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.

  • Why are we borrowing money at high interest rates to maintain the streets? What on earth do we pay taxes for, if not for basic services such as this? Are people in SF so clueless they don’t realize that we just passed a multimillion dollar bond to build SF General? And we’ve been passing so many bonds as “Free Money” for so long, we’re gonna drown in interest payments and principal payments?

    I guess not. Just get out the credit card then wonder why it is we have a “budget crisis.”

  • marcos

    @Greg, we’re going to to have to do something about this agreeing and stuff.

    Elsbernd is right on this and our progressives are not. Ammiano tried this back in 2002 as a prelude to his mayoral race and did not make the ballot, and Newsom is doing same now to make it appear as if he’s cared for the past 5.

    TO be fair, the CIty holds a revolving portfolio of bond obligations and keeps the card maxxed up to a finite upper limit. They claim that sales of street resurfacing bonds will be pegged to the paying off of bonds taken out when I first moved here 20 yr ago.

    That said, I’d rather see my property tax rate raised to remain at the same level as before those old bonds were paid off, and instead of the bond service property tax dollars going to a Wall Street investment house to cover bond sales fees (a chunk of change on $300+m) and interest payments, how about having my tax dollars go to pay for 1.25 times the amount of street improvement than we get with the bonds?

    The insanity here is that street repairs last for 10 years max, while the bond terms are 20 years. How much fun will it be for suckers still living here in 10 years time to be paying property taxes to pay down debt for 10 more years into the future, all to have made the streets nice for those of us who no longer live here, improvements which have just finished depreciating?

    The good thing is that interest rates for creditworthy borrowers like SF are historically low at this time, so the relative cost to borrow is less. But I’d still prefer that we figure out a path towards sustainable self sufficiency on our simple capital systems.

    -marc

  • Pat

    What interest rate do these bonds pay and where might I purchase them?

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