Crissy Field parking could soon come with a cost.
For years, families, dog walkers, joggers and picnickers have driven to Crissy Field, parked for free and went out to enjoy the stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and take in some sun.
But the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a division of the National Park Service that oversees Crissy Field, has said the free parking should come to an end for the parking lots known as West Bluff, near the Warming Hut, and the smaller Battery East.
Parking here would come at a cost of $1 per hour with a maximum of $6 per day. The lots combined offer 200 parking spaces and could net the agency $200,000 annually if metered.
Nancy Hornor, chief of planning for the GGNRA, said the proposal is not about revenue but about parking management. Next year the Presidio Trust will begin implementing metered parking with the same rates on its grounds adjacent to the Crissy Field parking lots.
Hornor said the National Park Service hopes the fees will discourage employees and users of businesses and facilities at the nearby Presidio from using the lots at Crissy Field to park.
The National Park Service’s proposal said charging for parking at the Crissy Field lots will “ensure there is a conveniently located and adequate parking supply for park visitors.”
The Presidio Trust, a nonprofit that manages Presidio operations, has recently brought in a number of commercial tenants, including an indoor yoga fitness gym, a swim school, a trampoline park, a University of San Francisco satellite campus and a bike store.
Another popular Crissy Field parking lot also overseen by the National Park Service, near the Beach Hut and across the way from the Palace of Fine Arts, will remain free for the “foreseeable future,” Hornor said.
The agency is accepting public comment on the fee proposal until Sept. 23. The plan is to start charging in 2012. Hornor said that the public comments received so far have been mixed, with some not liking the fee and others saying they understand the logic behind it.
“I wouldn’t pay that — not $6,” said James Denton, 30, of Monterey, while visiting Crissy Field on Saturday. “I would park somewhere else and walk toward the bridge. It’s cheaper to drive across it and come back.”
David LaFrancis, of Houston, said he wouldn’t mind paying the charge. “Probably so, I’d pay it,” he said. “But I only come here once a year or so.”
Ideas on how the National Park Service would use revenue collected from the parking include area improvements, such as for trails and restrooms; paying for shuttle service; and initiating a new shuttle serving the northern waterfront.
If you would like to comment on this proposal, you may do so here.
Lots affected: West Bluff, Battery East
West Bluff: Parking area for park visitors to west Crissy Field, including historic airfield, picnic area, amphitheater, Warming Hut, beach and Bay Trail; close to Fort Point
Battery East: Located off of Lincoln Boulevard
Year parking fees would go into effect: 2012
Proposed Parking rates: $1 per hour, $6 per day maximum, 7 days a week
Sources: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service