The ban on oversized vehicles parking overnight, which began with a pilot program last year, expanded to 61 more locations around The City on Tuesday.
Vehicles more than 22 feet long and 7 feet tall were prohibited from parking on city streets in about 40 areas between midnight and 6 a.m. under the pilot program. On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board members unanimously voted to formalize the ban and expand it to the additional locations.
Evaluation released in November showed the restrictions were “very effective in discouraging and virtually eliminating the problem of inappropriately parked vehicles,” said project manager Andy Thornley of the SFMTA.
“This is just one more tool in SFMTA’s tool box for parking management,” Thornley said. Parking meters, towaway zones and other measures were not sufficient to do away with blight and other complaints from neighbors, he said.
The SFMTA launched the pilot program after numerous complaints from residents in many parts of The City who said some inhabitants of the vehicles left behind trash and other debris. Others complained the vehicles were used for criminal activity, including thefts and drug use.
Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district includes the Bayview, which participated in the pilot program, said she was “thrilled” with the program’s expansion.
“This has increased people’s quality of life,” she said. “The folks who are vehicularly housed are a very small percentage. So small that we’re able to solve their concerns on a case-by-case basis.”
Legislative aides for Katy Tang, whose district covers the Sunset, and London Breed, whose district includes the Panhandle and Inner Sunset, also expressed their support.
The new locations for the overnight parking bans include 10 places in the Sunset, 13 in the Mission, three in the Haight and Panhandle, 12 in the Potrero Hill area, three in Bernal Heights, one in the Western Addition, seven in the Excelsior and Outer Mission, four in the Richmond and eight in the southeastern part of The City. Sixty-one new locations might seem daunting, Thornley said, but they amount to about 10 of The City’s roughly 950 miles of streets.
But some community members disagree with the ban and the vote on the expansion.
Nick Kimura, a volunteer at the Coalition on Homelessness, said the restrictions are causing the vehicularly housed to move to other parts of The City and that their needs are not being met. The decision should have been postponed, he said.
“In my mind, this is displacement, it’s not effectively getting to the root of the problem,” Kimura said. “And the problem is people are living in vehicles, and they’re being criminalized for it.”
Eileen Reimonenq, head of the Alemany Clean Committee, and her fellow neighbors in the Outer Mission were pleased with the new restrictions.
“We are not out to evict the homeless but we just want to have the nice neighborhood we deserve,” she said.
Any new locations for the vehicle parking ban would need to be approved by the SFMTA board, and they would likely show up in the consent calendar, Thornley said.