I’m one of the lucky ones to have the city’s public transportation network be super convenient for my purposes. The bus-stop for the bus I take to work is only a block’s walk from my house, and the second-leg light-rail train gets me literally right to the door – the stop’s name is the university. The decision to cease commuting by car almost a year ago has been hugely beneficial to my overall mental health. I take serene pleasure in getting lost in podcasts on the train, only paying scant outward attention to ensure I don’t miss my stop.
I also enjoy the walk to the bus-stop, short it may be. It’s a good opportunity to get some sun, which is crucial because the university is at the western end of San Francisco - notorious for its lack of sunshine. Plus, our office is in the basement level with zero windows; the brief stroll to the bus-stop might be the only chance I have to get some needed vitamin D.
A thing I’ve noticed lately on those strolls is the sheer numbers of cars parked on the street – in the middle of a workday. Mind you I live in a decidedly residential area, so very few people would commute to my neighborhood for work. Therefore, it’s safe to assume the massive number of cars that remains stationary on the streets belong to residents.
In a city that’s infamous for its parking difficulties, I have to say it seems the problems are self-inflicted. It’s clear to me now that each household simply owns too many cars, so much so that during a workday, the residential streets are still full of them. All these vehicles are just sat there taking up space; it’s no wonder there’s such an immense parking space battle after the 5pm for the people returning home from work via car.
You may point out that perhaps those parked cars represent people that take the bus like I do, so that’s actually a good thing from the perspective of the environment or whatnot. To that I’d say, yes, good on them for taking public transportation – if that is the case, but it doesn’t change the fact they’ve left cars behind on the streets doing absolutely nothing. Indeed, I too have a weekend only car, but the 911 is parked in an actual lot, merely taking up space I paid for.
San Franciscans are wont to complain about the utter lack of parking, and how finding a spot requires prolonged games of musical chair, and every bit of luck. Well, it would seem a big part of it is our own fault. I wouldn’t go as far to say people should buy fewer cars; just that they should use a mirror next time they gripe about trouble finding a spot.