Parking lot security rules passed 

click to enlarge Changes: New rules for parking lots, such as this site on Howard Street, are intended to help ensure late-night safety. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Changes: New rules for parking lots, such as this site on Howard Street, are intended to help ensure late-night safety.

San Francisco’s commercial parking lots and garages will need security upgrades after regulations were approved Tuesday building on The City’s effort to reduce violence associated with nighttime entertainment.

Parking lot operators applying for permits must now submit security plans to be approved by The City’s chief of police. And those within 1,000 feet of entertainment establishments must have a security guard or attendant on-site until 3 a.m., according to legislation unanimously approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

“This is a piece of legislation to deal with another aspect of nightlife violence having to do with parking lots — often unmanned, particularly after midnight,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who introduced the legislation in September 2011. “When patrons pour out of clubs, they sometimes hang out in nearby parking lots, and public safety incidents have been associated with such situations.”

The legislation builds on recent efforts to improve safety associated with San Francisco’s vibrant nightlife. A number of high-profile violent incidents associated with nightclubs and other entertainment venues prompted city officials to scrutinize the industry in 2010. They came up with controls such as increased security measures for nightclubs, increased oversight by a more empowered Entertainment Commission, and an online registry of event promoters. City officials say nightlife violence is down since that time.

Supervisor Jane Kim said parking lot security is “a major public safety issue” for the neighborhoods she represents in the Tenderloin and the South of Market area.

“As we have worked very closely with our venue owners on making their security plans stronger, we’ve been finding that a lot of the public safety issues migrate to our parking lots, which often don’t have any staffing after midnight,” Kim said.

The legislation rewards those parking lots or garages with no history of public safety problems within a two-year period by allowing the police chief to waive the requirements. Lot operators who fail to comply with the regulations may have their permits revoked and could be subject to civil action by The City.

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