September 12th, 2014

Even in a progressive city like San Francisco where we’re headquartered, we’re still fighting this outdated mindset that wider roads, more parking garages, and free parking is good for our city. Despite numerous studies and real world examples from all around the world that the opposite is true, it is all too easy for well funded groups to bait the public with misguided promises of free parking and more parking garages as a way to ease traffic congestion. This trickery has been proven wrong for decades.

A good example of this is an upcoming ballot measure in San Francisco called Prop L. We find this proposition so narrow-minded that we’re hosting a fundraising event to support the No on Gridlock, No on Prop L campaign. Please join us and make a donation to support the opposition if you are in the Bay Area.

No on Gridlock, No on Prop L Fundraiser
Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 6-8pm.
Hosted by PUBLIC Bikes
549 Hayes

Suggested $20-$100 donation

And for non-residents of San Francisco, this proposition and its potential effect is a reminder that we all need to be vigilant and take a stand for our communities, not for our cars. The battle over our public spaces waging in San Francisco leading up to November election is happening in some shape or form in other cities.

Congestion and its effect on quality of life is an issue in almost every US city. Many people think wider roads, free parking, and more parking garages will ease traffic congestion, when in fact it just worsens the situation for all of us by encouraging more cars on our already congested roads.

Wired’s article, “What’s Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse,” does an excellent job summarizing the concept of “induced demand, which is economist-speak for when increasing the supply of something (like roads) makes people want that thing even more.” And this article “Why Free Parking Is Bad For Everyone” also demystifies terribly wrong assumptions. These are must-read articles.

On this November’s ballot San Francisco voters will be asked to weigh in on Proposition L. We at PUBLIC are encouraging our customers and fans to vote No on Gridlock, No on Prop L. You can read background on Proposition L here.

Our friends at Tranform wrote an excellent analysis of why voters should reject Proposition L, which is a radical effort to reverse San Francisco’s environmental and transportation priorities.

You can also watch this short video by San Francisco League of Conservation Voters outlining the key arguments against Proposition L.

What are we doing about this at PUBLIC? We’re opening our Hayes Valley for a No on Gridlock, No on Prop L fundraiser to raise money to educate voters.

If you’re in the Bay Area, we invite you to 549 Hayes on Tuesday night, Sept 16 from 6-8pm. Learn more about our event here and invite your friends. If you can’t attend, we encourage you to make a donation.

Our vision for communities, including our very own San Francisco, is to support efforts to make our neighborhoods more people-friendly. Efforts to build more parking garages, widen road, reduce bike lanes, and provide more free parking, are simply antithetical to what we stand for at PUBLIC.

At its core, we need to recognize that when we get in our cars, we’re not just stuck in traffic – we are traffic. So why would we want to create more gridlock by encouraging more people to drive and circle around looking for free parking?

We hope you’ll join us in encouraging rational, smart transportation policies in your city. And if you’re in San Francisco, we invite you to join us at our No on Gridlock event and vote No on Prop L this November. There are a few other transportation-related ballot measures to understand.