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Compromise brings an end to S.F. parking fight

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The heated battle brewing over parking issues has come to an end after an agreement was formally reached Thursday, with a compromise measure that was placed on the February 2008 ballot.

The Sensible Parking Initiative, which was put on the February 2008 ballot Thursday, is the result of a compromise struck between Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, downtown business interests and transit advocates.

In exchange for filing the measure, the campaign for November’s Parking for Neighborhoods Initiative, backed by Gap founder Don Fisher and neighborhood merchant groups, is over.

“We are going to stop working,” said Jim Ross, campaign manager for the Parking for Neighborhoods Initiative, after learning of Thursday’s filing. It is too late for anyone to withdraw measures from the November ballot.

Peskin had engaged in talks with downtown business interests and transit advocates about a compromise after he successfully put on the November ballot a measure to fix Muni. TheMuni measure included a parking provision that would have negated the Parking for Neighborhoods Initiative.

Opponents of the initiative said it flies in the face of The City’s transit-first policy by allowing more parking with little planning oversight. This set the stage for an aggressive political battle and brought the opposing forces together for the compromise.

As of July 22, the campaign for the parking initiative had raised $113,750, according to political contribution filings with the Ethics Commission.

The compromise ensures little support for the parking initiative, while it fuels the support for Peskin’s Muni measure.

The measure would allow at least one parking space for each housing unit constructed in the western part of The City, which includes such neighborhoods as the Sunset, Marina, Pacific Heights and the Richmond. It would also allow developers to build parking garages to allow for no more than 2,500 cars in part of the South of Market area bounded by Howard, Sixth, Townsend, Division and Ninth streets.


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