City tries to satisfy both music fans, neighbors' needs


San Franciscans often call Golden Gate Park their backyard, but for some it actually is and the big events that happen there have an impact on their lives.

"The traffic and parking are the major things. It's just unacceptable that you can't go in and out of your own home," said Ray Holland, a park neighbor.

Holland lives just steps from Golden Gate Park. He calls it "ground zero" when there are major events like the Outside Lands music festival. Still, he sees the benefit to the city.

"It's a boon to local merchants," said Holland.

In fact, a new study by San Francisco State University found the 180,000 people who attended the three-day Outside Lands concert last year, spent more than $60 million in the city, but those big bucks generated big headaches for some in the Richmond neighborhood. And the district's supervisor, Eric Mar, is attempting a balancing act.

"That's what I'm trying to do is work with our departments, the police and Rec and Park, but also listen hard to residents' concerns so that we mitigate the impacts on my neighborhood and around the park," said Mar.

Mar held a hearing Monday and there were so many music lovers that packed the place, a second overflow room was opened. The promoter of the Outside Lands concert says they've worked hard to satisfy critics.

"We set up a community hotline that runs during the hours of the festival. They're multi-lingual, it's in Spanish, Mandarin and in English. That way, if they have a blocked driveway or they have trash in front of their house, we can address it very promptly," said Allen Scott from Another Planet Entertainment.

The complaints aren't just limited to Outside Lands, but to other major happenings like the Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival and the Nike Women's Marathon. They have become part of the fabric of the city, but officials are now reviewing everything from the number of parking control officers to when and how neighbors are notified about upcoming events.

"More can always be done. You can never do enough in mitigation," said Holland.

Mar says testimony heard Monday may lead to improvements particularly in how the city handles noise and parking issues.

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