SFians love their parks, but they love easy parking, too. This is why the proposal to add a park with picnic tables and trees, amphitheater, community garden and play area on 17th and Folsom St. has been a controversial one in the months since announced: that nice span of greenery goodness would come at a costly price to those who drive in the neighborhood, as a parking lot with 220 spots would be wiped out, with 110 of those spots potentially being turned into low-income housing. Today the Board of Supes mulls the question, in what might be a contentious discussion about what residents and businesses in the neighborhood feel should be the future of the lot.
As the Chron reminds us (following Mission Local’s months of work on the story), some feel that the loss of those spaces could threaten businesses that rely on providing accessible parking for their customers, such as the modern dance company ODC, which every year has 700 artists renting rehearsal spaces, 20,000 audience members attending productions, and 23,000 people taking classes.
Though many SF officials say they are determined to cut down on private vehicle ownership in the city, many residents and visitors to the neighborhood still rely on cars. An additional appeal of those 220 parking spots is turnover in spaces, as most street parking in the area is unmetered and cars can remain for days. (SFPark proposes to manage that issue by installing meters with no time limits and an hourly rate of as low as $1.)
The Board of Supervisors plans to vote today on this issue, in their weekly 2 PM meeting in City Hall. Currently, the parking lot is owned by SF’s Public Utilities Commission. To have the PUC lease the space to the Rec and Park Department would come at a price of $2.3 million. If the vote goes through, a $2.7 million state grant will be used to turn the land into the aforementioned park.