Hi, there! We’re back with another installation of my ongoing development newsletter, Mission Moves. And this week is, indeed, a move — a move to move your cars. If you missed my recent enlightening piece about the Grand Theater sign relighting after 30 years, read it here. Let’s ride.
The quest for parking
I wasn’t alive for the Gold Rush, but if I had to guess what it felt like to finally strike gold, I’d bet it feels pretty similar to finding an open street-parking spot in the northeast Mission.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is acutely aware of residents’ complaints, which is why it has fashioned a “Northeast Mission Parking Management Project,” and will hold a public hearing about it on March 21 at 6 p.m. The agency proposed implementing new residential permits and timed parking spaces in the portion of the neighborhood spanning 21st Street to 13th Street/Division Street and from Valencia Street to Potrero Avenue. Some new parking spaces will become metered, or require payment — pretty much unheard of on this mostly residential side of the Mission.
But where these particular spaces will be located varies widely. For you visual learners, the agency has published a diagram of the plan, and if you get past the fact it looks like scattered confetti, you might discern how you are affected.
What you need to know
While the transportation agency did not immediately provide the total number of new spots the plan creates, the diagram suggests hundreds of newly regulated spaces.
Many of the new paid parking meters are concentrated near the nonresidential Best Buy and the University of California, San Francisco, office by 14th and Harrison streets, and the Potrero Bus Yard by Bryant and 17th streets. There are no time limits. (See the blue dashed spots.) Pink dashes demonstrate a mix of permit and paid spots.
Many of the new spaces, however, will have two-hour time limits. Those with a permit won’t have to heed the time limit if they park in an area with “GG Area signage,” the agency said. A two-hour spot is actually an increase in the time limit for some spaces, currently limited to one hour. (See the spots delineated in green dashes.) Other locations, however, cut back the allowed times. See the orange dashed spots; those may replace, say, a 12-hour spot with a 4-hour spot.
Some 4 hour spots are RPP permitted; others are not. For the former, according to the agency, RPP permit holders need not move their cars. But be warned: For the latter spots, you must move your car regardless of permits or not.
Time limits are enforced from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. So if you’re accustomed to keeping your car in the same spot until the once-a-week street cleaning starts, you may need to rethink your parking strategy.
An annual residential car parking permit costs $165, and an annual motorcycle permit costs $83. Why get a permit? Permit holders can park at metered spots without paying at pay/permit spots. A household can have two permits, max, and businesses can have one per address and up to three per business vehicle. Certain jobs also qualify for a permit.
There is no permit discount for low-income drivers, but a monthly payment plan, versus an annual fee, is being considered. The agency already foresees pushback on this matter, according to the post, likely because of deep income inequality in the eastern Mission.
Parking meter rates start at 50 cents an hour, unless noted otherwise.
Why is this happening?
What is this plan hoping to achieve? According to the agency’s post, it sounds like all the right things a driver would want to hear: “Residents can find parking where they live;” “people can find parking when they most need it;” “neighborhood businesses have the parking availability and loading space that they need to thrive.”
And frankly, everyone complained about how hard it is to find parking.
The agency argued parking restrictions will help “discourage car storage and stagnation at the curb” and free up more space. Meters also cause a disincentive, forcing people to think about how long they need to park, the agency added.
According to Census Tract data compiled by our Golden Boy Will Jarrett, about 70 percent of residents living in the affected areas have one or more cars. While the data isn’t perfect — the affected census tracts bleed a little into Potrero Hill, for example — it gives an approximate idea that, conservatively, more than 3,000 cars are parked somewhere in the area. (The American Community Community survey dataset he used does not distinguish between garages or on-street parking.)
Finding parking has become even more difficult according to some affordable housing residents Mission Local interviewed over the past year, especially as hundreds of units came online along 16th Street in the northeast Mission. A new affordable housing building is slated to open on Bryant Street as well.
Last fall, a state law passed that nixes minimum parking requirements for affordable housing buildings within half a mile of public transit. This is in an effort to decrease the price of new developments — a parking lot can cost $40,000 — and expand capacity for housing. The restrictions also may help the city tackle environmental goals by encouraging transit over car travels.
The addition of metered parking spaces is likely to raise some eyebrows, but could be a boon for the transportation agency. Roughly a third of Muni’s funding comes from parking revenue, said director of transit Julie Kirschbaum at a recent Manny’s event. As fares appear to have diminished, on-street parking can add to the agency’s coffers.
The transportation agency has sought community input through a variety of meetings and office hours since 2019. But it’s not too late to weigh in — log on to that virtual public hearing on March 21 at 6 p.m.
This article was updated on March 20 to clarify the use of permits and meter payment rates.
View the Northeast Mission Parking Management Project here.
Learn about the public hearing here.