Parked cars sit along Lower Great Highway by the public restroom at Taraval Street near Ocean Beach on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Muni reaches compromise with merchants on loss of Great Highway parking

After an uproar from Sunset and Parkside merchants, a Muni construction project will no longer require the elimination of 96 parking spaces on the Great Highway.

That parking was originally slated to be taken for construction staging related to the L-Taraval Improvement Project, which will speed up travel time for thousands of daily Muni Metro riders.

After Taraval Street merchants near the Great Highway voiced complaints that removing parking could harm their businesses, Supervisor Gordon Mar and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency worked to find a new solution for construction staging.

The new proposal, which was announced to some neighbors last week, will require only 16 parking spaces to stage equipment along the Great Highway, according to Mar’s office.

“SFMTA has taken the feedback from the community and Supervisor Mar’s office and made significant changes to how the project is being delivered,” Erica Kato, an SFMTA spokesperson said.

Merchants like Doug Marshke, owner of Underdogs on Taraval Street, were afraid the loss of 96 parking spaces would tank their businesses.

“We’re only six months old. We’re not profitable yet. If we don’t make money, I could lose my house,” Marshke told the Examiner in July.

“I could lose everything,” he added.

Now the Great Highway, which is near his restaurant, will not lose as many parking spaces.

Another phase of construction will require more parking to be removed, but the impact will be shouldered by other parts of the Sunset District and not entirely by Taraval merchants close to the Great Highway, Mar’s office told the San Francisco Examiner.

Due to community feedback that neighbors and merchants should be more involved in planning, Mar’s office said there will be “more robust” monthly community meetings on the second stage of construction, and where it will be staged, starting in October.

The Richmond Review neighborhood newspaper first reported the change in parking plans.

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