Sidewalk cars adding to pedestrian danger 

Vehicles blocking the right of way on San Francisco sidewalks are creating dangerous situations for pedestrians, according to angry residents who have asked theDepartment of Parking and Traffic to crack down.

District One supervisor Jake McGoldrick knows the problem all too well.

"I’ve had enough. I’m fed up with whoever has no respect for public safety," said McGoldrick, who has been calling in sidewalk obstruction offenses to the DPT’s tip line for the last 10 years.

In a city with 383,000 registered cars and 603,000 parking spaces that are not distributed evenly, some drivers park in their driveways, leaving their vehicles sticking out onto the sidewalk and making it difficult for seniors, the disabled and strollers to pass.

In the Richmond district, two sets of addresses have irked McGoldrick enough that he asked the DPT for a report on citations there for the last three years. From February to September of 2006, there were 20 $100 citations given to seven different cars at 605-607 Fifth Ave., according to DPT records. There were six different citations given to three different cars at 609-611 Fifth Ave. in March alone.

Efforts by The Examiner to contact residents at those addresses were unsuccessful.

Citywide, there were 39,276 sidewalk violations written in 2006, according to Maggie Lynch, spokeswoman for the DPT. Lynch said the department is aware of the problem along Fifth Avenue, but did not find the previous’ years number of citations to be excessive. A sector supervisor has been assigned to the area to aggressively enforce the issue since February 2005.

Tony Woods, manager of the 5th and Balboa Flower Shop, says he has noticed cars blocking the sidewalk on the street within the last month.

Pi Ra, pedestrian safety program coordinator for the Senior Action Network, says that seniors and those with disabilities suffer the most from sidewalk parking.

Jane Lynch, Richmond Neighborhood Coalition member, said sidewalk parking can be found in any neighborhood. The problem, she says, is due to a lack of enforcement.

Lynch said the department urges citizens to report sidewalk parking offenses. "If we don’t see it, we can’t cite it," Lynch said.

To report a sidewalk parking offense, call DPT at (415) 553-1200.

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