SF Supes Committee Supports GG Park Metering and Streetscape Bond

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee showed unanimous support today for a pair of proposals that will both have major impacts on people walking, biking, using transit and driving in the city.

410050_25b2a8b15d_o.jpgDrivers often take advantage of Golden Gate Park's free on-street parking. Flickr photo: morganthemoth

The first is a measure to begin charging for on-street parking in the eastern half of Golden Gate Park, where many of the park's most popular attractions are located. The plan will turn over responsibility for on-street parking in Golden Gate Park from the Recreation and Park Department to the MTA, which will install meters and charge for some street parking in the park for the first time.

The Rec and Park department, the MTA, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, and Supervisors John Avalos and David Campos expressed support for the measure on public policy grounds, since charging for parking may lead to reduced driving and increased walking and biking in the park, and is consistent with the city's transit first policy.

Given the impact on transit riders of recent Muni fair hikes, Campos said drivers should "share the pain" of balancing the budget.

The meters will be a financial boon for the MTA and the park department, with the MTA collecting citation revenue and the park department collecting meter fare revenue. Once the meters are installed, as early as next April, they're projected to bring in $500,000 in the fiscal year ending June 30 and $1.4 million in the second year for the park department. The MTA will bring in a net profit of about $379,000 per year.

The area affected is bounded by Stanyan Street, Crossover Drive, Lincoln Way, and Fulton Street, and includes just over 1,800 spots. To limit the visual impact of the new meters, the MTA will use meters that cover 10-15 spaces each, with about 130 meters total.

The mayor has expressed more qualified support, reversing his previous opposition to charging for parking in Golden Gate Park only recently, in light of the budget crisis. Supervisor Carmen Chu, who supported the measure, also expressed reservations, especially regarding parking pricing, and the installation of the meters.

The parking measure ultimately gained the support of the full committee, and appears to have most of the full Board of Supervisors' support, and the support of the mayor.

The second proposal, which Streetsblog San Francisco wrote about last month, is a $368 million bond measure to create a one-time fund to pay for streetscape enhancements, including enhancements to sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure. This measure also had the strong support of the full committee, and Supervisor Avalos was confident it would pass next week at the full Board of Supervisors meeting. If it does pass, it will go before voters in November, and funding would be distributed over the next five years, with each issuance requiring Board of Supervisors approval.

Next of up for both measures: Board of Supervisors meeting, Tuesday, July 14, San Francisco City Hall, Room 250.