Saturday, January 6, 2007

Ain't no place to roam, no place to park: In San Francisco, parking has long been a nightmare, a disaster told in legend. But it gets worse each year, as more people move in and wish to have somewhere to put their vehicles, that curiously Californian obsession. The Times reports on the epidemic:

Burdened with one of the densest downtowns in the country and a Californian love for moving vehicles, San Franciscans have been shocked in recent months by crimes related to finding places to park, including an attack in September in which a young man was killed trying to defend a spot he had found. [...]

People in the field say abuse is common, often frightening and, occasionally, humiliating. In November, an officer was spat on, another was punched through the window of his Geo Metro, and an irate illegal parker smashed the windshield of another officer’s golf-cart-like vehicle.

“Just driving down the street, you get yelled at,” said Lawanna Preston, staff director for Local 790 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents parking control officers.


“Any city that is worth visiting is going to have a terrible parking problem,” said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, a public policy center. “If you don’t want it to be Disneyland or Houston, you’re going to be experiencing a parking shortage.”

Mr. Metcalf added, however, that the density of San Francisco, with an estimated 740,000 residents in 49 square miles, also put in a different category from New York, which is also known for its parking nightmares.


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