How construction permits affect San Franciscans’ parking

| October 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

Street parking is becoming an even hotter commodity in San Francisco, a city known for its scarcity of spots, reports SFGate. Why? A construction boom is the city is responsible for eating up parking spaces, as stretches of curbside parking are blocked off as tow-away zones for weeks and months at a time so that public and private construction companies can have access.

San Francisco busy street

Every time the city allows a developer to requisition a parking spot for short-term use by construction crews, it pushes locals’ cars out – and some people complain that city officials are giving out more parking than crews need. From citymaus.

San Francisco drivers are warned off from would-be spaces by red tow-away signs that permit contractors to park trucks, deposit equipment, or offer the necessary space for “difficult-to-access” sites. While the obstructions are unavoidable and legal, reports SFGate, they “represent a blast furnace in San Francisco’s parking hell that frustrates neighborhood residents and has driven a city supervisor to look into changing the laws.”

The city has issued more than 1,200 current construction parking permits, plus 542 excavation permits for installing and repairing roadway utilities, according to Rachel Gordon, a spokeswoman for the public works department.  The public works department approves around 1,000 such permits each month, with differing duration and stipulations for construction company usage — such as 24 hours or during work hours.The department does not take into consideration whether a new permit request would impact an area that is already lacking in parking spots due to other current projects.

The limited parking spaces are straining an area already known for its lack of parking options. As resident Mindy Siva explains to SFGate, “On days when there’s street cleaning and construction, it’s impossible to find parking… I understand they have to have it, but it makes it difficult. It’s not as if we had ample parking to begin with.”

One side effect of the construction blockages is traffic jams: In one case this summer, construction crews re-paved and turned a one-lane area into a two-lane express bus route. Street parking was blocked on both sides of the street during the day. Nearby blocks were also blocked, one due to residential complex construction work; the other due to college campus extension work.

There might be some hope, in the form of new legislation. Supervisor Malia Cohen, a politician representing southeastern San Francisco, told SFGate that she is liaising with the city attorney’s office on legislation to improve the way construction parking permit are granted. Parking your car, Cohen says, is “increasingly more difficult… Until we get more robust transit options, we need to make sure that everyone can live in San Francisco.”

One of the goals of Cohen’s potential legislation is to limit 24-hour parking permits for construction companies, in order to grant residents overnight parking, as well as possibly limiting permits in small vicinities. “I’m not interested in this current wholesale blanketed process of, ‘You want 24 hours? Here, have 24 hours,’” Cohen said. “And then when you’re driving around trying to find parking, you see a whole street free but you can’t park there.” Cohen proposed the legislation drafting request in September and plans to have legislation by the end of next month.

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Category: Infrastructure, municipal, Regulations

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