In paradise, build on the parking lot

Now cars only, soon no cars


In a more civilized country this would be entirely unremarkable, but in the city of my birth it’s a sign of great progress: for at least the second time in a year, the San Francisco Planning Commission has approved construction of a city-center apartment building with no car parking and a number of indoor bicycle parking spaces. The site is currently a parking lot, and was once under a freeway. Progress!

Connect it to three things:

First, the ongoing but difficult struggle in American cities against minimum parking requirements.

Second, hints here and there that the US and other rich countries may have passed the peak of per capita car use.

Finally, that although San Francisco is, by American standards, a densely populated and walkable city, that often puts pedestrians in conflict with drivers: compared with other large American cities, in San Francisco a lot of people get hit by cars.

So, it is pleasing to see signs that the Planning Commission in that beautiful city may be coming to grips with the problem of providing an environment for living rather than driving.

I’m homesick.

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