Monday, July 6, 2009

# 8 The Parking Problem

San Francisco parking is a bit like dirt in the movie Waterworld: so precious and rare a resource that its presence stirs forth a half spiritual, half murderous hysteria and the quest to find it never really ends, which is why you can find yourself yelling, "Look! A parking space! Oh my God, another one!", like you just saw a Bald Eagle or a bobcat, not only when you have no plans to park but when you aren’t even in a car.

It's easy to get high-minded and poo-poo such drama because the problem seems so niche. If you don't live in San Francisco or, even if you do but are presently day tripping in some suburban neighborhood, where parking spaces come free and plenty as summer rain in northern Queensland, the whole fuss appears to be absurd. You can see that fist-fighting for a parking space is at best a borderline call. You can see the fragility of how we comprehend the world. Parking spaces don't matter, you can conclude in your detached, wiser state of consciousness.

But you'd be wrong and this is why: San Francisco, the third most densely populated city in the Americas, has no viable inter-city public transportation. BART just goes to Oakland and MUNI buses...don't make us laugh. Go to a MUNI bus stop past commute time and tell us how it goes. Good luck waiting for that messiah. Then there's taxis, which exist, but just as a hypothesis, like Schrödinger's cat.

What this means is that getting anywhere, especially on a weekend evening, is a major hassle. You can't drive, buses aren't making regular runs, it's too windy and cold to hoof it, and no one is answering the taxi hotline. So if you're a girl, and it's Friday night, and you're OK with going to a bar where 70% of the patrons are men, half of whom are hipsters, short or software geeks, then you're still dealing with 50/50 odds you'll be marooned 2 miles from your apartment at 2:06 AM. And remember, the bicycle ride to the Marin Headlands leaves at 8 AM. So what do you do? You get in your jammies and watch Sex in the City.


  1. Foreigners? Xenophobia is lame.

  2. WTANGISF appreciates the readership anonymous and acknowledges that was a clumsy reference to #2 The Foreigner Effect. WTANGISF has much love for everyone, whatever their height, intellectual inclination or place of birth, and in pursuit of making its readers happier and more lovely, is not above making after-the-fact editorial changes (here a word was replaced with another word) where it does not seriously compromise the amusingness of the piece.

  3. Stayed just west of downtown SF last month.

    Must say the transit situation there is much better than Toronto. I could actually get on a bus on a weekday without watching 5 full ones go by first.

  4. 'cept the small number of girls who have the guts to bike, who are generally hotter than average. Not that it's saying much in SF. Sorry, but complaining about parking is a broken record. Get rid of your stupid car, it doesn't belong here. You must be from the marina.

  5. Chattie, you must be broke. Or one of those critical mass douchebags. Bikes are nice but cars are stars. I just sold my own, but I can't say I didn't love it. I just preferred to pay for a garage which saved me a ton in parking tickets and paint damage.

  6. Spoiled_San_FranciscanOctober 6, 2009 at 9:09 PM

    Spoiled San Franciscans. All we do is complain about transit and compare it to NYC. This ain't NYC and this ain't Europe folks. Get over yourself and your ironic blogs. Muni goes everywhere just look at the map and runs 24 hours. Not many cities in America can make that same claim. The density is the city's greatest asset and largest liability. If you want better transit, start supporting laws against cars and taxing drivers.