No Longer Free To Parking On Sundays In San Francisco

Expired (no flash)

Donald Shoup must be smiling.

Last Sunday, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency ended free parking on Sundays from 12:00-6:00PM.

Verbal and written warnings were issued during the previous three Sundays, but tickets were recently issued. Revenue seems to be the prevalent reason for starting parking enforcement on Sundays, but anyone who has tried to find on-street parking spaces in San Francisco, regardless of the day, knows it’s difficult and burdensome.

Maybe doing away with free parking may alleviate some of that parking trouble.

[photo via Terry Chay/flickr]

Richard Florida’s “The Joys Of Urban Tech”

Outside Velo Rouge Cafe, San Francisco

I just read Richard Florida’s op-ed “The Joys of Urban Tech” that was published last week in The Wall Street Journal.

Florida makes a good cultural argument about why technology companies are relocating to cities after previously headquartering in suburbs–namely to keep their young employees happy. Why would the brightest engineers and software developers want to live and work in Silicon Valley when San Francisco represents a funner environment. I’m assuming San Jose doesn’t exist in this scenario, or represent a “true” city in Florida’s argument.

That aside, Florida doesn’t mention a couple things that would make cities (using the Bay Area as an example) more attraction to this workforce demographic. First, technology companies employ high-salaried people. These workers can actually afford to live in high cost cities like San Francisco; sure, they may not want to live in big houses, but SF rental housing isn’t what you would call cheap. Add the fact that couples are waiting longer to start families and you have people that have much more disposable income.

Second, Silicon Valley is almost completely built out (i.e., there aren’t many vacant lots to build campuses and new development on). There really isn’t enough office space in the South Bay to expand, unless you can convince those cities to accept denser neighborhoods and build up. Some of the companies have chosen to relocate to cheaper parts of the cities. Florida himself states that Zappos moved to Las Vegas’ “old city hall” and Twitter moved to the “formerly derelict Art Deco building in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood.” With the latter, San Francisco officials bent over backwards to persuade the company to move in a blighted neighborhood. In other words, the decision to move back to cities may be financial as urban real estate may be cheaper and local tax breaks may be possible.

While I think Florida’s cultural argument has merit, he glosses over a more plausible financial argument that cities could just be cheaper to locate nowadays.

[photo via PJ]

Only A Slow Internet Connection And Reddit Can Interrupt You From Participating In Plan Bay Area’s Virtual Workshop

Plan Bay Area Logo

For those who were put off by the incivility at recent public meetings in support of Plan Bay Area, residents can now participate and send comments to regional planners at their Virtual Workshop.

There’s less text than one would expect for a blueprint to help guide land use and transportation planning and policy for the next few decades, but there are easy to watch videos and handouts to read. Oh, and plenty of opportunities to comment by way of numerous surveys (or simply email your comments as well).

Remember, Plan Bay Area is a joint regional effort by these important agencies: Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC).

FYI. The Virtual Workshop is open until Wednesday, 15 February 2012.

SPUR San Jose Is Close, But Still Hasn’t Launched Yet

SPUR San Jose: 'Coming January 2012'

It’s 31 January 2012 (9:26PM PST), and unfortunately SPUR San Jose still hasn’t launched yet.

I’m sure that SPUR‘s pilot project for San Jose and Silicon Valley is still moving forward. Heck, there’s talk about another project to bring San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association to Oakland and the East Bay.

Why am I so sure? There’s a date for the SPUR San Jose Launch Party! It will be Thursday 8 March 8 2012 (5:30-7:30PM PST) at San Pedro Square Market (87 N San Pedro Street, San Jose, CA).

It’s FREE, but please RSVP.

[image via PJ]

SPUR San Jose Coming In January 2012

SPUR San Jose

San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association or SPUR has long led the charge in promoting good planning and sound policy-making through research, education and advocacy.

SPUR is deeply rooted in San Francisco, but the member-supported nonprofit organization will pilot a new local branch in San Jose in January 2012. SPUR San Jose seems to want to be a part of the planning process in the next wave of Silicon Valley growth, and hopefully will partner with San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, and Stanford as part of its efforts.

This is a no-brainer decision for SPUR. After spending the past few years trying to shed its sprawl image by implementing more sustainable and smart growth planning tools, San Jose has tried to extend that efforts into its 2040 General Plan Update. Also, Silicon Valley companies are vying for better real estate for their large workforces, and their land use decisions will have great implications on not just the cities they are located in, but for the entire South Bay region (including transportation, education, etc.).

Don’t believe me? Here are a few headlines from the past few days:

1. Google offers to help Mountain View hire more staff
2. Apple submits updated renderings, plans for Cupertino ‘spaceship’ campus
3. Facebook must pay Menlo Park millions of dollars if it can’t improve Bayfront Expressway

It will be interesting to see how SPUR San Jose will operate: as an extension of SPUR or as its own separate independent entity? Time will tell, but it will be exciting.

[image via PJ]