In an unusual move for parking-hungry San Francisco, Sunset residents opposed adding parking spaces to side streets to make up for spaces lost as part of a Muni project. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Sunset District residents reject more parking spaces

Parking, parking, parking — it’s the demand from nearly every neighbor at nearly every city transportation meeting, perhaps since the dawn of the automobile.

Transit projects meet regular opposition due to the removal of even a single parking space. Those decrying San Francisco’s dwindling parking often clash with planners crafting data-driven projects aimed to make Muni safer and quicker.

Yet the results from a recent vote released by city transit staffers Tuesday show Taraval Street neighbors have done perhaps the unthinkable: They voted overwhelmingly against new parking.

As part of the L-Taraval rapid project, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency proposed installation of boarding islands, sidewalk bulbouts for pedestrian safety and a transit-only lane for the L-Taraval train.

However, due to those myriad changes, as well as a new vehicle travel lane on Taraval Street, 150 parking spaces were proposed to be removed between 18th and 45th avenues along Taraval Street, out of a more than 4,000 nearby spaces around Taraval, Santiago and Ulloa streets.

Aiming to lessen the loss, SFMTA proposed adding angled parking to side streets near Taraval Street, in order to add 140 parking spaces.

Angled parking would stretch along eight portions Santiago Street, including 21st to 22nd avenues, 27th and 28th avenues, among others, as well as six blocks of Ulloa Street, and six blocks of side streets at Taraval Street near 35th Avenue.

Both 45-degree and 90-degree angled parking were proposed for various blocks.

However, 81 percent of neighbors voting said “no” to angled parking, whereas 19 percent voted in favor. About 38 percent of residents voted, according to the SFMTA.

Twitter user Kyle Grochmal, a bicyclist, tweeted, “I can’t think of any recent MTA surveys asking SFers if they want more parking. Car-centric Sunset said no thank you is a big deal.”

Albert Chow, owner of Great Wall Hardware on Taraval Street, said neighbors may want more parking, but angled parking is still not favorable.

“When you’re backing out of your driveway it’s harder to get out because cars are whizzing by,” Chow said. “I think it’s less desirable.”

The only block that voted in favor of angled parking was Santiago Street between 27th and 28th avenues, which will be converted to 90-degree angled parking and add 12 parking spaces, according to the SFMTA’s web portal for the L-Taraval Rapid project.

Each house on the proposed blocks where changes were proposed were mailed a multilingual ballot, according to the SFMTA. The angled parking proposal may be revisited in the future, SFMTA staffers wrote on the L-Taraval Rapid project website.

Chow said he wished neighbors would have been given the chance to vote on more aspects of the L-Taraval Rapid project.

“If you had told the entire Taraval Street and asked if they wanted boarding islands,” Chow said. “We never got to decide for ourselves.”
Transit

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