SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin offers compromise on Polk Street Parking, as SFMTA Board Members disagree in fearful outrage

Press Release – April 5, 2013, San Francisco, CA

During his statement at the SFMTA board meeting held Tuesday April 2nd, Director Ed Reiskin remarked, “The current (SFMTA) proposals have significant parking loss along Polk Street.”  He further added, “There may be different solutions for the unique neighborhoods along Polk Street; there are very different situations for the lower Polk area below California St. vs. the northern end toward Broadway.”  He admitted, “Their may be some trade-offs for some proposed benefits; and what I don’t think is a trade off is cyclists vs. small business and the health of the neighborhood”, ultimately ending his 5 minute presentation stating, “We have certainly heard a loud and consistent massage from the community expressing concerns for our proposals… our next step is to bring back additional proposals for different configurations that have less parking loss.”

SFMTA Vice Chairman Cheryl Brinkman chided Director Reiskin exclaiming, “I want the proposal that doesn’t minimize parking loss.”  She continued, “I was at that (Middle Polk Neighborhood Association) meeting, and I took offense.  Anyone who showed up in support of the SFMTA would have been completely 100% intimidated to speak up.  That was the worst public meeting I’ve ever attended.”

Polk Street members seek an alternative plan to preserve parking along the 1.3 mile stretch, and have called for a private meeting with SFMTA planners on April 25th to design an alternative proposal for Polk Street.  Potential proposals to improve safety and accessibility of Polk Street that would preserve parking include:

  • Removing traffic lights, and replacing with 4 way Stop Signs along Polk Street to slow traffic
  • Eliminating right turn on red lights along Polk Street to reduce accidents and slow traffic
  • Restricting left turns on Polk Street to reduce accidents
  • Elevating crosswalks to create better visibility and slow traffic
  • The addition of corner bulb-outs to accommodate pedestrians, reduce accidents, and slow traffic at intersections
  • The addition of parklets and bike corrals
  • Improved lighting
  • Improved signage, education, and enforcement of current striped and shared bike lanes
  • Diverting bike lanes to non-commercial neighboring streets
  • Installing speed bumps on high speed cross streets

In his presentation Director Reiskin asserted that although the 6 current proposals his group has created have significant parking loss, there are “opportunities to create additional parking in areas adjacent To Polk.” which would allow the SFMTA to meter parking along currently unmetered sections of Larkin, Franklin, Hyde, Gough, and dozens of cross streets and alleys to recoup lost revenue.

Polk Street latest site for parking, biker clash
by John Zipperer : marinatimes.com – excerpt
And Kowalski says the Save Polk Street group will continue its own outreach, building on new connections with other neighborhood groups across the City that are having similar disputes with the SFMTA. If his coalitions can’t block the plan, then he hopes to be able to slow it down enough to give himself time to build pressure. “The next thing we can do is require [SFMTA] to do an environmental impact report,” which he said would require the agency to take into consideration not just Polk Street but nearby projects such as the Bus Rapid Transit plan for Van Ness and the new California Pacific Medical Center building on Geary and Van Ness.
“If that doesn’t slow them down, then the next option we have is to acquire 16,000 valid signatures so we can have it put on the ballot,” Kowalski said. “Those are things we are going to work toward.”.. (more)