Tuesday: Support Needed for a Car-Free Bike/Ped Path on the Marina

Photo: SFDPW

One year after community planning meetings began, plans finally appear to be moving forward for removing the 51 parking spaces in the middle of a walking and biking path along the Marina — the only stretch of the 500-mile Bay Trail with cars on it. But Marina boat owners aren’t giving up, and car-free path supporters need to turn out to a community meeting next Tuesday to ensure progress on this no-brainer plan.

Some of the boat owners arguing to keep the often-empty parking spaces have apparently used their connections to delay the project for several months — the city’s final proposal for the path was originally due in March. If the plan is approved this fall, the parking spaces would be removed next spring, according to a September 30 presentation [PDF].

In a letter to SF Recreation and Parks [PDF], the SF Bicycle Coalition’s Janice Li pointed out that a permit issued to the city by the Bay Conservation Development Commission requires that the plan pursue “a design of a Bay Trail segment that provides a high quality bicycle, pedestrian, and general visitor experience.”

“The only way to properly meet the Bay Trail standards and provide that experience is by creating a car-free path,” wrote Li.

According to the SFBC, other supporters of a car-free path include the Fort Mason Center, Marina Community Association, and SF Road Runners Club.

Data reported in city surveys shows just how unnecessary the car access is, even while it undermines any sense of safety and comfort for people walking and biking. Only 2 percent of people using the path are parking cars, and only 40 to 68 percent of the parking spaces are typically occupied. Yet these few drivers can fill half the path: one-fourth of the path is devoted to auto storage, while another fourth is deemed a “shared” driving lane.

Even though only 91 of the 350-some-odd total slips in the Marina basin are adjacent to the parking spaces in question, those boat slip renters are having none of it. As one man put it at a community meeting last year, “There are plenty of marinas on the east coast, where I also live, that have adequate parking.”

Tuesday’s meeting will start at 6 p.m. at Moscone Recreation Center at 1800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco.

Comments can also be sent to Mary Hobson and Sarah Ballard of Rec and Parks. The SFBC has posted a template for letters of support on its website.

  • Reynolds Cameron

    Remove all parking east of the median on Marina Blvd. Especially the large parking lot along the shoreline. The only vehicles that should be allowed to drive west of the northbound lanes of Marina Blvd are official government vehicles, and registered vehicles from Marina boat owners for purposes of loading and unloading only (with the hazard lights blinking). Otherwise, a complete ban on motor vehicles.

  • emceeski

    I have a boat in the marina. I also walk and bike on that path.

    Why can’t we dig up the old train tracks and put a soft curb with parallel parking along the street? It would remove the car travel lane and make room for both cars and pedestrians.

  • That’s really the sensible compromise here. On either side of the stop sign and the crosswalk, put in a half-dozen 1-hour, permit-only spaces so boat owners can load and unload their gear — which is a legitimate need — and then they can go and park in the lot if they are there for the day.

    Those stretches of sidewalk are not really used anyway, as people walking and riding tend to veer towards the marina to avoid the sign post and the ramp.

    [edit] Although if my dreams were to really come true, what I’d love to see is the train tracks resurrected and have the trolleys come through the tunnel to Ft. Mason and then down into the Presidio!

  • Is The Safety of Thousands of People Every Day Worth Removing 51 Underused Parking Spots? Such a tough decision

  • p_chazz

    Your logical fallacy is False Dilemma! Presenting only two possible outcomes when other possibilities exist!

  • SF Guest

    Removing 51 underused parking spots in SF that would help save 1000’s – where? where?

  • Go on – what are the others?

  • p_chazz

    See emmceeski’s comment that is heartily endorsed by Upright Biker.

  • The owners of the slips should propose such a thing, instead of obstructing the current plan with no alternative. So often I see objections to a solution ignore the original problem. If they have a better solution, that’s excellent, if you wish to pretend that the original problem isn’t a problem or is less of a problem than is caused by the solution, you either need to justify that or you’re not worth listening to.

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