Drivers gain more time to park as merchants fight for tow-zone fix 

click to enlarge Change: Tow-away parking bans on Broadway were originally set for 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., but now diners can linger over dinner after restrictions went from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Change: Tow-away parking bans on Broadway were originally set for 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., but now diners can linger over dinner after restrictions went from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Drivers can now park at night for two hours longer on one of North Beach’s most notorious thoroughfares thanks to merchants and a community coalition.

Business owners and the Voice of Broadway had been petitioning The City for more than six months to change tow-zone restrictions, said Nader Marvi, head of Voice of Broadway and a co-owner of Monroe nightclub.

Businesses were increasingly being negatively affected by patrons who needed to leave to move their vehicles, because many did not return after being discouraged by the restrictions.

“It left a bad taste in their mouths,” Marvi said. “So we wanted to push the hours back later. Plus, the street looks more lively with cars parked on it.”

The tow-zone restriction was pushed from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. The cost to recover towed cars can easily reach $500 for the ticket, the cost of the tow and city fees.

Shell Thomas, co-president of the North Beach Association, said the change is one of the positive things happening on the Broadway corridor.

“We encourage and support later towing,” Thomas said. “It accommodates our out-of-town guests.”

For years, Broadway has been associated with violence and gangs because the busy corridor is not affiliated with any one gang. But Marvi and other members of the Voice of Broadway are hoping to improve the image. They know, however, it is an uphill battle.

The initial towing restrictions were put in place at the request of a police captain hoping to open up the street in case violence occurred. That way, the incident and those involved could be spotted more easily, Marvi said.

“I understand why they want restrictions,” he said. “But it was too early and it was hurting restaurants.”

Marvi said his business, Monroe, which is located in the middle of the 400 block of Broadway, also was hurting because once cars are towed, the street turns into a no-stopping zone and patrons would walk from blocks away to get to the club.

He said he hopes the slow changes will ultimately improve Broadway.

“I think the solution needs to come from the club owners and having them realize they don’t have to cater to that type of crowd,” Marvi said. “It’s a bad image for the block.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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