Construction boom frustrating residents over lost parking 

San Francisco’s construction is booming, but residents are frustrated that trade workers are taking their parking spots.

It’s no secret many drivers have to circle city blocks for long periods of time just to find a free parking space near their homes even when there isn’t construction in the area.

The Board of Supervisors is attempting to address the complaints with a proposal that would require contractors to submit parking plans before The City issues them on-street parking permits for project sites.

“The sheer amount of construction work is having a significant impact to the quality of life for our residents in our neighborhoods,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the Marina and Pacific Heights.

“I hear complaints every day,” he said. “The frustration especially mounts when permitted spaces can sit empty for days at a time.”

Supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the proposal with Farrell, spoke to the impacts construction is causing in Dogpatch and Potrero Hill.

“While we need new housing and construction here in our city, we also have residents and building owners that are living amongst all of this chaos,” Cohen said, adding “this legislation strikes the right balance.”

There are currently 1,251 construction street-parking permits issued with an average of three parking spaces per permit, a or total of 3,753 parking spaces, according to data from the Department of Public Works.

Some neighborhoods are more impacted than others. Farrell’s district has the most permits issued for parking at 258, followed by Supervisor Scott Wiener’s District 8, which includes the Castro neighborhood, at 223.

Supervisor London Breed’s District 5, which includes the Haight and Western Addition, and Supervisor Jane Kim’s District 6, which includes the Tenderloin and South of Market, have 153 permits each. Cohen’s District 10, which has 48 permits, and District 6 have the highest average parking spaces used per permit at about seven spaces.

Under the proposal’s requirements, when any construction work would occupy more than one parking space for at least three months, the contractor would need to submit a construction parking plan.

The plan must include the average number of employees anticipated each day at the work site, the project timeline and an examination of whether it’s feasible to use carpool or use parking garages.

The proposal would also require the street parking to become available to the public by 4 p.m. — if the space has gone unused or the work is done for the day.

Michael Theriault, secretary-treasurer for the San Francisco Building Trades Council, agreed the construction boom was having some impacts on neighborhoods and it was worth examining.

As for Farrell’s proposal, Theriault said that the trades group would likely remain “neutral” on it.

“Let’s see how it goes and how it gets implemented,” he said.

Theriault noted that in general for larger construction jobs, it shouldn’t be too much of a burden since parking for workers is currently addressed upfront in labor contracts.

“My sense is this is going on primarily in the single-family home neighborhoods and that’s where the really impact is,” he said. That means it would likely have a larger impact on the Residential Builders Association, a 300-member contractor group.

Sean Keighran, president of the Residential Builders Association, said he is opposed to the legislation.

“It is pretty onerous for small contractors,” Keighran said. “Things like this, policies and procedures, is what drives small contractors out of town.”

Keighran added that residents already complain about the length of time it takes for projects to go through the bureaucratic process. He speculated a parking plan would tack on three additional weeks.

As for parking off site, Keighran explained that workers need to park near the job site to have access to their tools. Keighran said that there will always be conflicts when you have more than 800,000 people crammed into 47 square miles, but he thought the parking conflicts with construction projects was being exaggerated.

“It’s hard for me to believe that it’s that big of a problem,” he said.

The proposal is expected to undergo a public hearing by a board committee after 30 days.

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