Hearing, initiative drive seek answers in S.F.

San Francisco is in need of more parking, according to one supervisor.

In a city where transit-first serves as a governing theme, the idea of adding more parking spaces seems unlikely. But Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier said The City needs to take a hard look at its policies and consider allowing more parking spaces citywide.

Alioto-Pier will hold a hearing today at the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee meeting to discuss the need for parking, looking at everything from how the amount of parking impacts businesses and neighborhoods to adding more parking spaces, as well as improving how the existing parking spaces are managed.

“We’ve lost 10,000 parking spaces in San Francisco in the last seven years to all of the construction going on,” Alioto-Pier said. She said that with a transit-first policy, The City spends a lot of time talking about bike routes and Muni, but parking “is not an issue we have been properly addressing.”

A so-called Parking for Neighborhoods Initiative is expected to be on the ballot in November, that would, among other things, increase the allowable number of parking spots for downtown developments. For example, a 500,000-square-foot commercial space could have 108 parking spaces, while under the initiative it could have up to 500 parking spaces. The initiative is sponsored by the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations.

Opponents of the measure say it would reverse 30 years of public-transit planning and take away space for pedestrians, bicyclists and buses.

Alioto-Pier said one of reasons for today’s hearing (which is not connected to the ballot measure) is to address concerns she is hearing in her district — particularly businesses in District 2 along Union and Chestnut streets — about how the lack of parking is hurting business.

The solution is not just adding more parking, but also looking at changes to parking policies, Alioto-Pier noted.

For example, she said there is a need to examine the possibility of reducing the number of loading zones in The City or scaling back on their hours so they can become regular metered spaces earlier in the day.

Alioto-Pier said she is considering drafting legislation to address the parking needs in The City and has called for the hearing to “figure out what the best strategies are.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

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