The Third Transportation Revolution
John Zimmer
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Build neighborhoods to transform transportation

Even in the city like San Francisco which has a very neighborhood feel, the new areas like Soma or Financial District are void of life other than during specific times of day. Compare those neighborhoods to a community neighborhood feel like the Mission or Noe or North Beach or burroughs in NYC.

This needs to be fixed by changing the zoning laws to allow for mixed use.

The city made a huge mistake by allowing Soma, Hunter’s Point Shipyard development without zoning for mixed use — grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, bars, etc — all the daily necessities of living need to be within walking distance. For example, in Soma, every ground floor location should be a retail business so people living there can walk to get what they need and hangout on the sidewalks, etc.

Hunter’s Point Shipyard looks like a typical suburb except it’s in San Francisco and this is exactly the wrong thing to be building. There’s no community life in Soma or the Financial District, it’s sterile.

If neighborhoods were walkable then we would need fewer cars. I for one, can’t wait for autonomous cars even if I owned one. The transportation problem is a neighborhood problem. Right now I have to commute for an hour each way and ride sharing is not cost effective or convenient. That will hopefully change. If I were working in the city (San Francisco) where I live, I would go without a car. We have two cars now because of the commute to work issue and lack of effective public transportation or ride sharing that is cost effective and convenient.

To truly transform transportation, we need to transform zoning for how we live, work, and enjoy our lives — build connected neigborhoods with mixed uses rather than residential in one place and business or retail somewhere else. I have to get in a car and go to work, get in a car to go shopping, to a bar, or restaurant, get in a car to go to do x, get in a car to go home, etc. This has to change! Luckily, I live in Noe so when I am home, I can walk to pretty much any where easily and get on my bike and if I want to go out, I can uber or lyft it!