Mayor Lee Backs SFPark Dogpatch/Potrero Plan at Supes Meeting

Mayor Ed Lee stood behind the merits of the SFMTA’s SFPark program at a Board of Supervisors meeting today when questioned about the recent backlash against parking meter expansions in the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. Those proposals have been put on hold while the SFMTA conducts more outreach to neighbors and merchants.

Mayor Lee speaking at an SFPark press conference. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/mayoredlee/6522659197/sizes/l/in/set-72157628447198843/##Mayor's Press Office/Flickr##

During the mayor’s regular question-and-answer session with the board, D10 Supervisor Malia Cohen asked the mayor “how this program can be adapted and improved in order to better fit these areas.”

In his prepared response, Lee defended the program, noting that “the world is watching our efforts in parking management.”

“I know firsthand that the Obama administration and the Department of Transportation are paying close attention to SFPark,” he said.

While the Dogpatch, Potrero, and North Mission neighborhoods include businesses that are “more industrial and have few clients and customers visiting during the day,” said Lee, he pointed out that “they are interspersed with businesses that have more daytime activity and need open parking spaces so it’s easy for customers to find a place to park.”

“To really thrive and generate job growth, we need businesses in those areas that need great access. It needs to be easy for people to get there, as well as for goods to be delivered,” he said. “Areas that don’t have access cannot thrive. Good transit is part of that equation, whether BART, Muni, or the city’s investment in Third Street light-rail line. This transit carries a lot of people in those areas. But for those who have to drive to make pickups and deliveries, it can be hard to find a space during the day. SFPark aims to make it easier to find a spot close to a destination.”

Cohen also asked whether the mayor would “be supportive of evaluating the use of parking passes for employees,” to which he responded: “I will direct the Office of Economic Development to work with employers, particularly PDR [production, distribution and repair] businesses, regarding ways to alleviate financial burden on low-income employees. I know that the SFMTA is already working with the community to develop a sound proposal, and any parking management strategy like SFPark should have ample community buy-in before it’s rolled out.”

  • mikesonn

    I’d like to get excited but this is the same mayor who said we’d see progress on Fell/Oak by now.

  • Biggus_Diggus

    I’m impressed with Supervisor Cohen.

  • HeatherC

    Worst. Mayor. Ever.  Gavin, please come home! 

  • Anonymous

    Mayor Lee has been amazing in his sensible and fearless backing of the right thing to do.  There is a lot of heat on SFPark from the neighborhood groups in Dog Patch and Potrero Hill. Those groups are powerful, active, and very upset about paying for parking. It’s huge that he has stepped up and backed the SFMTA in the face of this outcry. 

    He’s also been great on the Golden Gate Park cycle tracks, facing down the de Young and Academy of Science who were making preliminary negative motions. 

    I think he’s been great on the Fell and Oak Street cycle tracks as well, not backing off at all. As much as I’d like them painted tomorrow, it’s not simple implementing progressive transportation infrastructure in SF, but eventually stuff makes it through the process, and then it’s been properly vetted. The good news is it’s very hard to reverse, unlike other cities where a Mayor can simply have bike lanes removed (Toronto for example).

  • Anonymous

    I agree. Though he wasn’t the most bicycle-friendly candidate in last fall’s election, what I have seen in his little time in office hasn’t been amazing, but also not that bad when compared to previous mayors. In the end, I think he is a mayor that will let bicycle, pedestrian, public transit, and livable street improvements in SF continue. Maybe not at the rate we would have all liked, but he hasn’t been an impediment so far.

  • Francis

    The new metering system will bilk motorists to expand city government by
    treating the streets and the sidewalks as a new source of government
    revenue. This de facto tax threatens to price residents out of their neighborhoods
    and decimate small businesses. More than 1 in 3 of San Francisco’s
    nearly 27,000 city workers earned $100,000 or more last year. The
    revenue from these new meters will only benefit the pockets, and pension

    plans of city employees who are already receiving generous city benefits.

    The
    variable rate meters are a huge inconvenience to residents, and has
    made made San Francisco a less desirable place to rent, own real estate,
    or operate a business. Smaller businesses, the bulk of whom employ
    middle-class residents will bear the brunt of the pain, along with local
    residents who can no longer afford to park in their own
    neighborhoods.
    The “variable pricing” can go up to $6.00/hr. or $18.00/hr. for
    “special events.” Charging residents $10-$50 per day to park in front of
    their homes is unsustainable.

    It is class warfare
    that favors the wealthiest residents of the city and penalizes poorer,
    working class citizens who have less money and education. Residents and
    business owners should not have to own a smart phone, or be digitally literate to park their cars, or do business in San Francisco.

    San Francisco shares the top spot for the steepest parking meter fines in the U.S. and has the third highest hourly parking rates
    for metered spaces.Our city businesses and residents don’t deserve this
    job-killing excuse to make our lives all the more stressful.

  • peternatural

    SF taxpayers own an asset (street parking) that is in short supply and high demand. Giving it away for free is a rip-off to taxpayers. Meters don’t constitute a “tax” — if you don’t want to pay it, then don’t park on the street.

    If you can’t afford your lifestyle, instead of crying for taxpayers to subsidize it, why not change it?

    My landlord charges $300/month for a parking spot in the garage. If I’m not interested, it’s available to another resident of the building or a neighbor. Is that “class warfare”? Is that a “job-killing” tax? Give me a break! He’s just getting paid what he deserves. And taxpayers should, too.

  • It is class warfare that favors the wealthiest residents of the city and penalizes poorer, working class citizens who have less money and education.

    Poorer, working class citizens need a better agent. They are not being compensated at all for being used in all sorts of arguments today by their faux benefactors.

  • This is going to be hard, hard, hard for a lot of people to face, but basically if you can’t afford a garage right now, your income is low enough that you are highly unlikely to be able to afford a car at all in the near future. Fighting for free parking is fighting for a perk that long term is only going to benefit people far wealthier than you. Really and truly you are arguing against your class interests.

    As energy prices rise, people are more interested in moving to walkable, livable neighborhoods such as Potrero Hill, not less. It is the far flung suburbs that are being abandoned in droves. Young people especially are less interested in car ownership and a car dependent lifestyle. This will somewhat bolster San Francisco housing prices, though I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom of the market yet. Cars are a poor form of transportation for congested cities. They create pollution, they cause ill health, they hog massive amounts of space. They are incredibly energy inefficient and a drain on the local economy. Cars wear out our expensive roads that are paid for not with gas taxes but with property tax. Every time you see someone driving a car, that person is costing you money. (Every time you see someone walking or biking, that person is saving you money.)  Street parking is proven to induce car driving and congestion. Instead of charging for parking, San Francisco would be better off economically severely reducing the space it allocates to car storage altogether. If the middle class of this country had any idea of what was coming, they would scream bloody murder for transit and bicycle infrastructure, not for a way of life that is fast slipping out of their fingers no matter what.

  • Sebraleaves

    A lot of delivery people and bus drivers double park, regardless of whether or not there is open parking at the curb. Meters and street signs do nothing to solve that problem.

    How anyone thinks that people can conduct a business without any cars is beyond me. We need a “take The Muni to work Day” for plumbers, painters, rock musicians, dog walkers, mothers with baby strollers, people loaded down with grocery bags, and others who normally don’t take the Muni, to prove why some people should drive. The idea that any government authority should coerce people into a lifestyle that is not of their choosing, is not acceptable.

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