Sowing discord, one block at a time

By Sally Stepherns : sfexaminer – excerpt

“When it comes to residential parking permits, San Francisco must do everything in its power to reduce tensions between neighbors.”  Jessica Christian

f you really want to get a neighborhood riled up, bring up street parking. Recently, I watched as parking — more specifically, expanding residential parking permits — created a rift in my neighborhood.

Parking permits don’t just affect the block that gets them; they affect nearby blocks as well. Permits were originally intended to keep “commuters” from parking all day in low-density residential neighborhoods. But when one block gets permits, the commuters just move to nearby permit-free blocks. One block’s solution becomes another block’s problem.

I went to City Hall for a hearing on a proposal to expand residential parking permits near my house. The woman who wanted the permits secured, as required, more than 50 percent of the people living on the block to sign a petition requesting permits.

The problem is that no one else knew about it, including some people who live on the block in question. Turns out, there’s no requirement that all residents on a block be notified of a petition. So some of the people most affected may never know about the permits until it’s too late. Why doesn’t The City require the notice of a proposed permit be mailed to everyone who lives within a few blocks?…

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is currently reviewing the parking permit program. My fear is that rather than focusing on how to make the process more fair, transparent and inclusive, the SFMTA will use the review as a way to further discourage people in low-density neighborhoods from having cars, e.g., by converting some parking spaces on a block to spaces for car share companies. That will only lead to more conflict.

Due to the opposition of many neighbors, the SFMTA put off a decision on the permit for my street until fall. But people have been riled up and feelings have been hurt.

In the meantime, every new proposal for parking permits on a block pits neighbor against neighbor, block against block and street against street. The City should do everything it can to reduce tensions between neighbors, not push a residential parking permit process that increases conflict.

Sally Stephens is an animal, park and neighborhood activist who lives in the West of Twin Peaks area... (more)

Sally pretty well sums it up. We need a city agency that does not pit neighbor against neighbor. Until recently we had no parking or traffic problems. Many people feel the wrong people are in charge and we need a change at the SFMTA Board to start to solve these issues. The first step is to pass the SFMTA Charter Amendment and vote in some new politicians who are ready to change the policies and priorities that have brought us to the is point. See details on that here: stopsfmta.com

 

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