Parking latest target of San Francisco clubs crackdown 

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Parking lots are the latest target of efforts to quell late-night violence associated with clubgoers that’s plagued The City for the past few years.

Shootings, stabbings, fights and other violence involving nightclub patrons prompted officials to crack down on entertainment venues with measures such as requiring promoters to register with The City and giving the Entertainment Commission authority to revoke the permits of troublesome clubs.

Now new legislation expected to be introduced Tuesday would require parking lots near nightclubs to take some responsibility in late-night safety measures. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisor Scott Wiener drafted the legislation with help from City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

“We’re asking [parking lot] operators to stand up and make sure The City is safe,” Chiu said.  “Oftentimes patrons leave clubs and congregate in the parking lots and violence tends to happen. Club owners have done their part, it’s time to ask lots to help make this city safer.”

If approved, parking lots and garages within 1,000 feet of a nightclub would be required to enhance lighting in entrances, doorways and stairwells. Staff would have to be on site until 3 a.m. Operators would be required to comply when applying for annual permits. The City Attorney’s Office would be able to issue civil penalties for noncompliance.

Currently, few parking lot personnel are on site when clubs close for the night, according to Chiu.

The legislation is in reaction to violence associated with nightclubs over the past several years. The most violent incidents have occurred outside venues after hours.

Steven Lee, owner of the Glass Kat in South of Market, said his security guards will often walk patrons to their cars as a safety precaution, but that can create additional problems.

“At 2 a.m. when we let out, there’s no one in the lots who can help us; we’re on private property,” Lee said. “It can be too far away. So then we have to call police for help.”

Last year, police recommended club owners install cameras, metal detectors and ID scanners to combat violence. That legislation has not been approved.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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