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.
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.”