Talks are beginning to start up again over a controversial plan to install 5,000 parking meters in new San Francisco neighborhoods, nearly one year after the proposal was shelved following a harsh community pushback.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees parking in The City, originally intended to install the new meters in the northeast Mission, Dogpatch, Mission Bay and Potrero Hill. Despite preliminary approval of the plan in January, the agency opted to delay installation of the meters in response to neighborhood concerns. Over the past 10 months, the agency has been collecting parking data and information about trends in the relevant neighborhoods.
Tonight, the agency will hold the first of a series of community meetings to gather feedback. The meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at O’Connell High School on Folsom Street, will focus on the plans for the northeast Mission neighborhood.
Before shelving its plan, the Transportation Agency recommended adding hundreds of meters near 17th and Folsom streets, the site of a future city park. Spokesman Paul Rose said the agency will not make specific recommendations at tonight’s meeting, but the parking management plan for the neighborhood will include meters, residential permits and posted time limits.
The agency’s goal for the neighborhood is to manage parking demand and availability; improve access; and encourage the use of transit, biking and walking, Rose said. He also said that a key goal was maintaining parking availability for local businesses.
“This is the beginning of the next phase of an ongoing conversation,” he said.
But Doug MacNeil, owner of Spiral Binding, a book-repair shop on 16th and Harrison streets, said adding parking meters would hurt, not help local businesses. Most companies in the area specialize in manufacturing and repair, so high parking turnover is much less important than daylong availability for employees, he said.
“They don’t seem to understand that this isn’t a traditional commercial district,” MacNeil said. “Meters won’t help us out at all.”
Rose said the agency will gather feedback from the meeting and come back Jan. 19 with a parking management proposal for the northeast Mission community. Following that, similar outreach will occur in the Dogpatch, Mission Bay and Potrero Hill.
While the agency is set to spend the next several months gauging responses to its plans, some residents question the use of the community meetings.
“They hold these meetings, residents rail against the plans, and they still move forward with them,” said Mari Eliza, spokesman for Eastern Neighborhoods United Front, a group formed to oppose the proposals. “We usually end up getting completely ignored.”