand. A recent report for the Board of Supervisors found that we already have some of the most expensive parking and fines in the nation, so exactly how much higher rates will go remains to be seen.

This article, via the infrastructurist, is an interesting take on the theory and academia behind SF’s little project with demand-based pricing.

When it comes to parking, many drivers embrace the George Costanza system: Look for the dream spot, then “slowly expand out in concentric circles.” Georgie Boy’s philosophy may be a great metaphor for life, as Harvard’s president recently claimed. But it’s also crippling our city streets, argues UCLA professor Donald Shoup—author of the 2005 book The High Cost of Free Parking and the man the Los Angeles Times recently called the “prophet of parking.”

Shoup’s basic argument is that parking in cities is too cheap, in large part because many municipalities require businesses to provide a certain amount of spaces. The lure of cheap street-parking draws people into their cars rather than onto public transit, bicycles, or their feet. As a result, the demand for parking spaces greatly exceeds supply, and drivers crawl around in search of a spot, increasing urban congestion.

Read entire article “Should we Raise the Price of Street Parking?

Changes to MUNI Fast Pass Coming Soon

Clipper Card, the new card in town, is quickly making obsolete older forms of muni payment. Starting in November, anyone wanting  a “Type A” fast pass will need to replace their old paper card with a clipper card. I got my clipper card a few months ago and I have to say that as an occasional muni rider, I’ve found it very handy to keep stashed in my wallet. No longer do I need to worry about whether or not I have exact change, and it also means I don’t have to board from the front door of the train when the line is 6 people deep.

And while it might be entirely more practical, it probably signals the end of muni fast pass art:

John Kuzich's Fast Pass art at the DeYoung through Sunday, August 30
photo via flickr by Steve Rhodes

From SFMTA, here are the various types of passes available:

  • Adult “A” Fast Pass®, $70. Also valid for BART trips entirely within San Francisco only during the month shown on the pass. Valid for customers ages 18-64.
  • Adult “M” Fast Pass®, $60. Muni-only pass, valid for customers ages 18-64.
  • Senior Pass, $20. Muni-only pass, valid for passengers age 65+; ID required.
  • Youth Pass, $20. Muni-only pass, valid for passengers ages 5-17; ID required.
  • Disabled Pass, $20. Muni-only pass.
  • Note: There is a Senior/Disabled Pilot Pass Program to test a pass that would also be valid on BART within San Francisco. This Pass is not currently available on the RTC Discount Photo ID Card. Please continue to use the paper “P” pass. ID required.

Suburban Sprawl: Satan’s Plan?

Via the infrastructurist, a great collection of articles about suburban sprawl. Even more great reasons to live in a city like San Francisco, even though we have our own set of issues.

Photo via flickr by Mark Strozier

Jeff Speck and Andres Duany, the authors of Suburban Nation, argue that sprawl is a root cause of many problems that America faces, from health to environmental issues. (WashPost)

• Speck also has a blog post and slideshow on the 10 worst things about suburban sprawl. (HuffPost)

• While electric cars are becoming more popular, the number of charging stations needs to be increased so drivers don’t experience “range anxiety.” (NPR)

• An article examines the newly-opened bypass bridge over the Hoover Dam. (Parade)

• A column tries to explain why the cost estimates for some infrastructure projects are so often exceeded. (WSJ)

• Infrastructurist editor Eric Jaffe has a good article/graphic about how Boston’s Post Road helped connect Boston to New York City and shaped New England’s history. (Boston Globe)

• One op-ed writer argues in a column that Gov. Chris Christie was right to stop the ARC tunnel and that the money should be going for New Jersey’s roads. (WSJ)

So gentle readers, take a moment to peruse all these great points of view and do let us know what you think in the comments.

San Francisco Real Estate Times Death Watch

When I first started in real estate in San Francisco, the Real Estate Times was the go-to magazine for real estate. If you were anyone, and at the time I wasn’t, you were in the Real Estate Times, and your listings were in the Real Estate Times, and if you were really someone, your colleagues would find a way to mention you in the Real Estate Times.

Every market has (or had) a version of the Real Estate Times. Ours is full color, high gloss on every (paid) page of information (advertisement). I’ve seen others across the country that are black and white, some printed on newspaper stock, others printed on their brother’s uncle’s ink-jet printer…

It used to be that the Real Estate Times was reliably hundreds of pages, and listing dates and schedules were determined by its print deadline. I picked up the most recent (October 14 – 27, 2010) copy of the San Francisco Real Estate Times, and it is down to 60 pages (including front and back cover, which are paid advertisements).

Below is photographic evidence of the “internet marketing diet” that the Real Estate Times has been on. Anyone want to venture a guess on when they cease publication?

Awesome MUNI repair time-lapse video

Via gawker, watch this awesome time lapse video of recent Muni track replacement in Noe Valley at 30th and Church Streets. The video was made by local Noe Valley resident Ken Murphy, who used a modified canon A590 to take a picture approximately every 15 seconds.

Church and 30th St. San Francisco MUNI Construction from Ken Murphy on Vimeo.

Or, how to spend $3 million in just over 12 minutes (actually, about 3 1/2 days).

This is a time-lapse video showing the replacement of the MUNI tracks in front of my house. Demolition began on the evening of Friday, October 8, and work continued around the clock until early in the morning of Tuesday, October 12. The MUNI folks were nice enough to distribute earplugs to those of us in the immediate vicinity.

This was shot using a Canon A590, with CHDK installed (a firmware replacement for Canon cameras that enables all sorts of additional features). An image was captured approximately every 15 seconds.