Blog

Short blog posts, journal entries, and random thoughts. Topics include a mix of personal and the world at large. 

I've found SF's parking problem

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.

Hammer time.

That could've been easily avoided

Last week my neighbor's brand new car had the misfortune of a hit-and-run. While it was parked on street in front of the house, another car bashed into its rear quarter-panel on the driver side, leaving a sizable dent on it and the lower bumper. It isn't pretty, and sadly yet another casualty of street parking in San Francisco.  

A major part of why I sold the ND Miata was the peace of mind from not having to deal with this kind of bullshit anymore. It ups my anxiety anytime I had to leave the car on the street due to fear of another driver bumping into it during parallel parking maneuvers. Or more commonly use my bumpers as feeler guides to know when to stop - we all know and have the battle scars. The Bumper Bully was invented because of cities like San Francisco. 

So part of me sympathizes with my neighbor, yet another part is full of disapproval. That's because my neighbor's house has a fully functioning garage, yet for whatever reason his family never park cars in it. Wouldn't it be smart to store the new car in there knowing full well the hazards of parking outside? Had his RAV-4 been in the garage my neighbor wouldn't be staring at an expensive claim on his insurance right now. 

Why don't people use their garages to park cars?   

I am not lucky to have a garage in our apartment complex, but if I were to have one you can bet it'd be used for its intended purpose. 

Remember, kids, don't take photographs on live train tracks, no matter how awesome it looked on instagram or tumblr. 

Remember, kids, don't take photographs on live train tracks, no matter how awesome it looked on instagram or tumblr.