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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mayor Lee Favors Parking Meter Plan for Potrero Hill/Dogpatch

From the SFGate City Insider,
Mayor Ed Lee backed the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s plan to install thousands of new meters in the northeast Mission, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch and Mission Bay neighborhoods — a proposal recently put on hold amid strong opposition from residents and business owners in those neighborhoods.

But Lee said that if he has any say in the matter, the proposal is not dead.

“It really is not so much whether they roll it out or not, it’s really how they roll it out,” Lee said.

City transportation officials say the meter expansion, part of the experimental SFpark program, is needed to better manage parking in those neighborhoods where finding a curbside parking space is now difficult and expected to get worse. The meters can be used to force turnover of the spaces and to get more people out of their cars and onto Muni and BART, or to bike or walk.

But many in the targeted neighborhoods lament the prospect of having to feed meters, saying that will be inconvenient and costly.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents Potrero Hill and Dogpatch, asked Lee during his monthly Question Time appearance before the Board of Supervisors whether he would support an alternative to the meters, such as implementation of a parking permit program for workers in the area.

“I am concerned that the implementation and expansion of the SFpark program is not considering the unique transit and parking enforcement challenges of some of these neighborhoods and the unique nature” of some of the businesses there, Cohen said.

Lee sidestepped the issue of the parking permit idea, but said he has directed his Office of Economic Development to work with businesses on finding ways to alleviate the financial burden that the meter charges may have on low-income employees.

But in noting “the world is watching our efforts in parking management,” Lee said SFpark deserves a chance to succeed. And while the roll-out in the neighborhoods targeted for meter expansion has been delayed, he said he doesn’t want to see it killed.

“I also want to make sure that the process includes buy-in from neighborhoods, … make sure we talk to everyone,” Lee said.
Potrero Hill neighbors have vowed to continue to fight this, with one writing on Nextdoor Potrero Hill:
We are working to develop a survey and plan to collect information from neighbors on their parking needs and views of MTA's plan. MTA is holding off any further action for the next couple of months. During that time it is up to us (and I mean all of us who are concerned about having parking meters in our neighborhood) to tell the MTA what we want and what our needs are. Of course, they could ignore us, but I think they do so at their political peril. We will have another organizational meeting to recruit people to help in this effort next week. It will be somewhere in Potrero Hill; maybe at the library. I will post beforehand. On another note, Malia Cohen spoke to the mayor at today's Supervisors meeting about the issue. She has been very supportive of our efforts.
 Neighbors are encouraged to keep up to date with the parking plan by joining Nextdoor Potrero Hill and following the discussion.

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