Parking garage safety bill idles as injuries continue 

Bad lighting and unsupervised areas of parking garages can be recipes for violence, yet new legislation aimed at fixing those problems has taken more than six months to be heard by the Board of Supervisors.

The legislation, if approved, would require parking lot vendors within 1,000 feet of a nightclub to be permitted annually, and have a security plan and person on-site until 3 a.m. The requirements are measures to deter violence associated with club patrons.

Vaj Grenalli, an Entertainment Commission inspector, said the importance is lighting to enhance overall public safety late at night.

“You have someone from club A and another person from club B all leaving the club at the same time and heading to the same garage and exchange words and it ends in a fight. Is it the bar’s fault when there’s no security and a badly maintained parking lot?” Grenalli said.

Several incidents prompted the legislation, which was introduced by supervisors Scott Wiener and David Chiu in September.

Recently, a drunken clubgoer stumbled into the parking garage at 433 Mason St., Grenalli said. The person fell 20 feet to the sidewalk, but is expected to survive. However, had the legislation been in place and the garage was required to improve lighting and have a person at the facility, the incident may have been prevented.

Wiener said crafting the right legislation takes time.

“Whenever we’re doing legislation that’s going to impose new obligations we want to be careful,” he said. “We don’t want to rush, make mistakes or have unintended consequences.”

The legislation is scheduled to be heard by the board’s Public Safety Committee today, but it could take several more months before a final draft is approved.

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