I've been wondering for months now how all of the rich people who come into San Francisco for the America's Cup are going to get around. The event plans call for the Embarcadero to be closed during the festivities, which means no cars. The F-line is nice, but slow — and even with new trains, has limited capacity. And I don't expect to see a lot of the millionaire yachting types riding the bus with us commoners.
Walk? Yeah, from a couple of blocks away, but not from hotels South of Market or on Nob Hill or Union Square. Not in their $500 shoes. Cabs? The traffic will be unbearable.
So here's an idea I've heard floating around: The city makes the project sponsor (that's you, Larry) buy a fleet of several hundred pedicabs, bicycle-powered taxis. Then the city hires hundreds of unemployed teenagers to drive the visitors from their hotels to the waterfront, giving local youth a chance to earn some money off the cup events. Ban all forms of motorized transportation — no limos, no town cars.
Advantages: Zero carbon emissions. No traffic jams. Youth employment. Healthy exercise. And think about the chariot-race-and-bumper-cars action that will give the swells a thrill. It's a winner for everyone.
I've also been thinking about how the abomination of a condo project at 8 Washington is going to affect the festivities — and it's a concern. The city has published reports on both the luxury condo project and the cup, and the folks working on the two don't seem to be talking.
For example, the 8 Washington developer wants to excavate 110,000 tons of soil for a massive parking garage, from a spot right on the edge of the Embarcadero, right while all the cup events are taking place. Where are the dump trucks (hundreds of them every week) going to go if the Embarcadero is closed? How will that construction add to the congestion mess?
I'm not a fan of 8 Washington anyway. It's a project designed to create the most expensive condos ever built in San Francisco — which is just what the city needs. More second or third homes for very rich people who won't live here more than a few weeks a year. Another project that will put the city further out of synch with its own General Plan goals for affordable housing.
And building these units for the rich will interfere with the entertainment for the rich that's supposed to trickle down to the rest of us. I wish it were just funny.